Farmer's inspirational story after helicopter crash
CATTLE farming is in Rob Cook's blood and after breaking his neck one of his first thoughts was getting back on the land.
The third-generation cattleman's life was turned up side down in a helicopter crash in the Northern Territory.
His life on the land, and will to live, were two of the things Mr Cook, 35, said kept him alive in the moments after the accident.
"The idea of me laying there thinking about panting, keeping my diaphragm bouncing - thinking about breathing, Mr Cook said.
"I didn't understand at the time I was just struggling to breathe.
"The doctors said 'had you not been fit leading up the crash you would not have survived."
Survive he did and now he is working hard to give the next generation of his family a future on the land.
Mr Cook was told he would be on a ventilator for life and would never breathe on his own again.
The passion inside him grew because he knew he had to give it his all for wife, Sarah, and children, Braxton and Lawson.
He said many months of hard work passed as he fought to return to normality.
"It started out when I was awake I could breathe by myself and at night they would turn the machine back on," he said.
"As each day passed the doctors withdrew assistance and forced me to do more on my own."
Mr Cook said when he first sat in a wheelchair and he had to learn to steer with his chin and he knew he had obstacles to overcome.
Now Mr Cook can use the muscle in the back of his right shoulder to help manoeuvre him around.
"I spent hours willing my hand to move, and it was exhausting. I went to bed exhausted and I hadn't actually moved," he said.
"One thing lead to another and I finally was able to move the muscle."
The climate in the north was not good for the stockman's lungs which brought them to purchasing the property, Tandara, at South Kolan.
Mr Cook uses great technology on the farm but said it would be useless without the support of his family, employees and life-long friends including Matt Orgill who oversees the day-to-day operations at the farm.
What he has achieved could be written into the script of any Hollywood blockbuster.
"As a kid mum always said 'you know that's what your life is going to be, your life is a story and you're the author and it's up to you to fill the page'," he said.
Tender sprouted in many ways
GRAIN fed, grass fed, T-bone or rump?
This question runs through the minds of all most everyone who walks into a butcher shop looking for that one fantastic cut of meat.
When you walk through the doors of Bundaberg's newest butcher, Tender Sprouted Meats, the answer is delivered from a farm half an hour's drive away.
Tender Sprouted Meats is owned by South Kolan cattle farmer Rob Cook and after drawing from knowledge gained in the prestigious Nuffield scholarship he has concocted a near perfect recipe for that perfect steak.
The cattle grown exclusively for Tender Sprouted Meats are fed a dietary supplement consisting of molasses, hay and barley sprouts with the results being spectacular.
"Samples of steak have been sent to the CSIRO of grass, grain, and sprout feed cattle," Mr Cook said.
"We received immediate feedback that it was phenomenal and the nutritional value was up there."
He said it was always believed that grass fed was best but the value in sprout fed had shown to be ten times higher on average.
Mr Cook said it was not just the consumer who enjoyed the taste of the sprouts, but the cattle "absolutely love it".
The barley sprouts are natured in a climate control shed run by a high tech computer for five days before being mixed into the supplementary ration and fed to the cows.
"We make sure they're on this for no less than 100 days - Just so we can guarantee they've got that flavour into them," he said.
"We know we're going to get a tender product because they are spoon feed."
Many producers proclaim the benefits of grain fed animals but the cattle which are fattened on Mr Cook's sprouts reach a higher standard.
"We were originally feeding on grain and throw caution into the wind and started on sprouts," he said.
"It slows our growth rate down and we don't get the same marbling but it's a healthier product."
Because of the small nature of the property Tender Sprouted Meats know the specifics of each piece of meat from its date of birth to its last immunisation all the way from the farm to the fork.
Tender Sprouted Meats are open now on Watson St, Bundaberg.