This week we share a chat with Jim Gaylard, a family lamb rancher who recently hosted Evandro Caregnato from the Texas de Brazil restaurant chain on a visit Down Under. Here’s what he had to say about the visit, and about life on Trawalla Pastoral, his mixed operation of lamb, cattle and crop farming about 100 miles west of Melbourne. I loved meeting Evandro and his family. It was great to see a man equally passionate about the product he uses as I am about producing it. We are always really proud to show chefs who use our product what we do here at Trawalla, and for them to see the environment we raise our lambs in, which gives them the quantity and consistent quality for their restaurants.
Q: 4000 hectares is a very large property — especially for our city dweller American readers! That’s over twice the size of the entire city of San Francisco. As a family farm, how do you manage that, and how many sheep are you raising? It’s a team effort for sure, between my family and an experienced team of Jackeroos*, we’re like a huge family all working together running 12,000 ewes and producing 14-16,000 lambs per year.
Q: What are some of the sustainability initiatives you have in place or planned at Trawalla Pastoral? One of the most impactful and yet simple programs we implemented was a series of tree plantations. The shelter provides help with erosion, pasture drying and animal welfare for exposure and shade in the hot summer months.
Q: What’s your philosophy when it comes to animal welfare — what’s the role of the rancher in giving sheep the “good life” under your care?Animal welfare is always front of mind. Clean water, good shelter and adequate feed are the keys to a successful livestock business, and we pride ourselves on making sure we provide them. We also work hard to reduce stress on the animals, moving and monitoring them with minimal intervention. In the end, if our animals are happy then that makes us happy. If I could take the sheep home on a cold winter’s night, I would, although my wife probably wouldn't like to share the house with a mob of bleating lambs!!
*Aussie slang for a young ranch-hand