Luke Evans, joint winner of the 2019 award has the job of running of Rockhampton Downs cattle station, a 450,000 hectare property in Australia’s Northern Territory. He’s involved in land development, including significant irrigation and solar projects on the property, and general station duties. His aim is to achieve this as efficiently and effectively as he can, and has his sights set on further progressing his agricultural career in this line of work.
For seven years, Luke has been at the helm of Rockhampton Downs, running about 20,000 to 25,000 Brahman females, breeding predominantly for the export market. Luke not only runs the significant operation, but also mentors' youth, and provides on-the-job training and employment opportunities at the property.
Luke is hard working and down-to-earth, with a philosophy around rolling up his sleeves and getting on with it, and he expects the same from his team. As he sees it, he wouldn’t expect others to do what he doesn’t to himself, and leads from the front.
When asked about what he loves most about farming, he says “What’s not to love? Working outside with animals, doing different stuff every day, and then there’s all the machinery, like dozers, helicopters, and planes. In comparison, doing anything else would be pretty boring really.”
Outside of work, camp drafting and other related horse sports are a real passion, as is spending time with his partner Emma - a primary school teacher at an aboriginal community located on the station - and young son Riley, who is already showing strong signs of following in his father’s footsteps.
Luke was at a crossroads in his career when he won the Zanda Award, but he says the connections he's making through the award are propelling his knowledge forward years in advance.
For his mentoring trip, Luke is looking forward to seeing the distinct differences between Australian and New Zealand farming, particularly intensive farming operations in New Zealand, and how every aspect of production can be measured.