Meet the Farmers of Felton - David House
David House's farm "Marinya" is part of the Cambooya Half Day Farm Tour. Click here to get your tickets today!
How long have you been farming?
For as long as I can ever remember. My Dad was a dairy farmer and I started farming as soon as I left school at 16, 45 years ago.
Where is your farm located and how big is it?
We are located in Cambooya in the Felton Valley (about 25 minutes from Toowoomba). The farm is 650 hectares.
What do you farm?
We have farmed a variety of things over the years, but our main areas of focus are Angus cattle and Waygu bulls (of which we send the calves to Japan), grain crops, bird seeds, oil seed and hay crops. We also lease some land to a veggie farmer who grows mainly lettuce and broccoli. We also have land set aside for experimental crops, and we often work with the CSIRO on these projects.
How many people work on your farm?
We have three generations working on the farm – my father, myself and my two sons.
What do you like most about farming?
I like the flexibility and diversity of it. There’s always lots to do but you can decide each day what you tackle first. I like that each year is different and we can change direction from cattle one year to grain the next.
What is your least favourite part of farming?
The politics of farming. Legislation changes can make things difficult and these decisions are out of our control.
What is one key change you have seen take place in farming over your years in the industry?
Improvements in communication. I remember when cordless phones first came about and they could only work about 100m from the base. I always thought it would be great to be able to take a phone onto the farm. Now I can take my whole office on my phone. It makes accessing information much eaier and more convenient.
What challenges do you see for farming in the future?
Outside influences and decision making impacting on farming practices. Some things take a lifetime to learn and are things only a farmer knows. There needs to be a better understanding of this amongst decision makers.
What opportunities do you see for farming in the future?
Diversifying and doing more with what we grow. Instead of just growing crops, there are opportunities to also package and sell our products. There are many opportunities around vertical integration into farming, and looking at future market demand and then growing crops to meet this.
Why do you like being involved in the Felton Food Festival?
The committee is a great group of people with lots of energy and passion. They are forward thinking and there is so much potential for the festival in the future.
Why should people come to the Festival?
To gain a better understanding of where their food comes from and how it is produced.
Any other comments?
There is a good future in farming for the people who play the game right and embrace change. Farmers should always be looking towards the future and be flexible and willing to diversify and try something different.