ETHICAL, environmentally friendly production is the focus for Good Life Beef near Armidale, which is delivering boxed beef with a difference.
Lucy Frizell and Chris Heywood established the business about a year ago.
Good Life Beef delivers beef boxes ranging from 10 kilograms to an 80kg side of beef or 160kg whole body, with each delivery including between seven and 15 different cuts.
"I want really good quality meat to be available to anybody who wants it," Lucy said.
"We have a range of clients, from their early twenties to eighties, from tradies to university lecturers.
"People have really enjoyed it, they've commented that it's great value for money, and they like seeing what we do with our animals.
"We personally deliver our meat so the customer gets to meet the farmer with deliveries and we share our farm on social media."
The plan was hatched in the middle of the drought.
"We saw how animal welfare issues were compounded by the drought which affected the productivity on the farm," Lucy said.
"Because we had a small herd we were still able to feed them and give them the supplements they needed.
"Our whole ethos is based on, 'the happier the animal, the better the meat', and that seems to be pretty well proven."
Good Life Beef is also looking to improve environmental outcomes, by planting trees and using completely compostable packaging.
"Meat is one of the things that's very difficult to buy without the use of plastic, and this is more expensive than using plastic, but our customers want it," Lucy said.
"In early spring of this year we'll start planting a tree for every animal that we process.
"It's still not a neutral carbon footprint, but we're trying to do something to minimise our impact."
Orders can be made anytime through the website, but deliveries are made every two months.
"One of the biggest contributors to the large carbon footprint of cattle is transport so to reduce it we'd rather not process one a week, and instead do five or six every second month," Lucy said.
Shift in on-farm practices essential
MANAGING animal welfare on-farm is the easiest area to control, but it does require a shift from traditional husbandry practices.
The couple currently has 30 breeders, calving twice a year, and they focus on preventative health measures.
Lucy and Chris check all animals daily, they have minimal use of antibiotics, use low-stress stock handling techniques and they use polled genetics to avoid dehorning anf animal welfare risks associated with horned animals.
"Preventative measures are worthwhile," Lucy said.
"We're never going in the paddock and just driving around and leaving. We always get out and walk around the cows, which takes more time but when it comes to mustering and handling the animals, they know us.
"We yard wean and use magnesium supplements to calm the calves, and we also make sure the calves are far apart from the mother, on a different property, so they can't hear each other.
"We also do vaccinations and drenches before weaning, because it's a lot of stress on the animal to do all of that on one day."