Every Family Needs A Farmer

Boots for Change Dinner

IMG_0156_2Helloooooooooo Everybody!

There is an update coming tomorrow about what we have been up to here at Fealy Family HQ over the last 8 or so months (eeeeek) since we last posted, but today I want to share a post that has been desperate to hit the blog for months now!

Here goes …………………………………….. Continue reading

Categories: Atherton Tablelands, Blue Sky Produce, Every Family Needs A Farmer | 2 Comments

Exciting News – A Nuffield Scholar in the house!



Nuffield Australia 2017 Scholarship winner


Matthew Fealy from Mareeba in Far North Queensland, receives a 2017 Nuffield Scholarship supported by Woolworths. He will investigate how the use of robotics in horticulture has the opportunity to revolutionise the industry.

Matthew has only recently made a career change into horticulture. He was a senior manager at a global travel agency for over a decade before taking on his current role as farm manager for a 153-acre family farm that produces mangoes, avocados and Tahitian limes for the Australian and export markets.

He believes that that the industry has significant labour costs and a dwindling labour supply, yet has little or no automation of repetitive tasks.

“Robotics, automation and mechanisation will not only alleviate the impending labour problem, it can also help improve profits and yield through better farm management practices,” he said.

“I see a (near) future where we can utilise advanced probes to facilitate precise fertilising and watering along with cutting-edge camera technology to assess tree health, crop and harvest forecasting, as well as maturity testing.”

As an active member of his local growers’ association, and a board member of the Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA), Matthew continues to demonstrate commitment to the success of horticulture in Australia into the future.

“I have four children who I want to be involved in an exciting, rewarding, profitable horticulture industry. If there is a way I can help the industry, it is very much in my best interests to make it happen.”

The awarding of this scholarship will enable him to attend Automatica – International Trade Fair for Automation and Mechatronics in Germany. Matthew will also visit farms using robotics in Israel, the Netherlands and Spain. Visits to the USA and Japan will also take place.

Location: Mareeba, Queensland
Mobile: 0402 412 471
Scholarship report:
Returning Scholar presentation:

Matthew Fealy is sponsored by:

Categories: Every Family Needs A Farmer, Nuffield Farming Scholarship | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

The Next ‘Steve Jobs’ Will Be A Farmer


This is an article I wrote for the Queensland Country Life “View From The Paddock” Segment

My view from the paddock hasn’t been mango trees recently, instead it has been city lights and busy streets as I have been fortunate enough to attend both the Nuffield Australia farming conference and the GrowAg summit over the last few weeks.

At the risk of sounding corny – my take home from my time away from the farm, is that it is an incredibly exciting time to be involved in Agriculture.

The global trends of a rural to urban migration wave, combined with a hungrier world, a wealthier world, choosy customers and transformative technology make for a ripe mix in the Agriculture arena.

Innovation is a real buzz word at the moment, but that is rightly so and the challenge for Agriculture is how be involved in this ‘knowledge revolution’.  65% of kids in school today will work in jobs in the future that currently don’t exist.  Rural communities need entrepreneurs who will combat the ‘brain drain’ and build global businesses from their bedrooms, creating jobs and boosting rural economies.  

Innovation is about putting ideas and knowledge to good use.

Worldwide, agricultural productivity growth is slowing – the key to making the most of future agriculture opportunities is efficiency in production.  For this to occur, we need new technology coupled with an innovative culture.  There is much passion, talent and ideas in agriculture but not enough commercialisation, patents or venture capital to bring these innovations to market. 

We need to build an eco-system that supports an entrepreneurial mindset in rural Australia.

However – we must not lose sight of the fact that before you can innovate, you must get the basics right.  Production (ground prep, weed control, livestock management, timing) and business fundamentals must come before value adding, there is no ‘magic tool’ for sustainable and profitable farming.  The drivers of production and productivity in farming won’t change but there is huge potential for productivity growth – driven by technology, precision agriculture and big data collection.

Xavier Rizos, from the Westpac Innovation Garage was a highlight from the GrowAg conference. Rizos said ‘the next Steve Jobs will be a farmer’, and explained to delegates that one of the biggest innovations Steve Jobs delivered was not the technology itself…it was providing the product at a price people could afford.

We need to look beyond our borders for innovation and inspiration in ag so as not to run the risk of re-inventing the wheel.  

Equally important is the fact that we will have to take our consumers on this agri innovation journey with us to ensure they are informed of the benefits of increased quality, less waste and enriched sustainability due to innovations in their food and fibre production.

During one of the breakout sessions at the GrowAg event, we were asked to visualize Australian Agriculture in 2026 as robust, innovative, successful, well funded, abundant, affordable, and healthy. We were then asked to figure out how, specifically, this future came to be.

My answer?  We, the farmers of today, must commit and get involved in our industries, we must collaborate, we must converse with our consumers and we must embrace being creative.

The farms of the future will be owned by the farmers who get it right today.


Categories: Blue Sky Produce, Every Family Needs A Farmer | 2 Comments

The Blogger Who Doesn’t Blog!

