A Jolly Big Garden
Megan Kuhn lives on the south west corner of the highly fertile Liverpool Plains with her husband Martin and son Marcus. They run Angus Beef cattle and Konsortium merino sheep on their 3200 acre property, "It’s a jolly big garden to look after."
"I remember riding with Martin, mustering and just looking out and going ‘oh my god, this place is just magical’.
"You can see for miles. We can see Mulalley Mountain which is about 60 kilometres away, and then we could also see Mt Kaputar, on a good day, from the hills," said Megan recalling her move to the property about 16 years ago, after having worked elsewhere in the region.
The Konsortium merino sheep at Megan's place have been bred specifically to produce not only fine merino wool but also have a large carcass for meat production.
"We have spent years working towards an ethically-managed animal that does not require mulesing and is resistant to fly strike due to their plain skins, as opposed to the traditional wrinkly skin sheep."
The sheep enterprise of the family-run business provides enough wool to make 3600 fine wool suits and around 200,000 lamb dinners.
Megan is also a mum. "Once Marcus was born we moved into biodynamics because we really wanted to try and reduce the chemical input and usage on our place, to get a toxic free environment for his upbringing."
"Not only for his growth, but to repair his body. With his cerebral palsy it’s really important that a little body is nurtured."
The region where Megan and her family farm is covered in coal seam gas exploration licences. Farmers like Megan and her neighbours are concerned about the risks associated with coal seam gas including potential depletion and pollution of aquifers.
Megan admits that working to protect her region from coal and gas is a handful, especially on top of her commitments as a mother and a grazier.
"There's a certain challenge to it and you know, I’m not trying to win the next quiz show or something. This is life, and it’s not what I asked for, I'll be honest.
"There are days where you just go, how am I going to get to the end of the day?
"I do not want to sit at the table, in 10 or 15 years time and talk to my son, and my nieces and nephews and say, 'I knew this was going on and I did nothing.'"
It's the people from across the north west that keep Megan going.
"To meet such salt of the earth people I've now connected with, that feel so connected to their place.
"We're not going to give in. This is so important to us because we live here everyday. You see life, you see it happen around you, and you know that it is this really fine balance. You teeter with it a little bit and you see a consequence when we're working with the land.
"What happens when you go against it to the degree they're talking, what are the consequences going to be?
"I'm just not prepared to sit back and say that it is worth taking that risk."