Doing things differently
Agri-Phoenix Feature: Dave Fowler
Name: Dave Fowler
Place: Home Hill, Townesville
When I was about five years old my dad would take me to check the irrigation. That’s when I fell in love with farming and from that moment, I knew I wanted to be a farmer.
My wife and I moved back to Home Hill in 2017 to lease one of my parent’s cane farms. I’m a 4th generation cane farmer and still use much of the equipment my grandfather used. Our farm is only 118 acres so we both work off farm as well to supplement our income.
I knew when I took on the lease I wanted to do things differently. We’ve spent the last three years building up our knowledge and understanding. We’ve participated in different programs, workshops and courses to learn how to farm more sustainably. Repairing and improving our soil health is our primary focus.
Any farmer or grazier will tell you that’s the key right there, under your feet. To do that we have minimised tillage, reduced synthetic fertiliser inputs, planted cover crops for green manure and are always putting our hands up to trial new sustainable farming practices. We’ve learnt so much in the last three years, but we still have so much more to learn. I don’t see that will ever stop. Farming is a challenge; we are constantly reviewing our practices, evolving and adapting.
Farmers often get a bad rap for the way they farm. Some would say we disregard the environment and don’t consider what we are doing it. It’s just not true. So much of our time is spent observing and monitoring our environment and we are continually learning ways to do things better. When we aren’t working with our land and nurturing our crops, you won’t find us in inner-city cafes, or large shopping centres. You’ll find us enjoying the great outdoors; fishing, camping, boating, hiking and immersed in nature.
What we are implementing isn’t an overnight fix, it's a long term approach we hope will have long term benefits. It’s important to me because I want my kids and their kids to enjoy our way of life and all the things we love about living in North Queensland; the fresh water swimming holes, the rainforest, the vast bushland, the beaches, the reef and living a life on the land.