Friday, September 1, 2017
It’s not every day that you get to meet someone from Australia, but that is what happened here yesterday. We were pleased to host Craig Hinck from Hyden, Western Australia for a few hours. Craig loves traveling, and he came to the US for a couple weeks to specifically meet with farmers he had discovered by browsing the internet. He has spent some of his time with farmers in Minnesota (says the corn and soybeans there are spectacular!). He had a few days in central Illinois, and took in the FPS at Decatur. From here, he is going to Louisville to visit his grandpa’s sister. He has said that his experience in the US is much different this time, by virtue of getting out of the big cities and traveling to visit farmers in rural areas. Craig has traveled the world, and shared with us some photos of his many adventures across the globe.
It was a pleasant experience to hear about his family and his super-large farm and cattle herd. Craig and his wife Lauren have two children, Emily 3 and Sam 4 months. He works with his dad Trevor. Craig specializes in the operation of the several thousand acres of grain farming (wheat, barley, canola, and legumes). Trevor specializes in their high quality beef cattle operation, Kerrigan Beef.
After his arrival, we spent quite a bit of time here in the office getting acquainted. Ross, John, and Brandon were here, too, to ask about Craig’s farm and family, and to respond to his questions about life here. We discovered again that when you meet a farmer from another part of the world, we’re more alike than different. Yes, the crops or weeds may be different with different names, but the challenges of farm management are very similar. Their soil management is directed towards conservation of their limited rainfall (about 10 inches a year) while ours here is directed toward conservation of the soil to minimize water erosion.
We took a short walking trip around the farmstead to view the machines and the grain system. Every question brought up new vistas of insight into the ways they manage their large farm with its employees. Underneath it all, we understood the Hinck family is trying to maximize not only their profitability, but also the quality of their family’s lives. We agreed that the word ‘sustainability’ which is so popular in the food culture these days must also include the measure of making a profit. A reasonable profit permits the better outcomes of conservation and environmental protection.
The Hinck family’s large farm is in the region of very popular tourist site, Wave Rock. That proximity brings more amenities to their little town that what is typical for a town of 500. They have restaurants, a couple hotels, and other features to support the tourists’ needs. Their town can supply most of their needs, but when they need something special, they travel west about 4 hours to Perth.
As we visited, we laughed and shared our families’ stories. Yes, it will take about 40 hours of travel for Craig to return from here to his home near Hyden. But, even though that is a very long distance, our common interests make the Hincks seem very familiar and close in many other ways. Thank you, Craig, for taking some of your valuable time in the USA to spend with us.