Yabtree West is on Waradjuri land and is the most recent division of a once huge holding called Yabtree, established in the 1800's by the Horsley family, whose descendants still live and farm in the valley. Rebecca and John and their children Marcus 21 and Ella 10, bought Yabtree West at the end of 2013. Rebecca grew up on a mixed farm at Yerong Creek south of Wagga Wagga in an idyllic childhood of 4 siblings, pigrooting horses, dogs, chickens, sheep and cattle and cats birthing at the bottom of the bed. The premature death of father Bruce left her with unfinished business on the land. After a career as a journalist and many years wondering how to make it happen, she finally came across Holistic Management and Natural Sequence Farming.
Rebecca “The simplicity of the concepts behind Holistic Management was the key in the lock for me and I knew I’d found my way back – taking my very patient husband and children along with me.”
“We have a bit of everything on Yabtree West: the beautiful Murrumbidgee and her hard working river flats up through hill country denuded of trees by the ring-barkers of yesteryear and on to scrubby granite back country. This diversity and access to the river means we provide great real estate for native birds and animals, especially as we continue to grow our tree corridors linking the hills to the river. “
John continues running his business in Sydney with the family commuting back and forth.
John “We are a family that loves ideas; sharing and challenging them. Who could be passionate about watching grass grow? But Beck is, and her passion is infectious. It’s great watching the whole plan unfold”
Rebecca has the help of long time Yabtree West manager Dean Hann, his wife Nicole and son Colby. Having experimented with regenerative techniques, Dean easily adapted to the processes of Holistic Management.
Rebecca “Dean has worked incredibly hard in the transition to HM on upgrading the farm’s stock water system and building a lot of new fences, quite apart from the day to day stock management”
Dean “I have worked this farm for the last 20 years and since moving to this new grazing system I can already see positive changes in pasture quality and diversity”
John “Beck loves all the smells of grass, dust, dung and river and despite being very comfortable in the city, it’s growing on me too.”
Rebecca “So many of us wonder – what meaningful thing can I do to make a difference to the world, however small? I’m banking on this style of farming providing my answer.”