Jason Bates, Stockinbingle NSW
Free Range Pasture Fed Pork Farmer
Jason, Samantha and Hugo Bates from Stockinpiggle have been supplying us with ethically raised, heritage breed pork for most of this year. When Jason called us to see if we were interested in selling his product, we could hear the passion and enthusiasm in his voice and just knew it was the right fit for our brand.
Jason grew up at Forresters Beach on the Central Coast, and has had pigs since he was 18. He picked up a pigglet one day and brought it home to his Mum and Dad's house, and that's how his passion for farming pigs started. Straight out of school Jason attended agricultural college with his first job being in the Hunter Valley on a cattle farm. He then headed into the Riverina where he spent 10 years gaining experience on sheep and chicken farms. “Samantha and I had been together a few years and decided we wanted to find a farm of our own. I always wanted to be a pig farmer, so it was about finding the right location and property."
To find the right farm for their pigs, Jason did the hard yards. He knocked on every farm door from 2 hours north of Wagga Wagga to 2 hours south checking to see if any farmers were willing to sell him a small block of land. They eventually found the right property at Stockinbingle about 20 minutes from Cootamundara and 1 hour from Wagga Wagga.
“It was a hobby farm and we literally built everything ourselves. All the fences, sheds and farm house.”
"I love what I do. I never thought I'd be farming my own place, but we got smart with our savings and a little bit of help with the planning and here we are!”
'Stockinpiggle' is the only Free Range Pork farm in the area. Jason knew they wanted to regeneratively farm free range pigs, but local advice was hard to come by from the older generation of farmers. In their mind, growing 'weeds' to feed your pigs seemed absurd. But after lots of reading, research and seeking advice further afield, Stockinpiggle now operates as a truly regenerative pig farm.
“In the Riverina, we experience both cold winters and hot summers and our rain comes mainly from the south during the colder months. We plant whilst the soil is still warm in early Winter to make the most of the rain and if we get the opportunity in Spring we plant more pasture after rain. We always plant a mixture of grasses, herbs and legumes and the pigs especially love sunflowers and radishes. After being on the farm for a few years now, we have a better understanding of the climate and try to keep grass growing all year round if the weather permits. This way we can move the animals regularly to look after the soil and the pigs. We also have some cattle, sheep and chickens to help with herd diversity. Introducing a variety of grasses and short grazing with long rest periods we are allowing our soils to sequester more carbon each year. Along with this benefit the pigs are healthy due to the diversity of pastures, clean water and wallows." Jason is also passionate about breeding and the different blood lines of his pigs. He uses an Australian developed software to keep track of all the lineages. Jason has bought the best Hampshire and Berkshire blood lines from all over Australia