Climate Champion Series : Gillian Taylor

The following is a guest post in our Climate Champion series – today by Gillian Taylor

Name: Gillian Taylor
Location: Wymah Valley, Southern Slopes, New South Wales
Role: Produces beef cattle

“We seem to have a mentality that we have to consume to create sustainability.” But for Gillian Taylor, it’s about living within our means on the earth.

“We need to ask ourselves: ‘What effect does the decision I am about to make have on the natural world?’,” she says.

Gillian Taylor of Wymah Valley, NSW

Photo Credit: Econnect Communication. Gillian Taylor of Wymah Valley, NSW

Gillian has always had an affinity with land—a jillaroo as soon as she left school, then onto a Merino stud with husband David, and now at Bibbaringa producing beef cattle in a holistic way.

“When you’re on the land,” she says, “you become very attuned with nature. You notice when birds are coming and going, what the insects are doing and how it all relates to impending weather.”

Farmers have always dealt with climate changes, and Gillian sees it as a joy of working with nature. “But in recent decades we have experienced continual turmoil and exceptional circumstances. Because of these more dramatic variations in climate we have to change the ways we manage our landscape and products we produce from the land,” she says.

Although they’ve been at Bibbaringa seven short years, Gillian sees that the climate has become more variable there. “And more of our neighbours are agreeing. The variability is not going to change, so we have to manage for that variability.”

Gillian and David have built a solid foundation of knowledge of their own, and their forefathers’ knowledge, and use it to be leaders in land management in whatever climatic conditions they’re in.

Gillian photographs the grass pastures to monitor and preserve their condition for her animals and to prevent erosion.

Photo Credit: Econnect Communication. Ground cover is essential to Gillian’s business and her farm’s sustainability in the face of climate change.

Gillian’s dream is for consumers to be informed about what it takes to provide the ‘perfect steak’ and fruits and vegetables all year round. “The very nature of food production is seasonal.” She says importing food from overseas to avoid seasonal variation does not help “climate adaption  or the state of the globe”.

The ‘climate journey’ that Gillian and David are on is inspired by nature and observing their landscape to be aware of human impacts.

“Working so close to nature every day makes you realize the stress human demands have put on the earth.”

Photo Credit: Econnect Communication.

Photo Credit: Econnect Communication. Gillian photographs the grass pastures to monitor and preserve their condition for her animals and to prevent erosion.

For her property in NSW, Gillian focuses on growing native grasses (pasture) that cover the ground, give shade, cool the soil, build biodiversity and reduce erosion.

“Our major priority is not production at all costs. Our major priority is getting the soil and the land into a good, healthy condition. We feel if we can do this then everything else will take care of itself and in turn accommodate for the varying climate.”

“We have to change our ways: be more sustainable in our demands on our food and resource requirements, and question what effect each decision we make has on the environment.”

Bibbaringa’s in good hands.

Gillian is a farmer in the Climate Champion program, a group of farmers keen to communicate with other farmers about managing climate risk, and to researchers about what farmers need from research and development.

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