Right at the beginning of our journey with Chief we wanted to learn more about beef farming and the man everyone said we needed to meet was Charlie Arnott. After travelling 4 hours from Sydney to his property in Boorowa, we soon learned why.
Not only is he a top bloke who's generous with his time and knowledge, he's also an award winning 8th Australian generational farmer, an educator and host of the enormously popular podcast series The Regenerative Journey.
Since we're putting together a virtual conference "Give Meat A Chance" with Charlie as one of our key speakers, we thought it's about time we introduced him to you too!
The name ‘Arnott’ is synonymous with biscuits, but Charlie is the first in five generations of his family who hasn’t worked in a biscuit factory. Charlie’s father, Michael Arnott, started in the family’s Sydney factory, but broke away from the family business that was founded by his great-great-grandfather, William Arnott, to pursue his passion for farming.
Michael moved the family to Boorowa in 1970 and Charlie took over their 5,000 hectare property “Hanaminno” in 1997 - an industrial high input / high output farming business model, heavily reliant on pesticides, herbicides and man-made fertilisers.
After a series of epiphanies and through education Charlie found the Regenerative Agriculture movement, a movement which reflected his instinctive connection to the land and his ethos of producing quality food for his family and the world.
Today, Hanaminno is managed using organic, biodynamic and holistic grazing principles, and produces beef, lamb and pigs, pasture raised on 100% native and exotic species, raised sympathetically within the landscape and the resources it provides, proactively marketing products direct to their clients, focusing on providing clean healthy nutritiously dense food direct to butcher and families.
The animals are handled in a ‘low stress stock’ fashion, considerate of their individual and mob behaviour; they are 100% chemical free and are not treated with any hormones, vaccines or drenches.
Charlie believes the decision to move away from trying to get nature to do what man wants, and instead learning how best to collaborate with nature, is key to not only a prosperous farming business, but also to a farmer’s health, consumer health and the land’s health. The business is not certified organic, nor Biodynamic, however prefer being known as ‘Certified by Community’, given the transparency and openness to the public and clients under which the farm operates. Customers are considered ‘co-producers’ as they play a vital role in guiding the production of food through their feedback and connection with the farm.
Charlie and his team host and facilitate 2 day workshops at Hanaminno and across Eastern Australia, teaching farmers, gardeners and families the principle and practices of Biodynamics, and hold open community preparation making events on farm to foster the skills and experience for farmers to create a relationship with their landscape, and be self-reliant.
Charlie considers himself and his team sunshine and water harvesters, soil builders, pasture and animal nurturers, change facilitators, educators, community supporters and Nature partners.
He has received several agricultural industry awards for leadership, resource management and conservation, more recently the prestigious Bob Hawke National Landcare Award 2018. The award acknowledges a person who has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to caring for the land, champions better practices, and gives their time to share knowledge with others.