Our Farmers: Meet Scott & Hannah from Doonkami, Yetman NSW

3 Jul 2022 |
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Our Farmers: Meet Scott & Hannah from Doonkami, Yetman NSW

How this family turned their 115 year old property around to produce some of the best Aussie White Sheep available today.

Where it all began

Originating from the original ‘Tucka Tucka’ property on the Macintyre River between Yetman and Boggbailla, married couple Scott and Hannah Baker and their three young kids continue the incredible work of Scott’s great-grandfather in their experienced and family-oriented running of Doonkami property.

At over 115 years old, Doonkami originated from Scott’s great-grandfather Alan, who upon returning from World War 1, focused his energy on water conservation schemes that continue to be used on the property today. Scott fondly recalls the story of his great-grandmother being given the choice of either a large homestead being built on the property, or an overseas honeymoon. Luckily for her family, she chose the homestead, a beautiful building made of almost one million bricks with a massive yard (but she did manage to get her overseas honeymoon in the end, too!).

It wasn't always about sheep

It’s easy to see the passion Scott and Hannah have for Doonkami. When speaking about its history, Scott proudly explains its cattle station background as a property that ran shorthorn beef cattle for the last hundred years.

Additionally, the past decade has seen Scott and Hannah really start working with the incredibly fertile and hardy Australian White sheep. Known for their high marble content, these Aussie Whites now graze on only the best quality lucerne and high quality protein crops, ensuring the quality of Doonkami meat is the absolute best.

When speaking about why they love Aussie Whites, Scott explains that “we love how fertile they are, the production we can get from the lambs - they’re fast growing sheep so we are able to turn the animals over quickly. We don’t have to shear them, they’re really good eating quality and have a great temperament. They’re easy to handle and have been a really good fit for the place.”

 

"It felt like we were living on Mars"

Despite their positive and hard-working attitudes, Scott and Hannah haven’t always had smooth sailing at Doonkami. As with all Aussie farmers, their reliance on “what falls from the sky” largely dictates the property’s success or failure each year, and therefore the livelihood of their family. In 2018 they experienced the worst ever drought on record, which was followed in 2019 by an even worse drought; only 163ml of rain fell the entire year.

Hannah remembers waking up every morning and feeling like they were living on Mars. With the daily dust storms blowing and the place looking like another planet, she spent each day waiting for nightfall so that she wouldn’t have to face the barren, empty land. “It was difficult to look at…with droughts going back to back, you wonder when it’s going to change and when you will see those seasons again”.

Such devastation is particularly hard for a family that knows the potential of the property from seasons past. As is typical in rural Australia, the Baker’s luck suddenly changed overnight when they went to their local ‘watering hole’ for a drink and were suddenly plunged into flood, with 80mL falling in four hours and 170mL over the following week. The lagoon built by Scott’s great-grandfather was suddenly flowing for the first time in their kids’ living memory. “It’s amazing how quickly your spirits and your hope for what the season will bring can lift”, says Hannah. 

It's all about family

Working on their family property means more to Scott and Hannah than just earning an income. For them, it’s about continuing the work of Scott’s parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, and even more importantly, allowing them to offer their own kids a childhood that is full of exhilarating and important experiences and time together as a family.

Scott believes that “not many people in life get to spend time with their kids while they’re at work. It is pretty special to be able to take them on the bike with you somewhere, or take them to the sheep yards and do some work, or just lots of little things like that. That side of things is pretty special”.

Similarly, Hannah, who grew up on a property in North Queensland, now understands why so many people told her how lucky she was to have the childhood she had. “Now having my own kids here, I 100% can see how lucky we are to raise our kids on this property. We have a lot of space and just the life experiences they get here are very special. You don’t understand it until you’re in there doing it yourself and you get to share those moments with them”. 

Why the Baker Family loves working with Our Cow

For Scott, Hannah and their family, working with Our Cow allows them to continue this important family-oriented lifestyle, while truly offering the best quality lamb they can produce and helping to bridge the gap between paddock and plate. Scott describes farming as having “big highs and big lows” to produce what those living in cities simply pick up at the grocery store.

Hannah believes that businesses like Our Cow are helping those totally removed from rural properties to understand how their produce ends up on their table at dinner time, and that it is a process reliant on the weather. “It doesn’t magically happen”. However, despite the hardship and challenges involved, Scott and Hannah love what they do and the impact that buying their meat through Our Cow has on their family and their kids’ futures.

“It’s great to be able to see the community that Our Cow is building- everyone helping each other with recipes and what they do with our different cuts of meat. It’s so great to see. I love it”, says Scott. When asked what Scott and Hannah hope their customers will say when they try their lamb, they simply say that “we hope it’s the best bit of lamb they’ve ever eaten”. With 115 years of family history behind them and many more to come, it’s safe to say it absolutely will be!

Try some of Scott & Hannah's tender & delicious Aussie White Lamb today by building your own box of grass-fed and free-range meat, or try our pre-built "The Lamb Box" for a sample of everything!

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