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  • The Belted Galloways are a rare and premium breed of cattle. (SBS)
There's a new approach to cattle farming, and Warialda Belted Galloways is pioneering the movement.
Source:
SBS Small Business Secrets
7 Feb - 3:56 PM  UPDATED 12 Feb - 9:41 AM

With many consumers becoming more conscious about where their food comes from, and whether it's ethically produced, being a part of the paddock-to-plate movement is a huge point of difference.

Victorian farmers Allen and Lizette Snaith are tackling food waste with a 'nose-to-tail' solution.

The couple has raised Belted Galloways for more than 30 years at their rural Victorian property, Warialda Belted Galloways.

Originating from Scotland, this breed of cattle is rare in Australia, with only around 3000 in the country.

“The added advantage of these is that they're unusual. So, straight away, it's specials-board appeal at a restaurant,” says Lizette Snaith.

Meat is the Snaith's business, but unlike many breeders, they're working towards a new approach to cattle farming.

Training up as butchers to supply their beef to friends and neighbours, it gave them a unique view of how much meat was wasted.

“The prime cuts make up about 15 per cent of the whole amount of meat, so that's a hell of a lot of other stuff that you've got to do something with,” says Lizette.

“You kill a whole animal, you can’t just use a little bit of it.”

After visiting a slow food market in Italy they devised a 'whole use' strategy. 

She says, “We developed a range of beef smallgoods, to try to use up everything. So anything that's left, like topside, we turn into biltong. We do pastrami [and] bresaola.”

Despite reducing their waste to around 15 per cent, Allan and Lizette can't compete with major supermarkets, but they argue higher prices reflects their quality.

Lizette says, “We're not cheap, but there's also this other theory, and that's a bit of a 'slow meat' theory, is that, you don't need 400grams of meat to yourself,” Lizette says.

“Eat less of it, but make sure you know what you're eating.”

The Snaiths aren’t just looking at creating food products – they have a range of bags and covers made from home-grown hides too.

“I call that 'nose to tail and beyond' because it's more than just the eating process, there is more to the animal than just the meat,” says Lizette.

Many customers are keen to benefit from their paddock-to-plate philosophy, but recent success follow a struggle to rebuild, after destructive bushfires swept through Victoria in 2009.

They lost buildings, equipment and fencing - in fact, everything except their mudbrick home, which they had painstakingly built by hand. Luckily, by opening farm gates they were able to save their herd of Belted Galloways.

“I try really hard to not say ‘before’ or ‘after’ the fire, but it’s in me now,” Lizette says as she holds back tears.

For the Snaiths, recovering from the fires was a long road back to prosperity.

However, they are now award-winning beef producers, finding new ways to breathe new life into their business by hosting large event dinners, and they even plan to open a bed and breakfast and restaurant on location.

Watch this story at the top of the page, or catch the full episode on SBS On Demand.