LEADING THE WAY: Bloss Hickson with her husband Rodney.
LEADING THE WAY: Bloss Hickson with her husband Rodney.

“It’s a vicious cycle”: Farmer devoted to stop land clearing

A CENTRAL Queensland farmer is devoted to preventing land clearing across the country, educating land owners as to why they should keep trees on their properties.

Rolleston farmer Bloss Hickson said trees were essential in the landscape, to recycle nutrients, maintain moisture and cooler temperatures and keep everything in balance.

“With temperatures rising more quickly than predicted, and the lack of trees precipitating moisture, the bare earth is getting hotter and the moisture less,” she said.

“It’s a vicious cycle that is creating deserts in my neighbourhood and reducing productivity.”

Owner of Huntly, a certified organic commercial beef property near Rolleston, Mrs Hickson has been named a finalist for Farmer of the Year in the 2019 Australian Organic Industry Awards.

Mrs Hickson said she was grateful to have been recognised for her management but hoped to use it as an opportunity to show landholders the importance of keeping native scrub in their enterprise.

“I would like to show how much the trees benefit my enterprise,” she said.

“I honestly believe the only way we will have sustainable farming in the future is if we keep trees on our landscape.”

More than 10 years ago Huntly became completely organic and, in combination with flora and fauna, this had helped the land prosper.

In 2002 she said the Department of Natural Resources wanted to spray a plague of hopper locusts that had just hatched on the property, however when they returned four days later, the locusts were gone.

“The golden orb spiders had formed a net of webs from tree to tree and caught them, the birds were having a feast, turning the menace into beautiful fertiliser,” Mrs Hickson said.

“That was when I realised the true benefits of what I was trying to achieve. You can control everything if you keep a healthy ecological system and trees are the base of that.”

When she started Huntly in 1987, Mrs Hickson had a goal to create a healthy, bio diverse, ecological system that would enhance a profitable, sustainable, beef enterprise, which she found all stemmed from keeping trees in the landscape.

“It’s about the value of trees in your landscape and how it’s essential to keep them, for the soil, for the atmosphere and for the livestock,” she said.

“Professor Tom Crouther from Swiss University ETH estimates that a worldwide planting program of trees could remove two thirds of all the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere by human activities, and I truly believe in that.”

The Australian Organic industry will honour the year’s highest achievers at the 2019 Australian Organic Industry Awards, now in its sixth year.

The awards will be held in Melbourne on Friday, November 15, where the winners will be announced.


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