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Debbie Dowden

Owner and operator of Challa Station

Debbie and Ash Dowden own and operate Challa Station, a beef cattle enterprise based in the Southern Rangelands of Western Australia. Debbie says “We understand the need to rehydrate the Southern Rangelands, repair historical degradation and restore the natural environment”. Debbie is looking to create a Rural Women of the Year Project that will quantify our natural capital and develop a wholistic plan to increase it in the long term.

Read more about Challa Station story here.

Can you tell us about AG Dowden and Co.

AG Dowden and Co has owned and operated Challa Station since 1888. Challa was a merino sheep station that has recently transitioned to a beef cattle enterprise because of wild dog predation on small stock. In 2015 AG Dowden and Co purchased Windimurra Station, a property that had suffered significant overgrazing for many years. The two properties are run as a single pastoral business unit.

Why is AG Dowden and Co. taking climate action? 

We understand the need to rehydrate the Southern Rangelands, repair historical degradation and restore the natural environment. We have recently initiated a Human Induced Regeneration carbon project on our property and this has provided the financial capital to improve the natural capital. We hope that our project that will encourage other Southern Rangelands Pastoralists to take climate action. In addition, my husband’s family is 5th generation on this property, so in it for the long haul. We understand and implement long term projects. We have four children and we need to improve the word for their sake, and for the sake of future generations.

Can you tell us about your commitments to climate action? 

In 2002 we held an SQF environmental accreditation. This has lapsed now but it demonstrates that we are not new to building natural capital. We can already demonstrate that we are a carbon neutral red meat business and we sell our excess carbon credits. We have ongoing ground work and plans for more that will assist in large scale rehydration and restoration of the rangelands.

Is there a project you are working on that you are excited about?

I am interested in developing a 'Rural Women of the Year' Project that will quantify our natural capital and develop a wholistic plan to increase it in the long term. This would be a groundbreaking project that would highlight the positive work being done in the Southern Rangelands.

What real-world opportunities have you uncovered from taking climate action today? 

HIR Carbon projects and the possibility for soil carbon projects to be developed in the future. These exciting opportunities could radically change perspectives of the Southern Rangelands.

What climate action would you like to see Australia take?

Monetise natural capital as a resource.

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