evokeAG. 2020 changing lives

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Caption: Annie and Rowan Rodgers at evokeAG. 2020

Farmers Annie and Rowan Rodgers have spent a lifetime on the land. Their property in the NSW Upper Hunter Valley has been their lifeblood as they’ve raised their family and done business there for many decades.

More recently, like many other farmers things have changed. The ongoing drought has meant they’ve had to destock their cattle property, leaving a small herd to raise.

They say they were fortunate enough to sell early.

“It has been soul destroying both financially and economically selling our breeding stock which we have spent a lifetime building and yet we know we count ourselves as being among the lucky ones,” said Mr Rodgers.

“In our area the drought has been diabolical and as you can see in these before and after images, there is no life without rain.”

Caption: The top photo shows the impact of drought over several years and was taken in December 2019. The below photo was taken in February 2020 following 240 mm over several weeks.

The couple recently attended evokeAG. 2020 in Melbourne 18-19 February which has been a watershed “crossing the rubicon” moment for them.

Attending the two-day event in Melbourne they listened to sessions such as “Are we treating our soil like dirt” and one of their favourites, was Australian actor and director, Damon Gameau’s session on his new film, 2040 on improving our planet.

“We are in a position now where we are concerned about the business’s environmental consequences to the planet, and increasingly aware of the public opinions about beef consumption and production,” said Mrs Rodgers.

“We worry about continuing to produce a product with these risks when there are innovative alternatives emerging rapidly – but until evokeAG. we just didn’t know where to begin.”

The couple say the experience has invigorated and inspired them to investigate new ways to use the land.

“We are in a position now where we are concerned about the business’s environmental consequences to the planet, and increasingly aware of the public opinions about beef consumption and production,” said Mrs Rodgers.

“We worry about continuing to produce a product with these risks when there are innovative alternatives emerging rapidly – but until evokeAG. we just didn’t know where to begin.”

The couple say the experience has invigorated and inspired them to investigate new ways to use the land.

“My knowledge of startups was minimal and attending evokeAG. has opened up a whole new world,” said Mr Rodgers.

“We were able to speak first-hand with some of these emerging businesses as well as with other farmers who find themselves wanting to change direction but not sure of the steps involved.”

The couple said they’re hoping to attend evokeAG. as a startup in 2021.

“The evoke experience has really inspired us and we’ll now focus on investigating regenerative farming methods and the role of soil health and structure,” said Mrs Rodgers.

“It has enabled us access to international companies and to see agriculture from a global perspective.”

The couple added: “All we can see is positive things around the agtech space and we now have a sense of great hope again.”

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