AN EVENT designed to celebrate innovation, produce and agriculture in the Goondiwindi region will be held next month.
More than 20 farmers across horticulture, grains and livestock industries are set to open their gates to welcome guests.
Gooralie Free Range Pork will be one of many local producers highlighted during Discover Farming.
Owners Mark and Charisse Ladner have transformed their traditional farming operation over 15 years to build a free-range piggery to produce pork in a natural, outdoor environment.
Mark said in 1999 they first identified that people were paying more attention to the paddock to plate concept.
"People were becoming more aware of traceability and where their food came from," he said.
They produce 40 tonnes of pork a week, sold to butchers throughout Australia as well as an exported product.
Mark and Charisse both grew up on the land in the Goondiwindi region.
Mark returned to the family property in 1986, 10 years later marrying Charisse, and took over the property from his parents.
"We started looking at pork and free-range systems," Mark said. "We saw a lot of what people were doing wrong in regards to inconsistency of product, having pigs that were too fat and inability to keep the supply consistent.
"We wanted to make sure we could do what we said we would."
This involved the couple developing a system so they would have enough sows initially to be able to maintain the product and build a label.
"It's also about quality assurance, people know what they are getting is the real deal."
Gooralie's pork is in accordance with Australian Pork Limited's APIQ free range certification and RSPCA guidelines.
Sustainability is a key driver to the success of the Ladner's business.
"We are grain growers as well; we want to keep the system and our footprint as small as possible," Mark said.
"All our water comes from the Great Artesian Basin; it is gravity fed from a turkey's nest to our pigs or cattle.
"All our straw is composted and broken down and spread onto cultivation and grazing country.
"We use this as our fertiliser for next year's crop.
"The piggery is on solar and we are in the process of making our whole farm totally off grid and solar dependant."
There are 20 odd staff on the property including managers and section heads of the business.
"The staff are obviously an integral part of the business and we are very proud of our team and what they contribute to achieve the finished product," Mark said.
Mark said he enjoyed watching the pigs in their natural environment, including playing, sleeping and eating.
"I enjoy seeing how the business is all inter-related," he said.
"Gravity and solar are what we use.
"I get a real buzz out of the product we produce and seeing it expand."
Mark said the sows were on a breeding program and all data was collected and monitored.
"We're looking at more technology to be able to monitor the amount of feed in our feeders," he said.
"All our sows are tagged and artificially inseminated.
"There's huge gains to be made in the nutritional side of feeding too."
Animal welfare is at the forefront of their minds, using antibiotics to treat animals, if needed under vet direction.
Mark and Charisse said they jumped at the chance to be involved in the Discover Farming event, as they are proud of their paddock to plate story and keen to share it.
"It's such a great initiative to shine a light on Gundy and the region," they said.
"There will be a tour here on May 19.
"We will be doing a drive around and showing people our system and our layout.
"They will also get to try our pork."
When: May 4-5, 9am-11.30pm.
Where: Goondiwindi Showgrounds.
What: Discover Farming at the Goondiwindi Show where the region's finest are on display.
Inglewood showcase tours
When: May 12, 9am-5pm.
Where: Coolmunda Olives, 22804 Cunningham Highway, Coolmunda.
What: Inglewood's growing agri-tourism sector is a program highlight offering a range of tours.
Supper under the stars
When: May 12, 6-11pm.
Where: Cunningham Highway, Coolmunda.
What: By night, relax at stunning Lake Coolmunda for a casual supper at Coolmunda Olives. Showcasing Inglewood's finest produce, enjoy a true paddock-to-plate experience.
Goondiwindi farm tours
When: May 19, 9am-4.30pm.
What: Departing Goondiwindi in the morning, you will traverse through some of Queensland's most fertile farming country.
More information can be found at www.discoverfarming.com.au.
WHO'S INVOLVED? MEET THE FARMERS
Gooralie Pork: A mixed farming property situated near Goondiwindi. They produce and deliver free range pork to the consumer.
Sunpork: Owned by three Queensland farming families who all have a long association with the pork industry and care about its future, as they do their farms, staff and animals under their care.
Barambah Organics: 100 per cent Australian-owned company, committed to producing high-quality, organic-certified dairy products.
Karbullah Lamb: Focused on producing merino sheep in the Goondiwindi region. Specialising in producing a merino with high fertility, superior wool and excellent meat properties.
Yagaburne Beef: Strives to consistently provide flavoursome, top-quality beef, whilst maintaining the integrity of our cattle and the sustainability of the land.
Woodspring Farm: A small family cattle farm in Inglewood.
Inglewood Farms: Inglewood Organic Chicken is Australia's leading producer of organic free-range chicken.
Qualipac: An Australian owned farming enterprise that specialises in growing, packing and supplying quality produce throughout Australia and overseas.
AJD Farming: A family owned enterprise located near Yelarbon that prides itself on growing the finest produce. They produce a wide variety of crops including pulses such as black eyed peas and azuki beans as well as cereal crops. They also have a horticultural program focusing on premium pumpkin production.
Coolmunda Olives: An organic crop for the freshest, tastiest and healthiest products. Located near Inglewood, the climate is perfect for producing plump, juicy olives.
Leven K Lavender Farm: Only 11km from the town of Inglewood. Kellie and Matt welcome groups of all sizes to view their beautiful gardens, to wander through the lavender farm to explore the unique lavender shop full of goodies, or watch the on-site distillery at work.
Goondiwindi Cotton: A fabulous guided tour taking in farming, history, water and fashion of Goondiwindi. Meet some local icons, experience our working cotton farm via the cotton gin and go places not open to the public. Learn some interesting facts and legends, followed by a visit to the Heritage Water Park. Finally, discover the fashion house of Goondiwindi Cotton, where you will be treated to morning tea with traditional country hospitality.
Lori and Robert Mackay: Local farmers with an absolute passion for horses. A trip to their farm will include a unique welcome, a great display of horsemanship, working cattle dogs and a magnificent morning tea on the McIntyre River.
Macintyre Brook Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Extra Virgin Olive Oil from olives grown along the banks of the Macintyre-Brook River by Meron family and co.
Human Bean Co: Born from the earth on a farm in Queensland. Beans are grown under the stunning Australian sun. They are passionate about sustainable farming, from crop rotation to GMO free seeds.
Hayes Spraying: A local manufacturer of agricultural equipment, used extensively both in Australia and beyond. Hayes Spraying has a workshop facility and a strong team of manufacturing and assembly specialists. Hayes has held the record for the world's longer sprayer since 1991.
Goanna Telemetry: A company owned by a group of agronomists, electronics engineers and computer programmers that are developing sensing equipment for agricultural applications. They are producing technology to remotely monitor water levels and subsoil moisture, and allowing this equipment to communicate with each other across farm.
InFarm: An artificial intelligence and technology company focused on agriculture. Currently the team has developed a drone to tractor fallow weed solution, that will help minimise chemical. This will help save farmers thousands of dollars every year whilst also assisting in the reduction of chemical use.
Whetstone Organics: A family run certified organic business in the Inglewood area on the Macintyre Brook. For almost 80 years, four generations of the family have made these properties their home, farming with pride, integrity and awareness that will ensure the long term viability and health of the properties.
Smithfield Cattle Co: A family owned, cattle operation, growing and marketing cattle both domestically and internationally.
Jojoba Natural: They grow jojoba and run the plantation under best practice guide lines for environmental sustainability. Their aim is to use our jojoba to produce skin care products, free from artificial colours and preservatives and to provide our customers with good old fashioned personal care and attention.
Carpendale Commoditites: Specialising in bulk transport of grain, fertiliser, gypsum and manure.