A NEW breed of first-generation farmers is emerging in North Queensland as more people choose to ditch their office jobs in favour of life on the land.
Husband and wife team Daniel and Leanne Cordner gave up well-paying jobs as a FIFO mine worker and microbiologist two years ago and bought a 140 acre property in the Hinchinbrook Shire.
The couple have maintained the original cane crop, and expanded into chicken farming, building an abattoir to produce and process free-range Sommerlad poultry.
Mr Cordner said a desire to know where their food was coming from and how it was produced was spurring a new generation of farmers to ditch city life and make a living off the land.
“The measure of success was how big was the bank account and it was not really a very fulfilling life,” Mr Cordner said.
With two young daughters, Adele, now 6 and Hayley, 4, Mr Cordner wanted a more family orientated lifestyle than what FIFO work could provide.
While the couple had dabbled with a vegie patch and had a few backyard chooks, they had no background or experience in farming when they moved, to the Hinchinbrook property which they named Bellasato in 2015.
And while the move hasn’t been without its challenges, they haven’t looked back.
The couple process about 100-150 birds a month to sell directly from the farm gate to residents from as far afield as Townsville and Cardwell and also sell at the Yungaburra and Cotter’s Markets once a month.
They produce about 4000 tonne of cane annually, grown on fields fertalised with chicken manure, and are looking to expand both their chicken and cane production.
“Family is fully behind us but I think they secretly think we’re a little bit crazy,” Mr Cordner said.