At the base of Mt Tyson, one couple is quietly farming a dream of free range kids and free range cows on their 150-hectare property with Boora Mugga Beef.
Wendy and Garry Pannach are raising three young children, Isabelle (7), Harrison (4) and Amelia (17 months), on their 150 hectare free range beef farm. Boora Mugga means ‘good land’ in the local Aboriginal language but this couple is evidence it could mean ‘good living’ too. Behind their family and farming life is a simple philosophy based on ethical and low-impact living.
Boora Mugga Beef, named after the old railway siding that once stood between their farms, produces fresh, local and ethically-farmed beef straight to customers’ front doors. “The origin and freshness of our food is really important to us and so is how the animals have been treated in the process,” says Wendy. “We wanted to create a paddock-to-plate business where we knew where our cows came from and how they were treated … We can then confidently tell our customers that they are getting fresh, local and quality beef from happy cows,” says Wendy.
Garry is a fifth generation farmer from Mt Tyson. Together, the couple raise all their own Limousin, Angus and Hereford cows in large, open grass paddocks. The cows are hand-fed all year round so they are not stressed by humans and the calves are never force weaned. Electric prodders are forbidden on the farm and Wendy and Garry guarantee that every cow is stunned before they are killed. Not only is the beef free range but hormone free too. Customers can buy a whole carcass or smaller quantities to suit their needs and it is delivered free within 125 kilometres of Toowoomba.
Garry said that comparison pricing had revealed buying meat this way saved customers on average up to 30 per cent off the supermarket price. All that they needed was a new way to bring their free range, affordable beef to the market. Their latest innovation in the business is a specially designed website that lets customers create and submit their custom order online. Or, for those who prefer a more hands-on experience, Wendy and Garry welcome people to visit the farm and select their own cow from the paddock. “There is much more awareness about the value of food that is local, fresh and ethical,” says Garry.
“When you buy locally, you have the chance to meet and get to know the people supplying your food … you just don’t have that option when buying from the big supermarkets,” he says. The family relies on solar energy to power the farm and pre-cool the trailer used to deliver customers’ orders. Even the packaging is made from recyclable materials as much as possible.
There is no doubting Wendy and Garry’s commitment to ethical and environmental values. It’s evident in everything from the solar panels on the roof to their exceptional animal welfare standards. If cows could talk, they might just say this is the happiest place on earth (at Mt Tyson at least).
Words by Heather Smith | Images by Andrew Coates