Grant Barbara is proud to call himself a farmer as well as an environmentalist - he has been using regenerative techniques like direct drilling pasture for more than a decade.
“Nature provides us with everything we’ve got here. My vision is having a farm that is completely in sync with nature.”
When a major fault-line ruptured through the property in 2016, an insurance shortfall left Barbaras looking for ways to reduce costs. They removed commercial fertiliser and and ramped up their efforts in soil health. “We’ve had a bit of a mindset shift here. I always used to think I was a sheep and beef farmer, but now we’re definitely farming the soil. Everything else that we do is just a by-product of what starts down below the ground.”
Grant carries a spade with him everywhere he goes - digging holes, sniffing dirt and looking for worms and other signs of healthy soil. He’s seen year-on-year improvements in topsoil quality and depth which has, in turn, brought improvements to pasture and animal health.
“We’ve got the plants performing properly, so we’ve got the animals performing better and I’m hoping that we’re going to find that we’re also sequestering more carbon.”
Grant says the next big step is carbon farming. Soil testing has been carried out to measure carbon sequestration as well as microbe activity. The farm’s scrub cover has also been measured.
“They can put science around all of that and determine how much carbon we are sequestering. The answer’s sitting within the farm gate already. If everybody who owns a bit of farmland would plant a small proportion in native bush, we would not only enhance the native biodiversity, we could perhaps save the world from this big carbon hole.”
Grant is driven by what will be best for his children and grandchildren.“Farming is intergenerational. We’ve been so lucky to have what we have through the hard work of previous generations. My role here is really just to carry that on and leave it in a better space. And then teach the next generation how lucky they are to farm it.”
ZQRX wool growers not only produce the highest quality, most ethical wool in the world, they also work to give more than they take from the natural world, the animals living in that world, and the human communities interacting with it.
Growers use a new platform called the Regenerative Index (RX) to help them measure and improve how much they give back as they restore waterways, protect native species, offset carbon, and enhance local communities.
ZQRX wool is essentially a recipe for how we might produce and consume things in the future where products will not only change our lives for the better, they will change our entire world for the better by giving a little more than they take.