Set on the banks of the beautiful Splitters Creek is a working cattle farm and rescue animal sanctuary doing everything it can to look after the environment as much as it does the animals.
Splitters Farm, which looks after about 400 rescue animals, is proving how sustainably farming and tourism can be done. The goal? To be the largest tourism attraction that runs without a carbon footprint, possibly becoming carbon negative.
It was as much a philosophical and moral decision as it was a business one for owners Carly and Ashley Clark.
“Surrounding our property is 100 acres of bush land and kilometres of beautiful pristine, freshwater creek, so for us it was absolutely essential to protect our natural surrounds as much as the farm itself. Without our natural surrounds, we don’t have a destination,” Carly said.
This way of thinking has permeated every aspect of Splitters Farm, from large initiatives like solar electricity and recycled water to smaller changes like going paperless and having multiple bins available for cans, bottles, recycling and waste.
“Water is our most precious resource,” Carly said. “Our sewage is fully recycled. We’ve invested a lot of money so our waste water can be treated and pumped onto paddocks to irrigate the Rhodes grass that we grow for our animals.”
Ashley manages Bundaberg Solar and AC Electrical in his spare time, and has installed solar panels on all buildings. A solar shed to one day house batteries aims to take the farm ‘off the grid’ within the next five years.
They also run a “Scraps for Splitters” program to supplement animal feed. Cafes supply fruit pulp from juices, Kalki Moon supplies used botanicals, Ohana Cider House supplies crushed apples and strawberries. Unwanted sweet potatoes make their way from local farms to Splitters.
“Businesses and farmers kindly collect their seconds and by-products and store it while they wait for us to collect. This all takes more effort than just ploughing it back into the ground or throwing it in the bin,” Carly said.
“But it feels good knowing you’ve been able to use something someone else couldn’t.”