Tamworth photos: Alice Mabin captures the Australian agriculture industry with her books The Grower

SQUATTING on her haunches watching a cow calve for hours, when it comes to Australian agriculture Alice Mabin has seen it all.

From the biggest cattle stations in the country to boutique yabby farms and saffron crops, it’s all been caught in her lens.

Now, she’s documented all 551 farmers and their properties in two books that span the range of the agriculture industry today.

“What I’ve done is really about helping people to have a better understanding of where their food comes from and the risk and inputs the people involved make to provide for others, and it’s very thankless,” The Grower author Alice Mabin said.

“It was about capturing the rawness and reality, the true livelihood of these people.”

More than 30 farms from the New England feature in the books, including Bede Burke’s free range egg farm and Tamworth Regional Council councillor Russell Webb.

The books dive into every industry and its role in the national economy, global exports, innovation, succession planning and careers in agriculture.

There’s a story about each property and of course, the drought gets a mention.

“It’s not a ‘woe is me thing’, it’s saying here’s Australian agriculture and this is success and what we do, what people are proud of,” Ms Mabin said.

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“I've tried to help people understand the whole paddock to plate process, the melting pot of cultures that are in there – I’ve been to properties where I’ve had to take an interpreter because nobody spoke a word of English.”

What started off as a Landmark commissioned 250 page book quickly turned into 1000 pages and two books, so rich is Australia’s agricultural industry.

The stories are uplifting and inspiring, with many building their businesses from the ground up.

And, $3 from the sale of every book will go to Buy A Bale to help farmers in drought.

“It took 11 months but I didn’t go home for a single day,” Ms Mabin said.

“They’re always glass half full people and to hear some of these stories and the things they’ve done, they’ve thrown themselves in the deep end.

“If people really want to help farmers they need to educate themselves and understand what it takes, appreciate what these people do everyday to have the food on your plate.” 

This story From the croc farm to the future, the heart of agriculture | Photos first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.

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