Since returning to the Junee district in 2021, George Main and his partner Sean Kerins have worked to give back to the community that they call home.
Working out of a farm owned by George’s family, the pair have started a local business providing high quality pastured eggs for the people of the Riverina.
George and Sean had been working in Canberra for many years before deciding to make a switch.
“I’d had enough of my job,” George said.
“I did some research and planning into starting a pastured egg business during my last months in Canberra, and completed a Charles Sturt University online program for start up businesses, where I got some mentoring by regional entrepreneurs.”
George and Sean settled into farm life at the end of 2021 with hopes of having their pastured egg business up and running by mid-2022.
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19-related delays, the opening of Junee Pastured Eggs was delayed.
“We had two flat pack chicken caravans stuck in the Shanghai port for months,” George said.
“We then had heavy flooding so we couldn’t get equipment delivered onto the property, so we lost a few more months, but after all of that, we were able to get going and start selling eggs early this year.”
Junee Pastured Eggs is managed on regenerative principles.
The hens scratch around, turning and aerating the soil, burying leaves and other organic matter, and in the process building carbon rich soils that capture and hold more rainfall.
Once a week the hens are relocated with their caravans and livestock guardian dogs onto fresh pasture, which allows for the grazed areas to regrow.
This pattern of swift disturbance followed by long rest periods builds carbon rich, biologically active soils and promotes the growth of a diverse range of pasture species and other plants.
According to their website, the hens lay eggs, and roost each night, inside specially designed caravans. The hen’s droppings stimulate soil biology and fertilise the farm’s pastures.
George said it was important for the local community to receive the best quality product that they could supply.
“Pastured eggs are even better than free-range eggs,” he said.
“It’s better for the hens, and better for the consumer, to have the hens moving onto fresh pasture consistently.
“Our pastures are biologically diverse, so our hens are getting a diverse, healthy diet as they move each week onto a fresh patch of pasture, and they’re also getting access to a fresh batch of worms and bugs. And, this method produces eggs that are full of vitamins and that taste fantastic.”
George said a big motivation for the way they farm is climate change.
“Regenerative farming is about more than producing top-quality food,” George said.
“It’s about trying to help turn around a pretty dire situation by using grazing methods that foster biodiversity and draw carbon out of the atmosphere to build carbon rich soils that are more resilient to weather extremes.”
George and Sean have received a lot of support for their new venture, particularly from the Junee community.
“Everyone has been very enthusiastic,” George said.
“We aren’t interested in selling eggs outside the local region. For us, it’s about saying that the place where we live matters, the people here matter, let’s do good things with the resources we have and supply top quality, fresh eggs to our local community.”
Junee Pastured Eggs can be purchased at these locations; IGA Junee, IGA Cootamundra, IGA Wagga, The Wholesome Den, Stockinpiggle, and Riverina Producers’ Market.