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Magazines : Our Place - Geelong Region Magazine 2011
Western Plains Pork produces 1000 pigs each week. Times change Trish s forebears were breeding merino sheep in the Rokewood area from 1850. e site of Warrambeen once provided a place to swap horses on the Cobb and Co route between Ballarat and Geelong. Today, wool growing and cropping are the major land uses on Warrambeen. e Taylors run 8000-10,000 merino ewes and have about a third of the land under either canola, wheat or barley. Legume crops will be added shortly. e couple s Landcare facility provides a meeting place and educational resource for farmers. Both local and overseas groups come to learn. e shearer s quarters were remodelled to include a commercial kitchen to accommodate the Landcare groups and other interest groups who would later use the facilities. What next? Geordie hopes the Warrambeen Film Festival will continue to grow, perhaps becoming a two-day event with camping on-site. " e film festival has given us an insight into running large events, Trish says, adding that weddings and other catered functions and some overnight accommodation are on the radar. Geordie and Charlotte s wedding will be the next big event. e resulting degradation is now being reversed by farmers taking long-term views and looking for ongoing improvements, such as using technological advances to build raised beds for cropping to drain soil in wet years. "We are passionate about just being custodians of the land, Ian says. "We want to pass it on in better condition than it was in when we took it over. Western Plains Pork Western Plains Pork, one of Australia s largest outdoor piggeries, has operated for 12 years on Gumely, a farm owned by Ian and Trish and adjacent to Warrambeen. e sows live in small paddocks with shelter, water and wallows. ey give birth in insulated huts and the piglets are weaned in straw-based open huts. "I knew I didn t have the expertise to be good at the pigs, so I ve got a team who are, Ian says of his manager and team of 20. "You need to understand your strengths and weaknesses and use other people when you need to. It s a business and you need to make money. e Taylors are shareholders in the business with the piggery enjoying an enviable reputation for its consistently good product, specialising in the fresh pork market with high- end restaurants forming its main customer base. e piggery doesn t export its product, with demand in Australia consuming all the farm s output. Top: Warrambeen owners Ian and Trish Taylor ... "We are passionate about just being custodians of the land. We want to pass it on in better condition than it was in when we took it over. '' Above: Actors Geordie Taylor and Pascal Mercay kicked off the Warrambeen Film Festival last year on Geordie's family farm in the heart of the Golden Plains Shire. Photographs: Glenn Ferguson IAN'S TIPS FOR FARMERS Know what you can do best and then get advice to fill the gaps; Continually seek to become educated: "Knowledge is the most wonderful thing.'' Farming has a great future, with young people having technological skills to deal with the changes; Be inspired by young people; Maintain the old buildings on your farm; Don't restrict your vision; and Adapt but don't jump between enterprises. "The mosaic of Warrambeen is cropping, wool country, native grassland country. You have to try to assess each piece and manage it accordingly. We try to focus on two or three things we can be good at.'' Geordie Taylor plans to return to Warrambeen with++ wife- to-be Charlotte Coote to enjoy country life and expand the film festival. Our Place - the Geelong Region Magazine 29
Breakaway Autumn 2011