From the day we went for a Sunday drive with Dad in our old land rover through the paddocks to check the cows, I have loved cattle. We pulled up near the cows grazing contentedly on the improved pastures in the paddock. Dad suggested we see how close we could get to the cows, so we crept out of the vehicle and slid down on to the ground and crawled on our hands and knees up to the cows. I crawled through a fresh cow pat and came so close to one cow I could kiss her. It was magic.
To broaden my experience, I spent a few years after school doing other things but since my return, 27 years ago, I have been fully absorbed, not just with running our historic and high-performing Angus stud, but in the whole complex challenge of building a sustainable farming business for future generations. What happens in our pastures with our commercial cattle and sheep is part of the total mix and demonstrates on our own farms how well our genetics perform in a modern grazing operation.
There is so much still to learn, as technology bounds ahead, but when it comes down to measuring how we are going, it is about the whole picture, seeing the results in our paddocks that feed the stock and all the way through to when we get the feedback sheets for our steers or I visit a bull client and see what a great job the bulls we have sold are doing in their herd.
When I see the young bull calves on the ground and watch them grow into the type of cattle I want to breed for commercial improvement it gives me the same sort of buzz that I got on that Sunday drive with Dad. This is my proud heritage, over 100 years of breeding stud Angus cattle on Bald Blair, but it is the future that really excites me.
I love climbing the hill at the back of Bald Blair, we call it the Pinnacle, some people call it Fletcher's seat after my Grandfather, Harold Fletcher White. It is about 4,400 feet above sea level and you can see for miles around and across to a neighbouring hill, called Chandler Peak, another good look out. To be able to look out over Bald Blair and see the improved pastures, fences and water infrastructure is very rewarding. To see the pure-bred angus herd grazing on the phalaris my grandfather planted. To see generations of improvement and know that it will continue is very exciting for me and my family.