The husband and wife team behind Freckle Farm
Rob Bauman and Deb McLucas have a lifetime of experience in agriculture as fourth generation farmers. After his ‘childhood apprenticeship’, Rob spent 20 years running the family’s Central Queensland cattle and grain business with his brother. They ran a conventional farming operation and were devastated when Rob’s father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease while still in his fifties. His Dad had used arsenic and other extremely toxic chemicals without protection as a boy, and this was identified as a contributing factor to his condition. For Rob, this was a turning point in recognising the dangers of chemical farming.
Around this time, Deb was working as a jillaroo in Queensland and the Northern Territory after finishing her ‘on-farm apprenticeship’ at the family farm in Southern Queensland. She then completed a journalism degree and worked as a rural reporter and broadcaster for ABC Radio. In her job, Deb learnt about the philosophy of holistic farm management and became aware of the financial and environmental limitations of conventional farming.
When Rob and Deb met they immediately recognised that they shared a common view for the future of agriculture and have been working to create their vision ever since. In 2008, Rob and Deb purchased the property at Brightly near Eton, which is now the Freckle Farm home base. They spent the next two years restructuring their business to enable them to focus on developing the new farming concept and in 2010 – Freckle Farm was born.
Despite his stature, Rob is the brawn of the business and manages the day to day operations on Freckle Farm. He has an aversion to office work and loves nothing better than to be outside with the animals or building some new piece of farm infrastructure. Rob has a knack for creating useful farm equipment from recycled materials and will happily talk about this and other topics with visitors for hours. He has taken on the challenge of learning new farming skills and also copes well with his role as tour leader on the popular farm tours.
Deb loves the outside work too, but these days she spends most of her time managing the growing business in the farm office and their retail butcher shop in Mackay. She is passionate about sharing what they are learning and has drawn on all of her communication skills to create strong links between Freckle Farm and the local community. Deb has a work ethic that sometimes frustrates her more relaxed husband and she is always dreaming big and thrives on a new challenge. Deb manages sales and logistics and is also developing new skills in building websites and managing social media.
It’s no wonder that together, Rob and Deb are at the leading edge of regenerative agriculture in this country.