Carbon Farming

In the paddock – a conversation with Climate Friendly team mate James ‘Bossy’ Bignall

Bossy and Elvis.

Name: James Bignell

What people call me:
Boss, Bossy, Bossco; Since birth; Not because I’m bossy. Complete opposite, very easy going.

Where were you brought up as a child?
I was brought up on a Sheep, Wool and Cattle property South East of Cunnamulla in South West Queensland. I was there until 9 years of age. From 9 until I was16 I spent the time in boarding school’s in Toowoomba & TSS at the Gold Coast (about 1000km’s away from home). I enjoyed the boarding, sport and mateship at school, but I was always looking forward to getting back to the property during the holidays.

Who has been the most influential person in your life?
Probably my family, in particular, my parents equally. My father is a source of inspiration for how to make your way through life, and I’ve followed his path very closely. My mother helped me build my personal values, how I look at the world and treat others. Right now I try to take anything good from the many people I meet throughout life – you can always learn from others.

Where do you live now and why?
HaHa! Way out West. I now live on a 70,000Ha property called Wambin near Toompine in South West Queensland. I was working for JBS Australia in a livestock buyer’s position which was a great job & a great experience. I was travelling around the country a lot, purchasing livestock both on farm & at saleyards. I enjoyed dealing with the clientele and visiting their properties. I decided to leave that job as the city life wasn’t for me and get back to the 7 days a week stimulation that working on a property brings. 10 years ago, my family purchased Wambin because of its location in the mulga lands. We liked it because of the mixture of country types across the property. It also allowed us to increase our cattle breeder numbers and being in the mulgalands it gave us some drought diversification that we did not previously have.

What is your passion and how did you get started on it?
Being on the land! Breeding and grazing livestock and being good at it – I get that from my family, I’m a fifth generation grazier and our family are still the original pastoral leaseholder’s of our Cunnamulla property (1869). It’s all about the cattle, sheep, goats, and horses. I have about 25 Australian stockhorses that I breed & train for polocrosse. As I grew up polocrosse for me was always the main social and sporting activity in the area, and I still enjoy playing today.

How did you get into this line of work?
It was a classic friend of a friend connection. A good uni mate of mine knew one of the Climate Friendly team just as they were looking for staff out in the mulgalands. They asked if I knew anyone interested! We already had a carbon farming project on Wambin that had started, so I knew a little bit about the ins and outs. I was pretty luke-warm on the whole carbon farming thing. But after working for Climate Friendly I realised its potential for areas of land where you could make more per acre from carbon than from livestock. It really depends upon the land and the leaseholder and what is best for them – it’s about creating value both through grazing and carbon together.
If you weren’t answering these questions right now what would you rather be doing?
That’s easy! A water run checking on the livestock, enjoying their progress especially after widespread rains.
Playing polocrosse or training my horses. Catching up with friends & family over a beer & snitty at the Toompine Pub.

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