Introducing our Farmer eXchange Farmer Advisory Team
Carissa Wolfe of Benmar Farm is an energetic, talented and hardworking farmer and we are incredibly fortunate to have her as a member of the Farmer Advisory Team.
We sat down with Carissa to learn more about who she is and what she does!
Carissa, tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’ve been in the dairy industry (in NSW and on the West Coast, USA) since 2001, and in organics as a dairy production method since 2003.
Through my roles over these years, I’ve been involved with dairy business management teams across many different production scales and models (pasture-based to fully housed with TMR, 40 – 3000 cows, conventional and organic, owner-operators to fully staffed); significant to this experience was being in the USA working with top farmers during the GFC and the milk price/feed price situation at the time.
I currently co-own/operate an organic dairy business on the Mid North Coast.
What is your farming dream and vision?
My farming dream is to have a resilient farming system suited to Australia’s climate that is efficient and adaptable, self-sufficient and self-sustaining.
Our farm vision is three-fold:
- to re-connect the consumer to the source of their food (farmer, animal and land)
- to profitably and efficiently produce that food to the long-term benefit and welfare of the resources involved (farmer, animal and land)
- to contribute to the success of others by making our learnings accessible (experiences, successes and failures, anything that can be useful to someone else).
Why did you get involved in Farmer eXchange project?
I got involved with the Farmer eXchange Project for two reasons:
- Airlie is engaged, passionate, knowledgeable, and actionable – it’s people like this who will see us through the necessary evolution’s we MUST go through in agricultural industries (as historically, generational ‘shift changes’ and global ‘era’ transitions). They need our support, encouragement and contribution, because they are DOING what the rest of us can’t, but they can’t do it if the rest of us don’t pitch in to get it DONE.
- Then the Farmer eXchange Project specifically: We really have a need to make agricultural “community knowledge” – the knowledge you use every day that another farmer might not know, or those tricks that Grandad taught me, whatever – accessible in today’s mobile/online environment. I got involved with this Project because it covers its bases:
applying “community knowledge” technology that already exists (stable technology, not experimental),
that people are comfortable using (we use them online all the time already, whenever we ‘Google’ something to find an answer, that answer is in one),
to create something that’s for ALL agricultural community knowledge (not just one ag industry, production method, levy organisation, region, or any other of the ways we’re divided as farmers
– which means if a cotton farmer has a question on tractors that a sugarcane farmer has the answer to, the eXchange has been made regardless of other distinctions, like neighbours or mates)
Who you think will benefit from the Farmer eXchange?
Who benefits from Grandad teaching his grandson how/why he does something? They both do… Who benefits from one neighbour pitching in to help another? They both do… Who’s going to benefit from the Farmer eXchange? Both those people, plus everyone else who had the same question, plus everyone else that needed to know but didn’t even know to ask the question yet.
By the time all those people benefit, our Australian Agriculture Industry as a whole has benefited, because now we’re exchanging information at the rate all the other industries do.
Your vision for the Farmer eXchange
Never have I ever met a dumb farmer, nor a farmer who doesn’t help out his mates. This is a way to bring our smarts and our support into 2018, and stand tall next to the mining, “fin-tech” and other industries. “Innovation” is a buzzword right now, but we’ve been innovating every day for centuries – my vision for the Farmer eXchange is to see this “innovation” (the Farmer eXchange) make our innovations and experience accessible to each other without boundaries.
What is the first question you would ask on the eXchange?
Dairy – First-calf heifers with high SCC/mastitis in first lactation:
In your experience, will they always be high SCC cows/prone to environmental mastitis, or are subsequent lactations within normal ranges? Do you cull first-calf heifers based on this?
(Note: Question is NOT asking about systemic/permanent infections (Strep/Staph/Etc) or identification/treatment methods)
I told you this group was amazing, and Carissa is testament to it. We look forward to sharing more profiles with you soon and in the meantime find Benmar Farm via their website, Facebook, or Instagram (@benmarfarm).
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