Ownership: Hewitt Cattle’s purchase of Narwietooma creates one of the largest biological aggregations in the world
HEWITT Cattle Australia has purchased a large certified organic beef business centered around Narwietooma Station north of Alice Springs, creating one of the largest organic beef aggregations in the world.
The Narwietooma aggregation also includes the neighboring properties of Glen Helen, Derwent and Napperby, and totals approximately 11,200 km2.
“We are delighted to add Narwietooma Aggregation to HCA’s existing property portfolio in Alice Springs, which currently includes Ambalindum and Numery Stations further east,” said HCA’s Chief Operating Officer, Ben Hewitt, in a statement.
“We continue to be confident in the strategic value of building production capacity in Central Australia.
“Regarded as one of the largest certified organic contiguous parcels in the world, this is a large and unique estate located in an area perfectly suited to the production of organic beef. Central Australian cattle require minimal inputs and have large areas of natural pasture to graze, meaning the organic segment is well suited to the region’s production methods,” he said.
The addition of new certified biological capacity also reflects HCA’s confidence in its future growth, Mr. Hewitt said.
“Our business is rapidly moving towards a fully integrated supply chain model. We have an excellent network of grower partners who are essential to our business, but to achieve our growth ambitions we need to increase our own organic production capacity in partnership with these growers.
“The acquisition of Narwietooma aggregation, along with several other exciting supply chain initiatives currently underway, will support greater continuity for our global customers and, in turn, support the growth and future opportunities of our supplier network,” said Hewitt.
HCA’s Narwietooma aggregation has a conservative estimated carrying capacity of 35,000 head. The combination of size and diversity of land types has enabled the full range of production activities, made possible by the high level of improvements across all of the group’s properties.
“The previous owners have been excellent stewards; HCA is very fortunate to acquire properties in such good condition. We really appreciate their efforts, and it gives us every opportunity to succeed in the future,” Mr. Hewitt said.
- In 2017, Hewitt Cattle Australia made a strategic investment in certified organic supply chain, Arcadian Organic, based in Toowoomba, considered the largest producer of certified organic beef in the country.
QLD’s northern grazing property to become state’s newest national park
Meanwhile, a North Queensland grazing property has been purchased by conservation interests to become the state’s newest national park.
The 35,300ha grazing property known as The Lakes, north of Hughenden, was described in a Queensland Government statement as a “multi-million dollar purchase, which would increase the estate of the protected area of the Queensland”.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said it was the biggest acquisition ever under Queensland’s Protected Areas Strategy 2020-2030, a major plan to support growth and management of national parks and other protected areas.
“This purchase will ensure the future preservation of valuable, undisturbed ecosystems and habitats that will be connected to an existing network of protected areas in the region,” the minister said.
Ms Scanlon said the purchase price was of commercial confidence, but thanks to the work of The Nature Conservancy Australia, the Queensland Government received financial support to secure the land.
The Department of the Environment was first approached by The Nature Conservancy offering a joint acquisition of a protected area with the Wyss Foundation (a private US charitable foundation) in late 2019, Minister Scanlon said. The Wyss Foundation has committed up to $1.829 million for the purchase.
The lakes straddle the Great Dividing Range and are found in the Einasleigh Highlands and Gulf Plains bioregions.
“These regions have unique high altitude plains, woodlands, escarpments, streams and lakes that support a wide range of important flora and fauna,” said Minister Scanlon.
The acquisition would also protect the headwaters of the South Gregory River which feeds into the Great Barrier Reef watershed.
As part of the process to dedicate the land as a protected area, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service will engage with the Gudjala First Nations people and seek to provide opportunities for participation in land conservation and management indigenous cultural heritage, according to the government press release.
“As the property transitions into a national park, we will also explore ways to make it accessible to visitors who will certainly want to experience the incredible lakes, birdlife and walks for themselves,” she said.
The Palaszczuk government is investing $28 million over four years for the expansion of public protected areas with more than 14 million hectares of the state now protected in some way.
“Careful negotiations are currently underway on additional high-quality properties as I am committed to increasing our protected areas to provide a world-class protected area system for our state,” the minister said.