The Accidental Graziers

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After Craig and Leslie Hanson’s Brisbane cabinet making and building business of 37 years, Hanson Cabinetmaking and Registered Builder, was flooded in 2011, they felt it would be too heartbreaking to rebuild and decided to move into grazing.

Despite coming to the industry later in their working lives, the pair have taken to grazing like ducks to water.

In the six years since moving full time to “Perseverance” in Upper Kandanga near Gympie, Craig and Leslie have transformed their property, with cell grazing and organic practices making all the difference to the soil and water health.

They both credit the success of their operation to “never getting sick of learning”.

The Hansons heard about Grazing BMP at field days and decided to complete the five modules at a workshop in Gympie in 2015, which they then followed up with accreditation in 2017.

When they applied for Reef Rescue Funding through the Reef Trust Phase III Program to fence off the creek that runs along the bottom of their property to help improve sediment flows, they found one of the pre-requisites of applying is the successful completion of Grazing BMP.

Leslie was delighted to advise that not only had they completed Grazing BMP, they were an accredited property!

Craig could not emphasise enough that developing networks through programs like Grazing BMP and attending field days and workshops were so important for their learning journey.

It is this idea of continuous improvement that Craig and Leslie hope to instil in the younger generation like their grandchildren Max and Poppy – for whom the workplace and health safety focus of the BMP program has been paramount.

When asked about the cell grazing they use, Craig and Leslie are quick to say that they have developed a system that suits them and their property, and in the future envisage using drones to check troughs and automatic gates to move the cattle.

The Hansons also delight in sharing information with their neighbours, particularly downstream users of the creek. Leslie regularly posts photos to the Facebook group so that others can see the depth and condition of the creek, and they visit other farmers and dairies down lower to discuss the water levels.

Interestingly, Craig struggles to read and write due to dyslexia, so Leslie records the business practices, writes up the diaries and makes sure the paperwork is up to date – something she says “comes easily to her after 42 years of marriage!”

The Hansons’ success story is another reminder that the grazing business is truly a “choose your own adventure” and that Grazing BMP can help expose you to networks, information and research so that you can truly end up in a piece of paradise like “Perservance”.

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