When it comes to environmentally sustainable practices, every industry needs leaders that champion the benefits of an adapted approach. In horticulture, The Mulgowie Farming Company is one such industry leader.
The family-owned business, known for its production of organic sweet corn, green beans and broccoli (amongst other crops), has long placed sustainability at the core of its operations. Through Mulgowie’s commitment to innovation and continual improvement, it has significantly improved its environmental outcomes without sacrificing product quality across its Australia-wide farms.
It was this commitment that earned Michael Evans, farm manager of Mulgowie’s Boisdale farm, recognition at this years AusVeg National Awards for Excellence. Michael was awarded the 2019 Butler Market Gardens Environmental Award, which celebrates an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to implementing sustainable farming practices on-farm.
Michael, who has managed the Boisdale farm since August of 2015, has been instrumental in implementing an integrated crop management approach, resulting in improved crop rotations and better planning for crops based on soil management and variety selection. Michael has also successfully used integrated pest management policies on-farm, introduced new biological products to help manage crop nutrition and soil health, adopted efficient irrigation systems that preserve valuable water resources, as well as working with La Trobe University as part of a research project looking to improve soil conditions.
Michael speaks about the direct link between soil quality, food quality and human health and the passion that Mulgowie has in making sure they have the healthiest possible soil and plants. When asked about what inspired him to have a deeper focus on sustainable practices within the farm, Michael said, “The reason we have focussed on sustainability practices is if we don’t, where will the future of our great industry be for the next generation?”.
For Michael, it’s the next generation of farmers that he believes should focus on implementing sustainable practices. “Being a farmer is a noble profession, but even more so is a farmer who recognises that they’re a custodian of the land, who has the means to enrich paddocks, plants and surroundings for future generations.”
Sponsoring the award, Butler Market Gardens CEO Rick Butler believes that rewarding businesses who are environmentally sustainable is of the utmost importance, saying that “Making environmentally sustainable decisions now, will lead to long term sustainable business in the horticulture industry.”
“[Butler Market Gardens] are passionate about the environment and just as passionate to see other businesses show innovation in the way they adopt sustainability on farm.”
It’s through examples set by farms like Mulgowie Farming Company that the agricultural industry can transition to more sustainable farming practices and leaders like Michael that will get take us there.