Young Farmer Profile: Meet Henry Nash

Henry Nash is on a family farm in Forbes. Together with his brother Will and his dad David, Tim Flynn from our Young Farmer Business Program team caught up with him last week when he was on the road.

The Nash’s crop around 3300 acres across two properties near Forbes and they also lease a further 3000 acres between Forbes and Condobolin. Henry has been back on the family farm since 2016 after studying at the University of New England in Armidale for a few years.

When Henry first moved home, there wasn’t quite enough work to justify a job full time on the farm, so Henry got a loan from the bank to buy a tractor and cut a deal with his Dad. His Dad can use the tractor whenever he likes and Henry can use his dad’s implements to do some contracting work. Henry reckons it’s not something that he wants to do long term but when he first moved home it really justified his position on the farm.

After a few successful years in the contracting business, Henry was able to save a deposit to buy a house in town (as well as a V8 Landcruiser), but things have really slowed down with the current drought. On reflection, Henry acknowledges a need to be careful risk wise. “When things were good I was knocking back a lot of work because I couldn’t do things at home as well as contracting, I was thinking heck yeah this is easy, but certainly now things are different”

Henry is staying positive though, “Would I be more cautious next time around? Probably not, it’s just going to be a very tight 12 months until things get good again, a few less nights at the pub than I would like, a bit less free cash”

According to Henry, one of the biggest challenges is staying motivated “On Monday morning we get to work have a meeting and write down on the whiteboard what we would like to get done for the week, and for the last few months we look at each other and think well what are we going to do this week, all the jobs we would usually do, all the maintenance jobs, all the wet day jobs, they are already done, there is nothing going on cropping wise, there is no spraying to do.”

On the bright side, the drought has been a good learning experience on moisture retention they have decided to move to a full minimum-till cropping system and chemical fallow. In a dry 2018, their minimum-till country averaged a tonne to the hectare and the conventional country was a complete failure, according to Henry, “It just shows the importance of cover on the ground,  it’s essential to retain a bit of moisture, it is just paramount, without it you know, you have no hope.”

Henry’s biggest tip for other young farmers is, “Don’t think you know everything!” On reflection, Henry thinks it is something he has been guilty of before. He believes it is really important to surround yourself with people of differing opinions, you don’t have to adopt everything you hear, but at least be willing to consider different views.

Henry also learned the importance of insurance after unfortunately having two tractors catch on fire in the space of a month. The first one was his Dad’s tractor, and the second was his, he can laugh about it now, but he is very glad he had insurance!