The Organic Chooks of Inglewood

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

‘We never imagined we would be chicken farmers!’

“There are always challenges in business and if you don’t have challenges, I would like to meet you.”

“Dear Jesus, please keep the chickens alive until we can kill them.”

Meet the Hobbs family

Country Queensland is where you’ll find Inglewood farms, an organic chicken operation owned and managed by Adrian and Katrina Hobbs.

When the business was placed in receivership by its previous owner, Adrian and his wife Katrina were well aware of the benefits to purchasing the farm, especially as they were its biggest customer with their feed mill business.

We’ve got an organic feed mill so it was the natural thing for us to buy it and we felt very much led by the Lord to do that.

Aside from that it’s proven to be good for business with the chickens coming home to roost, so to speak.

“It’s profitable with a great ability to employ many people in a very small town where there’s not much employment,” Adrian reported with Katrina saying the farm came completely out of ‘left field.’

“We had no ten-year plan for a chicken farm. We were in horticulture and the stock feed milling with no plan to go into chickens.”

Impact of the farm’s closure avoided

The Hobbs chicken farm purchase also appears to have been a lifesaver for the Inglewood community.

Inglewood Qld

As the township’s major employer there were fears if the organic farm had gone under the school would likely close along with other negative outcomes.

“Possibly the hospital would lose staff and some of the stores in town would no longer be sustainable because there wasn’t that income coming into the families that live in Inglewood,” Andrew reported.

‘Our Inglewood family’

The farm is staffed by locals and visitors, in particular the backpacker variety.

We also have some working holiday visa holders,” said Katrina. “There’s lots of manual labouring but there’s a limited pool of labourers available being such a small town.

“We just employ whoever is genuinely looking for a job and we like to call it our Inglewood family and they become part of the family story,” said Katrina who stressed how it’s been a key to their success.

The next generation

Adrian said he turns 40 this year and that raised the question as to whether or not the farm will eventually be passed on to the next generation.

In fact, Katrina has been working ahead with a plan that factors this in.

For a better perspective on how family-driven the business is, Adrian admitted there was a very good reason Katrina be given this task.

The anointing was on her for business. Her brother is more into sales and marketing and her other brother-in-laws are also involved and they’re in other areas.

“Katrina’s husband happens to be quite magnificently talented when it comes to machinery.”

‘The secret to our story’

But whilst there may be an anointing upon Katrina’s business attributes, it hasn’t come without a healthy portion of humility.

“The thing that comes with this is there’s nothing in yourself that makes you that,” Katrina remarked.

That’s been the secret to our story – finding God’s purpose and plan for us has brought us the success.

Katrina’s testimony so far has all the appearances of the ideal success story. She and her husband Adrian have been living the dream.

But has that really been the day to day reality? Have there been seasons of struggle? Has there been a darker side to this parody of ‘The Good Life’ lifestyle?

The best business partner? ‘Jesus’

“Oh yeah! I think probably every day!” confessed Katrina.

“There are always challenges in business and if you don’t have challenges, I would like to meet you.”

Katrina still had a few more challenge words to put into her sentences.

It’s a challenging place, it’s a challenging space, but I have found that the best business partner of all is Jesus Christ.

Katrina went as far as saying she would have destroyed herself by now had she been in the world of business without Christ.

“I’m a bit of a workaholic, potentially my dad is too, but the balance comes from my relationship with the Lord.”

The family dynasty

As for the future generation and what that may mean for the business, Katrina rolled out some more big numbers. Purely business of course.

“I have five kids so I needed to ensure we had a secure workforce of course,” she said tongue in cheek, before opening the family dynasty quiver even wider.

“And I’ve some nieces and nephews who have some interest in agriculture as well, so I’m watching this space very carefully.”

It’s Adrian and Katrina’s practice to involve the children in the workings of the business, especially when on holiday.

We’ve had them at nights catching chickens and just doing things because they’re part of it.

Katrina has realised a need for the children to understand what it’s like being a working mum.

“Children need to understand the journey and the pressures otherwise they feel they lose out.”

The chicken prayer

There was a prayer that proved effective when the family had been coping with the business duties through a period of excessive hot weather.

The chickens were dying because of the heat and this little one, he’s only seven and he was praying very earnestly at the dinner table.

“Dear Jesus, please keep the chickens alive until we can kill them,” was the young boy’s plea.

“There’s absolutely no secret to the children, even about the life cycle. This is God’s plan. He’s given us the call to take dominion so we don’t shy away.”

Katrina did say they’re called to take care of the animals and do it well, which is where the organic side of the business kicks in.

Giving back to God

“We’re certified organic. We believe this is really in line with the way God would want us to look after our farm and our animals.”

Katrina and Adrian Hobbs

God has purposed the life cycle. ‘Dwell in the land, cultivate faithfulness.’

And that’s what the Hobbs family has done for the past 35 years. The call to success has been their story that’s led to a story with chapters of repeat giving and giving and giving.

We’ve always had a heart to release finances into the work of the Lord.

Adrian also knows what it’s like to keep giving through leaner times.

“Eventually the Lord took us on a journey where we started to release even before we were profitable and the more we released the more God prospered us.”

Adrian was describing what he said has not just been an incredible journey, but a supernatural journey.

The Supernatural 

One supernatural occasion occurred when their horticultural business was providing a special offer to the supermarkets who were applying pressure for the Hobbs to deliver or else.

“They said if you don’t supply you’re going to lose your contract,” Adrian testified.

So he thought he’d better check up on the fruit growing in the greenhouses. No fruit! The fruit was not there for the next day.

I cried out to God and I didn’t know what to do with fear and trembling, but the next day we had an amazing pick.

“We supplied in full and had abundance past that!” Adrian declared, repeating the crop wasn’t there the previous day.

“Sometimes amazing things happen of God’s provision.”

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Footnote

Inglewood Organic is Australia’s leading producer of Organic Free-Range chicken. We are dedicated to rearing premium quality chicken using strict Certified Organic farming methods. Whether you’re cooking for health or eating for pleasure, our birds are better for you. The taste and texture is superior, the meat lean and succulent. Our birds are able to forage freely on dedicated grass forage areas, living as nature intended with fresh air and sunshine.

The farm is located near Inglewood on the southern edge of the Darling Downs between Warwick and Goondiwindi. The region is supported by the expansive Coolmunda Dam and winding Macintyre Brook which attracts an abundance of native plants, wildlife and birds.

For further information go to: http://www.inglewoodfarms.com/

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