EMBRACING native vegetation has not only benefited the Sippel family's pasture but has also opened up new marketing opportunities for their livestock.
The native species Old Man Saltbush grows freely across the state's Central West and despite many producers seeing it as a problem weed, Andrew Sippel saw its potential as sheep feed.
In 1987 Mr Sippel planted Old Man Saltbush on the family's Narromine property, based on his experience as a regenerative officer for Yates, and watched the plant take hold.
Since then, Mr Sippel, along with his son Ben, has inspired countless other producers to plant Old Man Saltbush on their properties and reap the benefits it offers in regards to water retention, assisting with top-soil cover, as well as a feed source with each plant providing one sheep with two days of feed.
Now carrying on with what his father started, Ben Sippel said the decision to embrace the plant in the mid 1980s was paying dividends for their operation.
"We've been involved with the regenerative stuff pretty much since the get go and I think it's really interesting to see how consumer trends have changed over the years," Mr Sippel said.
"Once, consumers weren't too concerned with how the meat they were buying was raised, but now, I think people are a bit more prepared to pay some sort of premium for products they know are farmed in a regenerative way."
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It's with this philosophy in mind that the Sippel's own line of Drover's Choice Saltbush Lamb has taken hold in the state's meat markets since its inception in 1998.
"I think people are genuinely interested in the points of difference between products," Mr Sippel said.
"If they know a product has something different about it, they will be more inclined to give it a go and it allows you as a producer to market your products differently as well.
"It really is a bit of a win-win when you consider the benefits the plant we are feeding to our herd of Dorpers is also offering our pastures.
"One of the big knocks planting native plants has is producers saying that they can't afford to lock up their land with it, but to my mind, I think you can't afford not to."
The state's recent drought was key in helping Mr Sippel understand his family was "on the right track".
"It was so tough for everyone, pretty much right across the state, but particularly here around Narromine," he said.
"However, by having the Oldman Saltbush in the ground allowed us to have a pretty constant feed source for our lambs, have a way of maintaining our top soil and retain more sub-soil moisture than we would have without it.
"I always knew it was a real winner, but the way it performed during the drought, really sold me that it was the best way to go."
Mr Sippel said he was confident more producers would take on a regenerative approach to help market their products as well as boost their operations.
"More people want to know where their food is coming from while also wanting it to be sustainable," he said.
"It is a premium product and by selling it at a value-added price we can help get better returns for farmers whilst improving water efficiencies.
"Our goal for us, and we think more people will take it on too, is to sustainably improve our ecological base on-farm with a positive economic effect".
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