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This website aims to develop case studies of the development of farming practices and attendant transformations of local ecologies of defined blocks of land. Through these biographies of particular plots of land we are developing localised analyses of the wider historical trends in the political economy/ecology of the Northern Rivers.

Go to: Family history | The Farm | The River | David, Jenny and the Farm | Self-sufficiency and Aquarius | Cattle and floods | The landscape | Other on-farm agriculture | Buying and selling land | Poor economic times | Family partnership on the farm | Mill politics, harvesters and cane cutters | Changing methods | Chemicals | Market impacts and government subsidies | Generational change and succession | Impact on cane growing | Environmental issues | Politics of cane and the mill | Neighbours

Generational change and succession

In this Woodburn to Broadwater area … it’s still heavily cane farmed isn’t it?

David: yeah. It would be the majority industry by far. Most of the farmers are old. There are some younger guys starting, I don’t know how long they’ll last but there are some younger guys starting.

Jenny: they’re usually the sons of cane farmers.

David: both sides of us there’s a son taken over which is getting into the third generation.

So what do you think is going to happen to the McDonald farm?

David: we’ll have to sell it. Our kids don’t want it.

Jenny: we might be able to keep this bit where the house is. We have to keep a hundred acres though and just have some cows and just keep the house and down to the creek there and live here until we’re too decrepit to do anything else. And then that’ll have to go too, yeah. That’ll be more like a residential, rural lifestyle type of block I suppose.

And who’s likely to buy the farm?

David: some other cane farmer although the real estate agents say they can sell the river bank to a lifestyle sort of person.

Oh can somebody … does it still have to be cane farm?

David: no you can sell a hundred acres off.

Jenny: but we can’t get access to it because of the big highway but when the highway moves, that will be all different because it will only be a quiet little road down there. The Pacific Highway is going out east of here, out on the eastern boundary of our property and so that’s going to leave this – well, that’ll be the big motorway and that’s going to leave this original Pacific Highway as just a little road servicing Woodburn and Broadwater and Rileys Hill. And when ….which has virtually no traffic on it at all especially at night so we’re hoping that we might be able to … we’ve got 400 acres here and another 100 down near Woodburn. Well the hundred down near Woodburn’s ok it’s already separate title, but we’re hoping that this 400 acres could be divided into four blocks which would be better because people could afford to buy it more. It can be divided. It’s just getting access onto the highway which is the problem at the moment.

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