Nathan Steven's story - Elders Rural Services

Nathan Steven’s story

The Stevens have farmed pineapples in Yeppoon since the early 80s.

Col farmed several properties before settling Lake Mary Pines at Bungundarra, with his son Nathan taking over in recent years. Whilst Col is retired, he still helps most days. It’s a family affair.

The farm spans beautiful undulating landscape and grows delicious syrupy pineapples for canning and sweet, coconut-flavoured pineapples for the fresh market.

2019 has been tough, with little rainfall since ANZAC Day. The family is hoping for a proper wet season.  Up here, the weather has a mind of its own though, Yeppoon experiences floods, cyclones, frost, extreme heat and drought.

They’ve endured four cyclones since 2005, including the category five Cyclone Marcia in 2015. They rebuilt flattened sheds, recouped equipment, and replanted thousands of plants.

“We assessed the damage and got on with rebuilding and replanting,” Nathan said. Like all Yeppoon farmers, the Stevens are resilient.

Nathan employs 8-10 permanent staff, a number that increases substantially as they harvest their 1.5 million plants. Labour-intensive planting and harvesting has been considerably improved by advanced machinery and technology.

Nathan and Elders Branch Manager Lee Dendle have known each other for over 10 years.

“Elders provide us with fertiliser, equipment, anything we need,” Nathan said. “They are reliable, we ring and they bend over backwards to get us supplies… They look after us.”

Lee advises on products and farming practices utilising his extensive knowledge of different crops.

“That’s the benefit of having Lee Dendle on our side. It’s not just about a sale… Lee gets involved with what’s happening on farm,” Nathan said.

“It’s good to know that in dealing with Elders, I’m dealing with a business that supports Australian agriculture. We buy Australian, we support Australian.”




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