Dungog farmer Janne Ryan has been recognised as one of the top 100 beef producers in NSW in the 2023 Excellence in Eating Quality Awards.
When Ms Ryan first opened her mail and saw that she had received the award she was left feeling stunned and in disbelief.
"I picked it up and looked at the envelope and thought yep that's us but I think they've made a mistake," she said.
"I wasn't trying to be funny, I looked at it again and I opened it and I got this amazing letter from Meat and Livestock Australia saying we were in the top 100 producers.
"That's pretty bloody good if you don't mind me saying."
Ms Ryan runs her farm with her sister Lindy Ryan, who lives in Sydney. They have 250 beef cattle.
The awards aim to raise awareness about Meat Standards Australia's best management practises by recognising producers who consistently deliver the best eating quality beef.
The award came with a letter from Meat and Livestock Australia that acknowledged Ms Ryan's achievement.
Ms Ryan runs her farm with a focus on sustainability and ethical farming practices, treating the cattle and the land with respect and love in the hope that it will create a better end product.
"The qualities we bring to each other, in a way it's the same principles with working with cattle or whatever you're working with. The goal being to make them happy," she said.
"We're doing regenerative agriculture. That means we don't have any chemicals on the land. That was considered a bit crazy in the old days because farming was about big crops, big money and big use of chemicals.
"Now there's a focus on farm to table because the market wants it. It does cost more but someone has to get out there and start the new way of thinking, there are always people at the pointy end and that's what we're doing."
Receiving recognition from both Meat and Livestock Australia and Meat Standards Australia has shown Ms Ryan that the image of the Australian farmer is changing.
It has also shown her regenerative farming has the potential to take a more prominent place in the agriculture industry.
"This is a recognition that farming is changing, the farmer looks different, the farmer has a different background, a broader education and bringing that level of learning how to think and applying it to the farm rather than being told what to do," Ms Ryan said.
"We're refocusing the whole farm to being culturally and politically where we believe the world needs to go, which is to acknowledge climate change, work towards low emissions and strengthen the quality of the soil."
Although Ms Ryan and her sister have been recognised for their work, she said that it doesn't happen overnight. It took them over four years of managing the farm to get to where they are now.
Looking forward, Ms Ryan wants to enhance their focus on the environment.
"Cattle aren't your only product on farms anymore. It's really about carbon growth in your soil, methane holding," she said.
"The healthier the soil the more cattle you can carry, that's the way it is and if you're going to mess up your soil you're going to mess up your cattle. Healthy soil, healthy cattle and then healthy people."
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