E.J. Holtsbaum Agricultural Research Station

The Holtsbaum Research Station was established in 2003 following the gift by Mr E.J. Holtsbaum to the University of his property, ‘Nowley’. Mr Holtsbaum, whose family owned Nowley since 1964, made the gift with the view that the farm would continue to prosper under the University’s stewardship, and serve as a centre on the Liverpool Plains for the creation and dissemination of innovative technology for agricultural production and natural resource management. Surplus profits from the operation of Nowley are to be allocated for scholarships to help students fund their studies, and to encourage in recipients a sense of giving something back to the land through their degree, should they have the opportunity to do so.

Nowley is located in one of the most versatile and reliable winter and summer dryland cropping regions of Australia, in the Spring Ridge district on the central/north west slopes of NSW. The property is run as a successful mixed farming enterprise centred around crops of wheat, barley and canola in winter, sorghum and sunflower in summer, and a cattle herd of breeders, replacement heifers and bulls. Nowley has mostly fertile basaltic soils, an average annual rainfall of about 600 mm with a relatively even summer and winter distribution, and is close to good regional infrastructure. The variation in soil types and parent materials, and the proximity of a large, natural water body (Lake Goran), means that the property offers unique opportunities to study the impacts of parent material and topography on soil type, and consequently on agricultural opportunities. Nowley will give students a strong sense of the interaction of landscape and agriculture. Stands of remnant native forest on sections of the property will provide invaluable undisturbed reference sites for comparative studies of agricultural and native ecosytems, and the influence of human impacts.

Objectives of the Holtsbaum Agricultural Research Institute (HARI)

The objectives of the HARI are aligned with a Statement of Intention made by Mr Holtsbaum in conjunction with his gift.

“Nowley is to be used for the purposes of the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (hereafter referred to as 'the faculty') including in particular but not limited to:

  • research for the benefit of primary producers, researchers, students and other parties interested in agriculture
  • provision of funds for scholarships to the faculty.

A wide range of enterprises should be trialled and evaluated as the need or otherwise arises in conjunction with the ‘bread and butter’ activities of the day. The results of these activities to be carried out at 'Nowley' to be available to farmers, faculty students, research workers and other parties with an interest in agriculture. The future mix of enterprises on the property will be determined to produce a viable income. After retention of profits or part thereof to provide working capital, any surplus is to be directed into a scholarship fund for the faculty or for the benefit of teaching and research in agriculture as determined by the Dean in consultation with the Management Advisory Board. The property's well-being is of paramount importance and number one priority.

Management of the Holtsbaum Agricultural Research Institute

The purchase of plant and equipment, working capital and additional land by the University was financed by the creation of an internal Property Trust known as the "Nowley Property Pool". In recognition of the gift by Mr Holtsbaum, and additional funds invested in the Nowley Property Pool by the faculty, the latter will be allocated approximately 74 per cent of the units in the Pool, with Livingston Farm to purchase the remaining 26 per cent of the units in the Pool.

Net operating surpluses will be distributed proportionately to unit holders in the Nowley Property Pool. The Properties and Investments Office will be responsible to the Management Advisory Committee for the day to day operation of the property, which will be managed as part of the rural property portfolio. Research and innovative trials by the faculty will be oversighted by the Management Advisory Board.

In the event a situation arises where the Advisory Board recommends that the property be disposed of, it will be done so in a manner that will realise the faculty the highest sum of money attainable on the day. The proceeds may be invested in a similar venture or one suitable to the faculty and management of the day. Whatever the new venture, the name "EJ Holtsbaum" is to be preserved.

Holtsbaum Agricultural Research Institute Management Advisory Board: Terms of Reference

To oversight the management of the Holtsbaum Agricultural Research Station in order to ensure that it:

  • operates as a financially viable enterprise
  • facilitates research for the benefit of primary producers, researchers, students and other parties interested in Agriculture
  • provides funds for the provision of scholarships and other activities for the benefit of teaching and research in the faculty.

The Management Advisory Board will:

  • receive financial statements relating to the property
  • receive reports from the Dean of the faculty relating to the use of the property for teaching, research and outreach activities.
  • receive reports from the Properties and Investments Office relating to operational and financial aspects of the enterprise.
  • advise the Dean of the faculty on the distribution of the EJ Holtsbaum Trust’s share of the profits from the Nowley Property Pool for scholarships and other activities for the benefit of teaching and research programs.

The Management Advisory Board will meet at least twice per year.

The HARI Management Advisory Board will consist of:

  • The Dean of the faculty
  • A representative of the faculty
  • The working Manager
  • Two practising agriculturists within reasonable proximity of 'Nowley'
  • The Director, University Properties and Investments

According to Mr Holtsbaum’s Statement of Intention, "practising agriculturists” are to provide local knowledge. Their term of appointment should be at least three years, and they should be "quiet achievers" in their own right, demonstrating an ability to run a sound and profitable enterprise or having exceptional expertise in a field or fields relevant to the prevailing pursuit/s on Nowley. The initial appointments have been made by Mr Holtsbaum, and will be made subsequently by the Advisory Board. They shall not be nominated by farmer bodies, Boards or vested interests or politicians. The positions are honorary, apart from reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses.