In Your Corner: John and Vicki Howard's story - Elders Rural Services

In Your Corner: John and Vicki Howard’s story

John and Vicki Howard have their roots firmly entrenched on the land in the

community of Biloela in Central Queensland.  As a third generation farmer, John’s family originally hailed from Richmond, in the North West, before moving to Biloela in 1960.

John says it’s thanks to his grandfather and father, that he and his family are working the land they run today. “It’s in our blood” he says.

As a custodian of his land and in keeping with family tradition, John sees himself as a caretaker, not a property owner. He believes it is imperative to nurture and take care of the land so he can hand it on to the generations to come.

John predominantly manages Santa Gertrudis livestock, which are a tropical all-round breed with a great temperament well suited to the region’s climate.  They also house a collection of pets including his trusted dog and his prized horses.

With weather playing a major role in farming longevity, John believes technology will continue to play a vital role in farming’s future success.  John uses water monitors on tanks to update him daily via mobile and plans to use drones to check his cattle, land and water catchments.

He uses the Elders weather app daily to track weather patterns and says, “99 per cent of our business comes from the sky and the other one per cent comes from our good management. Technology allows us to be proactive and plan ahead for that 99 per cent.”

As a solely cattle farming operation, John aims for the boutique European and US markets, producing excellent quality free range, grass fed cattle for the top end market.  To do this, nutrition and animal welfare are key to his success.  He works together with Elders to do this.

He says his family have been loyal to Elders for as long as he can remember. “We’ve never wavered, it’s always been Elders. The people at Elders are a friendly bunch who will go out of their way to help you”

For John, Elders’ Biloela Branch Manager Randall Spann is not just a work associate but a family friend who is a big part of the community.  John says, “Randall and his team at Elders have always got our back. They are always thinking ahead for seasonal planning to ensure they have the right products we need when we need them”.

John is the chief steward at the local Show in Biloela and says without the tremendous support from Randall and the team at Elders, this event in the trade cattle section, wouldn’t be the success it is.

“We’re all a part of the community and Elders is a key part of that,” John says.

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