All About Being Passionate – Deb Gray

I was recently asked to write a blog on something I am passionate about… Blog? What’s a blog? 

The Oxford Dictionary defines a blog as; “a regularly updated website or web page that is written in a conversational style”.

So, after googling what a blog is, I decided to also check with Oxford about the term ‘passionate’. Passionate is described as; “showing or having strong feelings or beliefs”. 

Now that I have!!

For me, passion means a lot of things. I love coffee, especially first thing in the morning. I love date night with my husband,  my family, and most of all my job!

I’m a beef producer in the Araluen Valley situated on the Southern Tablelands of NSW. I have a small piece of land in the most magical part of the world. I don’t have a lot of livestock, especially after the drought and black summer bushfires of 2019/20, but I do have superb quality. I’m passionate about grasses, I’m passionate about healthy soils, and I’m incredibly passionate about changes.

Recently, I’ve channelled these passions into our industry goal of becoming Carbon Neutral by 2030 (CN30) and I’ve started to make changes on my property to reach this goal. We’ve  implemented tree propagation from kurrajong trees, begun replanting trees and made changes to our rotational grazing. However, I believe the most significant change that has occured has been my attitude. 

I have always loved the industry that I work in, but what I have recently discovered is that there are so many other aspects to consider. For example, did you know there aren’t just beef producers? Crazy, I know, but there are actually other sectors. I’ve met people in the processing industry, vets, feedlot managers, sheep farmers for both lamb production and wool production, and I think the most fascinating is live export workers. Together, we are a united front and no sector is more significant than another. 

Now, my passion not only sits with coffee, date nights and my cows, it sits under a gigantic umbrella called ‘agriculture’. We must all band together and become activists for our industry. We’re not hiding away; we’re being transparent. We want the population to understand that Australian agriculture is a driving force. Without us farmers, the people would be hungry, cold, and sober (or thirsty) depending on how you look at it. 

So, from now on, my voice will slowly become louder. I will go into bat for my ag friends when they need support, even though I have terrible hand-eye coordination. Whilst we cannot change those with a fixated opinion, we can appeal to the general population and keep going with the knowledge that we have the highest animal welfare standards, traceability, and ethical standards in the world, and that is something I am  extremely proud of.  It is also something the public should be aware of, and I intend to make this happen with the support of my agricultural community.  

As I sit on my verandah in the early morning fog and see my cows and their babies starting to stir for another happy day of grazing and sleeping, I know they will always be my first love. However, this  passion is growing to incorporate everyone else in agriculture under my umbrella.

Now, where is my coffee and my date??

-Deb Gray, Bellaringa Beef, NSW.