By ROGER DESAILLY
If SIR Sydney Kidman, the undisputed Cattle King of Australia was alive today, I am sure he would be greatly impressed with what Paul Martin, the new Camel King of Australia has managed to achieve so far on his 850-acre Summer Land Camel Farm at Harrisville, 45 minutes west of Brisbane and in the middle of the Scenic Rim region.
Summer Land Camel Farm can rightly claim to be the largest working camel farm in the southern hemisphere and the third largest in the world. It’s Australia’s largest commercial camel dairy and the worlds largest camel training facility.
With its innovative and diverse camel breeding and training programs, farm tours, camel ride experiences, regenerative farming practices, camel milk, dairy and cheese production on site, camel meat processing, skin care and vodka products, homestead café, functions and event operations, it has a growing reputation as one of the key drivers of local, regional, interstate and international visitation to south east Queensland.
Upon leaving school and embarking on the well-trodden path to becoming a central Queensland cattleman, little did Martin, CEO and founder of Summer Land Camel Farm, imagine the long and winding road that would take him to be crowned in 2022 the Camel King of
With a strong family background in beef cattle production Martin, who still operates a commercial cattle operation as part of a diverse agribusiness portfolio, has been at the forefront of the new breed of agri-entrepreneur who has seen and seized opportunities in non-traditional agriculture and related sectors.
Taking a calculated risk, investing in bold new enterprises, dipping deep into his well of resilience, riding a steep learning curve and always keeping an open and curious mind is beginning to reap both commercial and personal rewards for this cattle come camel farmer.
Speaking to Martin at the recent Buy from the Bush Festival, held for the second year running at his Summer Land Camel Farm as part of a rural and regional Queensland promotional partnership with Kerri Brennan, founder of the Queensland Buy from the Bush campaign, his obvious passion for what he is doing and his entrepreneurial mindset is what one can very easily imagine a young Sydney Kidman and RM Williams had in spades.
Plans are underway for an expansion of the camel meat processing and retail sales business including a possible export focus, the camel milk and honey vodka distilling business, the camel milk and cheese production business including entering the powdered baby milk formula production and export market, and growing the camel skin care and cosmetics brands and product lines.
Alongside these core business expansion ambitions, Martin also sees an opportunity to become much more involved in the hosting and marketing of rural and regional friendly food events, festivals and markets such as the Buy from the Bush Festival and the Scenic Rim’s Eat Local and Winter Harvest Festival and become a hub for collaboration and innovation in the region.
On the drawing boards are also the early sketch plans for new agri-tourism, on farm accommodation and agri-education and training “smart farm” initiatives.
These are also passions of Paul and his family, all of whom work on the farm in some capacity and who share his passion and drive to showcase and promote the benefits of a life on the land, the importance of looking after the land and supporting those who choose to make it their home and produce our food.
In order to fund these expansion and growth plans, Paul is eying off both a crowd funding and equity partnership capital raising strategy to take the business to the next level.
All going well, when the recently crowned King Charles the 3rd next visits Australia, a visit to Paul the 1st, the Camel King of Australia and his Summer Land Camel Farm must surely be on his itinerary.