Back to her past

Lambition finalist Georgie Rogers aims for sustainability

Australian Sheep and Wool Show
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Georgie Rogers has spent the past five years developing her sustainable farming operation.

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 CARING FOR THE LAND: Georgina Rogers, Springton, SA, has been shortlisted for the Elanco Sustainable Producer of the Year.

CARING FOR THE LAND: Georgina Rogers, Springton, SA, has been shortlisted for the Elanco Sustainable Producer of the Year.

Georgie Rogers says her love of country life was instilled in her growing up, and her upbringing on a farm in Birdwood, SA, inevitably led to her returning to the land years later.

For most of her adult life, Ms Rogers has worked in the food and wine industry which helped her develop a fine appreciation for good food and its origins.

When an opportunity arose five years ago to return to the land, she bought 33 hectares on Peramangk Country in the Barossa Valley, SA, with one intention - to run a sustainable farming enterprise.

The SA farmer is one of two primary producers shortlisted for the Elanco Sustainable Producer of the Year.

The enterprise, Rogers Farm, aims to produce high-quality hogget in the most environmentally-sustainable way possible.

"We choose to raise and sell hogget rather than lamb, for its superior flavour and texture," Ms Rogers said.

"Being 100 per cent grassfed and finished results in a milder tasting and cleaner finishing fat, that renders beautifully on cooking to leave deliciously tender meat."

Ms Rogers runs a flock of 50-120 Australian White/Sufflok and Border Leicester/Poll Dorset crossbreds, depending on the time of year and seasonal conditions.

A portion of her meat is sold wholesale to restaurants, while a smaller portion is sold at a retail level.

"We sell whole carcase hoggets at 15 to 18 months of age [and] we provide a farm to table purchasing option - a half or quarter share to retail clients, packaged in cooking portion size and home delivered," she said.

Sheep are carried on dry-grown grass that is grown naturally without extra inputs including chemical fertilisers.

"This means that some years may allow us to hold more stock than others if plenty of feed is available," she said.

"This wholly natural approach means we allow the conditions to determine our flock size, thus the soil and pasture conditions are not compromised, nor are the flock stressed by insufficient feed, water or crowding.

"My aim is to improve carbon sequestration and build a deep soil profile, year upon year."

Ms Rogers said without adding chemical inputs, grasslands were allowed to regenerate with a natural diversity the Mount Lofty Ranges were known for.

A rotational grazing program is used to ensure vegetation is not overgrazed.

"We also follow a no-till pasture development program and increase ground cover and root development year upon year to aid in overall soil health, water retention and flock condition," she said.

Ms Rogers said most of her marketing was done through social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

"This medium helps to shine a spotlight on how buying direct from the farmer can further instill how sustainable agriculture is the way forward," she said.

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