Moving from the flatlands of Holland to the rolling hills of Holbrook to run a cattle farm has been a big challenge for Kate and Jochem Heijse. But together with their son Teddy they’re regenerating their farm to create a beautiful ecosystem that’s good for humans, livestock and the myriad of native animals and insects that live on the farm and migrate from the bordering National Park.
Kate and Jochem describe their property and what drives their commitment to using Holistic Management as their over-aching tool of farming.
Jochem: “Spring Creek is a beautiful property that forms a natural valley. It is surrounded by hills and bush land with a creek running through it. Our border with the National Park makes for a lot of wildlife and we try to encourage that. We leave dead trees standing or lying as great nesting places for birds, reptiles and small mammals. The greater variety of species we have, the stronger it makes the ecosystem.”
Jochem: “Although my family has always been farming my parents didn’t. It’s something I must have missed as a child, because I always wanted to be a vet or a farmer. As a result I studied Animal Science and Animal Production Systems in The Netherlands and travelled and worked in Argentina, Bhutan, New Zealand and Eastern Europe looking for the best country for my farming ideals. When I met Kate things became a lot simpler and Australia turned out to be the perfect country for our plans and dreams.”
Kate: “I don’t come from a farming background at all. I was born in England but grew up in Perth. I studied Commerce at UWA and then moved to London where I ended up working as a production accountant in film and TV. I spent some time in the English countryside visiting family but that was about it until I met Jochem. Things are a little different now!”
Jochem: “I was always looking for a way of farming where agriculture and nature could co-exist and actually benefit from each other’s presence. It was at a farmland investment congress in London where I heard someone speak of Holistic Management and I knew I had found what I was looking for.”
Kate: “Soon afterwards Jochem and I went to Australia for a reconnaissance trip and we visited a number of HM farmers. Every single one of them had a beautiful farm teaming with wildlife, healthy livestock, heaps of grass and generally a good feel about the place. So we decided then and there that Australia was where we’d go.”
Not even a year later Jochem and Kate were married and living in Melbourne, driving around Victoria and New South Wales looking for their new home. Finally in October 2012, they found and bought 'Spring Creek' near Holbrook.
Kate: ”The last 5 years have seen a lot of changes. We got married, moved halfway across the world, became parents and now we live on the land. It has been quite a journey so far but really we are only just at the beginning…”
Jochem: “Most evenings we take a walk with our dogs and marvel at the wide array of birdlife like parrots and parakeets flying past. We love watching the calves playing or sleeping under a tree while their mother’s are off grazing – it’s like kindergarten."
Kate: “We are passionate about regenerating the farm and creating a property that’s good to us, our livestock and the whole farm ecosystem. What’s more we are so happy that we can bring our son up in this beautiful environment”