Through a tough drought, Alex and Michael Hicks not only kept growing their free-range pig-farming enterprise, but regenerated their landscape and themselves, and won a 2020 NSW Delicious award.

Story + Photos Ken Eastwood

It isn’t just the free-range Berkshire pigs that are enjoying stress-free lives on Michael and Alex Hicks’ farm near Dubbo, NSW. From the moment they started farming pigs in 2012, developing Extraordinary Pork into the business it is today, the couple made business decisions to ensure that their own lives were as stress-free as possible.

“Before we started, we visited lots and lots of pig farms, and when we looked back, so many of those relationships had split because pigs are so intense,” Michael says. “Thirty pigs can produce up to 600 piglets a year and we said at the start our relationship is more important.”

After undertaking holistic farm management training, Alex and Michael developed three business pillars that are the bedrock for everything they do. “The first is animal welfare, providing the best quality animal care we can,” Michael says. “The second is regenerating our landscape, making it more stable in all conditions and more diverse, and the third is keeping us in a good state as well. So, for example, I try to maintain reasonable hours – I start at 8am and finish at 6pm.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #134

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2021