Thank A Farmer Andrew Carter
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#ThankAFarmer for backing rural Australia

Category Client Stories

Andrew Carter

The shiny appeal of global corporate law proved no match compared to the wide brown plains of North West NSW where Andrew and Libby Carter recognised their real opportunity lay.

As a young couple pursuing professional law careers, culminating in London’s top tier firms, Andrew’s intention was always to return to the family farm, “Bungunya”, 75 Kilometres west of Moree.

However having firmly envisaged a high-flying career as partner in a law firm, Libby laughs that from their earliest days of dating, Andrew made his agricultural objectives very clear.

“I grew up in Ayr, and my parents had a fruit exporting business so it wasn’t a foreign concept – in fact my father was an agronomist in Gunnedah early in his career and I was actually born in Moree, so maybe this was my destiny all along!”

Having moved back from London in 2010, Andrew took a part-time role with a local law firm, Webb & Boland, and Libby in local council – their education and expertise invaluable assets in off-farm diversification.

“The recent drought really reiterated that we do have great skills that are valued and provide secure cash flow – and while it’s a juggle, our careers and living our farming dream can coexist.”

A long-term vision to return to the bush, astute saving – and no doubt the same work ethic and ambition that underpinned their corporate careers – has afforded Andrew and Libby the opportunity to purchase the property from their extended family during recent succession planning.

And with autonomy, youth and enthusiasm on their side – not to mention another cracking season –  the Carter’s have wasted little time implementing their long held aspiration to further invest in the property for enhanced commercial and environmental returns.

“It’s really exciting to have this opportunity while we’re still young enough to really focus on the long-term sustainability of the business,” Andrew said. “In so many instances farms aren’t ‘passed down’ or acquired until later in life, so we feel really grateful, and are itching to get into it.”

Scanning sheep to support the survivability of lambs, improved pastures for soil health and a full restructure of the operation’s shearing schedules are some of the initial innovations adopted on farm.

“Scanning allows us to identify the incident of twins or triplets in utero, and we can customise our feeding schedule to increase the nutritional needs for pregnant ewes, and increase lamb survivability rates,” Andrew explained.

Data-based evidence now drives decision making across the property – turning the traditional ‘this is what we’ve always done’ yardstick on its head.

“Last year was the first year we didn’t shear in July,” Andrew said. “The wool was still tender after the drought, so we got it off early rather than wait and shear good wool over bad.”

Multiple annual shears are now planned to remove the clip more frequently, promoting healthier sheep and greater joining rates.

Infrastructure is also being expanded, with a new woolshed, silos and sheep yards recently completed on-farm, and the capping of the open bore drain network has enabled significant water savings, up to 80 per cent.

Andrew Carter

With three young children now in tow – Isabelle, 9, Grace 7 and Harry 3 – and Andrew’s parents Peg and Bruce plus brother Simon continuing to help out on-farm, it’s still very much a family affair on “Bungunya” - and Libby and Andrew both concede that the lifestyle benefits of moving west have not disappointed.

“I can confidently say I am very glad my initial aspirations didn’t work out,” Libby laughed. “We have such an exciting opportunity here on the farm, meaningful careers, and all whilst providing our children a beautiful rural lifestyle.”

And while he was always set on coming home to the farm, Andrew – who still works part-time as a lawyer, and is in fact now a Webb & Boland partner – is forever grateful to his parents for encouraging him to pursue his education and a professional career path.

“I’m not sure dad really ever believed I’d come home, but he’s been a huge mentor and sounding board, and coupled with Libby and my corporate business backgrounds there’s a real sense of opportunity, and we’re excited to be playing our part in feeding the world.”

Thank you Carter family for returning to the bush with the skills and enthusiasm vital to ensuring our rural communities, and agriculture, thrive.


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