Taylors Run: farming for a sustainable future

  • Agribusiness

NAB agribusiness customer Taylors Run has been working to revegetate their property in regional New South Wales. Their innovative and sustainable practices are delivering great results – and there’s more to come.

  • 09.11.2023
  • Time to read 1 min read
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NAB agribusiness customer Taylors Run has been working to revegetate their property in regional New South Wales. Their innovative and sustainable practices are delivering great results – and there’s more to come. 

When the Taylor family first settled at the New England Tableland almost 185 years ago, it was an open grassy woodland.

After years of overgrazing, and the effects of drought, the landscape had changed dramatically.

So, the Taylors took on the challenge to rejuvenate the local ecosystem.

“You can imagine bare open paddocks in the middle of a 35-degree day in summer or a cold stormy rainy night at the end of winter.”

Sixth-generation wool grower Michael Taylor

 

“There was just a tipping point … the key thing that seemed to be missing that prompted us to start doing something … was the loss of tree cover.”

Tree cover dropped from about 30%, when the Taylors first arrived in the region, to less than 5% in the mid-1980s. Without any shade or shelter for livestock, Michael’s parents started planting radiata pine.

When Michael returned to the family farm two decades ago, he continued the planting program.

Together with partner Millie and their family, they have also implemented modified grazing methods to promote revegetation and other sustainability practices.

The focus on biodiversity and diversification of the family business has been supported by NAB, Australia’s leading lender to agribusiness and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

“[Our practice has] evolved over time, originally shade and shelter for livestock. Now we’re seeing all the other benefits,” Michael said.

“It’s really positive to see [NAB] supporting a project which will see changes over ten or 20 years on a property.”

Planting for the future

Taylors Run spans 1,000 hectares and was one of the first properties established in the region.

The business runs 4,500 premium quality superfine Merino, 100 heads of Angus cattle, a 130-hectare timber resource and an agritourism arm.

“Enterprise stacking on farms is a really important part of being resilient through market changes and seasonal changes,” Michael said.

“We’ve been able to demonstrate our resilience … I think probably the proudest I was, was at the most difficult, at the lowest point of the 2019 drought.”

Backing sustainable agribusiness

Building strong relationships with customers such as Taylors Run is at the heart of NAB’s approach.

There are more than 6,000 colleagues in 150 business banking centres and 450 branches, supporting business and agriculture customers across Australia.

“This is a relationship-led business – our scale means we can offer our customers industry insights, including in agriculture where we have over 33% market share,” NAB CEO Ross McEwan said.

“Our bankers understand their customers, their ambitions, and can help support opportunities to grow.”

Ross visited Taylors Run during a trip to regional New South Wales in August.

“It was terrific to see the Taylors’ innovative and sustainable practices up close,” he said.

“You can clearly see why Michael has received nationwide recognition for his work, including being named Australian Farmer of the Year in 2022.”

NAB has supported the Taylor family business for more than 40 years and Michael and Millie are now part of the NAB Future Farmers scheme.

The industry-led program helps farmers introduce more sustainable approaches to optimise production and build resilience.

Michael said the Future Farmers scheme could help take Taylors Run to the next level.

“[NAB] can see the importance of natural capital assets, being resilient, and being able to put a value on it,” Michael said.

“NAB is looking to the future. They're not just looking at the next financial year – they're looking years ahead.”

Sixth-generation wool grower Michael Taylor

 

A positive result for customers and colleagues

NAB provides finance to help customers such as Taylors Run deliver innovative solutions that drive sustainability and efficiency.

In October, it became the first Australian bank to partner with Greener, a dedicated sustainability solution provider, to offer small business customers an opportunity to assess and accelerate their sustainability plans.

NAB today released its 2023 Full Year Results. During the past three years, $33.9 billion has been provided in lending to support the growth ambitions of business owners.

“NAB is focused on delivering better outcomes for our customers and colleagues – regardless of the environment – and this is serving our customers and our bank well,” Ross said.

“In the last three years, we’ve invested $1.3 billion into our Business & Private Banking division, added around 700 customer facing roles and introduced better products and services for our customers.

“Despite the headwinds, I’m optimistic. With strong migration levels, low unemployment and demand for our natural resources, Australia is well placed to rebound in the second half of next year.

“Most businesses I talk to are still ambitious to grow. They’re looking to invest and be more productive and want banks and governments to keep make things simpler and easier for them to get on with the job.”

NAB has a range of initiatives for agribusiness customers, including supporting the Climateworks Centre’s Natural Capital Measurement Catalogue project, which provides tools to measure natural capital.

The NAB Foundation is supporting the development of nature-based solutions through Greening Australia and the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia.

For Michael and his family, the focus remains on safeguarding the business, and the New England Tablelands ecosystem, for years to come.

The Taylors have planted about 250,000 trees and will soon reach a positive tipping point at the property: the return to 30% tree cover.

"It would mean that we wouldn't actually have to plant any more trees. We would be getting natural regeneration in our exotic and our native plantings.”

Sixth-generation wool grower Michael Taylor

 

“Long term [we want to] continue to build on the natural asset that we’re living on … to provide this environment for the rest of my family to come back to in the future.”

For more information on Taylors Run visit its Facebook page.

See NAB’s Full Year Financial Results here.

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