IMG_7943Hello everyone!  So, I’m feeling like a total fraud at the moment – doing lots of blogging stuff like taking on the volunteer role of ‘Country to Canberra Blogging Team Director’ which I’ve already told you about in this post, but there is not a lot of blogging going on here, on the actual “Are We There Yet?” blog!  Aaaaargh, I know, I know – I have to make time for the stuff that matters most – the important things – which this blog is – but there just seems to be sooooooo much important stuff going on in the Fealy Family these days.

Anyway – I thought an update post was loooooooong overdue, so time to fill you in on what’s been happening in the Fealy Family/Blue Sky Produce world. Continue reading

Categories: About Us, Blue Sky Produce, Every Family Needs A Farmer | 3 Comments

Country to Canberra

Just a short post today to share a little bit of exciting news!  I can officially announce that this year I am going to be working with the team at ‘Country to Canberra’ as their new Blogger Team Director – wahooo! This is a volunteer position, but I am thrilled to be working with the very inspiring Hannah Wandel (Hannah’s just a little bit of a super star!  She was on the Financial Review Westpac ‘100 Women of Influence’ list for 2015, she was also an ACT Young Woman of the Year 2015 finalist, a 2015 Layne Beachley Aim for the Stars Foundation Scholarship winner and a 2014 Great Ydeas winner), along with a team of talented teenage girl bloggers!

The mission of Country to Canberra is “To empower rural girls to reach their leadership potential”.  There is heaps more information on the Country to Canberra website but here’s a basic outline of what Country to Canberra is trying to do; Continue reading

Categories: About Us, Every Family Needs A Farmer | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Joel Salatin – FNQ Tour Wrap Up


Ok, so one of the post’s that is long, long overdue for sharing, is my wrap up of my experience of the Joel Salatin Far North QLD tour which was held in late February.  Joel is actually back in Australia this week to take part in a workshop around developing a fair and regenerative food system for Australia – you can find all the details for the event being run in Melbourne here.

As you know from my initial post about Joel Salatin – prior to his tour, I didn’t know much about him other than he had been touted around the media as ‘the world’s greatest farmer’.

Well, I sure know a whole lot more now after attending all three events that RegenAG organised for the Far North Queensland Agricultural/Food Community! Continue reading

Categories: Every Family Needs A Farmer | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Cyclone Marcia

The news has moved on to other things, but most people would have heard plenty about the damage caused by Cyclone Marcia last month, so for my Friday Farming post today I just wanted to share a little bit of the story of one farmer’s experience with the super storm.  For those that are in the areas around Rockhampton, the clean up from the cyclone is still happening, now 3 weeks later. Continue reading

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George the Farmer

Phew!  It’s been a busy week in the Fealy Family house as I spent two full days out listening to Joel Salatin talk at a couple of different events around Cairns & Mareeba.  A big thank you to both Grammy & Grandma for looking after Kipp for us with a day each of babysitting duty – we are very lucky!!  I’m feeling a bit knackered and my head is still spinning with all the information I’ve had to take in and thinking I’ve done over the last few days, so my wrap of of Joel Salatin’s visit will have to wait until next week’s Farming Friday.

Instead, today I thought I’d share the short little interview Matt did for ‘George the Farmer’ this week which was featured on his Facebook page. Continue reading

Categories: Every Family Needs A Farmer | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The Worlds Greatest Farmer – Joel Salatin

Welcome to Farming Friday on the Fealy Family blog!  I’m going to kick off the first of our farming posts this year by sharing some information about a tour happening next week, which I am a little bit excited about!

As most of you know, we are currently in our second year of our “Farm Apprenticeship” here at Blue Sky Produce.  We have learnt a lot in twelve months, probably the most of which is that there is still a lot we don’t know!  The nature of farming is very hands on, with little time to get away from ‘the tools’ but we are very conscious of the fact, that to be the best farmers we can be, we need to be open-minded and take up as many opportunities as we can to learn as much as we can about farming and the issues facing the wider agricultural industry.  So, when we saw the advertisement for the Joel Salatin Tour organised by local community based, family business RegenAg, we knew we had to make an effort to try to get along to some of the events being offered. Continue reading

Categories: About Us, Atherton Tablelands, Blue Sky Produce, Every Family Needs A Farmer, Tropical North Queensland | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Helicopter Muster


Not the weekend just gone, but the one before that – we were lucky enough to be able to sneak away from the farm and go up to Matt’s uncle’s cattle station, Ben Avon, for the weekend.  We were even luckier that this weekend happened to be a scheduled helicopter muster.  I spent Friday doing some baking for the weekend as there were going to be a few of us up there and morning smoko and afternoon tea is always a requirement at Ben Avon!  As soon as the kids hopped off the bus on Friday afternoon we packed everything, plus the dog into the car and headed off for the two hour drive.  It’s a pretty drive so no-one was complaining! Continue reading

Categories: About Us, Every Family Needs A Farmer, Tropical North Queensland | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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