Smith brothers take reins from father

Northam farming family: James Smith (left), Alistair, Rory, dog Frankie, Cameron, holding daughter Imogen, Stevie and Bailey Belle Smith holding grandfather Kevin’s hand.
Northam farming family: James Smith (left), Alistair, Rory, dog Frankie, Cameron, holding daughter Imogen, Stevie and Bailey Belle Smith holding grandfather Kevin’s hand.

SMITH brothers, Rory, Cameron, Alistair and James have taken the reins as their father Kevin watches the farm grow.

The 1011 hectare property in Northam produces hay, wheat, lupins, canola and sheep, as well as being home to business ‘Glenroy Chaff’.

Glenroy Farm has been producing cereal crops for more than 60 years, although in the past two years the boys have increased their focus on marketing and branding to sell their products across the State. 

Glenroy Chaff’s products are supplied south to as far as Albany and north up to the Pilbara.

“We are fourth-generation farmers – my father, grandfather and myself have always cut hay and chaff, although the boys are taking it that step further,” Kevin said.

Kevin and his wife Wendy are both semi-retired and live in town. 

Kevin still lends a hand on the farm and throughout summer Wendy teaches swimming lessons at the local pool. 

The eldest of the boys, Rory, has always helped out on the farm where he can. 

Rory works in the kitchen of the local hospital and will always be out on the farm for “five o’clock beers”.

He was born with Down syndrome, although he has never let it stop him from doing anything he puts his mind to.

Rory said he knows more about popular Australian television program Home and Away than one of the lead actors Alf Stewart and records every episode to ensure he doesn’t miss a word.

He also helps the boys when they cut chaff – always willing to help both on the farm and in the Northam community. 

Cameron and his wife Leah live on the farm with their three daughters, Bailey Belle, Stevie and Imogen. 

With an interest in farming, Cameron went to the WA College of Agriculture Cunderdin which has laid the foundations for the farm’s future.

Prior to working full-time on the farm he worked in the mines as a shot firer for 11 years, returning when on regular breaks.

“We all had to get a trade before we could come home on the farm – that was the deal,” said Alistair. 

He is a qualified boilermaker which he puts to good use around the farm by building infrastructure. 

“I have always been back and forth to the farm since I left the AFL in 2013,” Alistair said.

James also has a trade as a sheet metal fabricator, although he currently works on a fly-in, fly-out roster, assisting with mining shutdowns across the State.

“I come home when I can, especially this time of year as we need the extra hands around at harvest time,” James said.

Glenroy Chaff has worked hard with promoting and marketing their business and brand on social media you can also find them around the field at Ascot Racecourse.

The family primarily produces hay although it does have other crops, as well as 500 ewes mated for prime lamb production.

This year they also seeded 40ha of Gunyidi lupins, 250ha of Bonito canola and 230ha of Cobra wheat. 

The lupins are averaging two tonnes to the hectare and the canola is averaging 1.4t/ha at the moment. 

Cameron was hoping the wheat would average 3t/ha.