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The Sparks | Munduney, South Australia


Emily Herbert

April 23, 2020

The Sparks

Munduney | South Australia

Photography: Alysha Sparks

While some scoff at the place online media plays in farming, the younger generation are using it as a tool for good. Communicating directly with consumers and sharing the story of food and fibre from paddock to plate, the Sparks family are breaking down the barriers between those who farm and those who consume.

Stella and Tyson are dressed by RB Sellars for an RB Sellars x Graziher collaboration.

Find all of the outfits at

Any marketing buff or PR pro would be impressed when scrolling the Sparks Farming Facebook page. The social media platform is littered with beautiful, crisp photos; sheep frozen under the shag of a gum tree, the air laced with dust plumes alight; drone shots of enormous machines mid-roll under a summer harvest sky; dreamy snaps of rolling hill country in the pinks and plums of sunrise. The branding is impeccable, polished, and what the next generation says, necessary.

As a third-generation Sparks farmer, Tyson Sparks is keeping his eyes on the ever-shifting horizon of producer innovation. He and wife Stella live on and manage 'Munduney', one of the family's three properties across South Australia. Purchased in 2011 from the University of Adelaide, the 7,500-hectare station was historically run as a cattle and sheep station since settlement in 1844. Today, the station is managed with a self-replacing merino flock, combined with a cereal, hay and pasture cropping program.

"Technology is constantly changing the way we farm," Tyson says. "It's hard to believe how far we have come in three generations when horses were used to plough the soil. Today, no-till farming practices allow us to preserve the topsoil, whilst air seeders and GPS navigation allows for precision agriculture. It's exciting what the future will bring. We need to keep adapting where and how we farm in a changing environment."

Tyson and Stella were married on the farm two years ago, after first meeting at the Clare races in Stella's final year at university studying Agricultural Science. "It was not love at first sight," Stella says. "He was being very cheeky! However, over time his fun-loving personality grew on me and eventually won me over." While his antics may not have made the best first impression, Tyson knew he'd found his person. "I always saw Stella as a keeper," he says. "She was the type of girl I wanted to marry."

Stella works part-time in the farm as finance officer and part-time in banking.

The two enjoy working with each other, despite the at-times challenging dynamics of running an enterprise with a partner. "It's a great balance of working in different environments with different people each day," Stella says. "I like Tyson's work ethic and attention to detail." For Tyson, his wife keeps him on track and focused. "It's great to be able to have a sounding board to bounce ideas off," he says. "After a long day, it's nice to come home to Stella who always has a smile on her face."

A 30-minute drive from Clare Valley, the station is a mix of arable and non-arable country, made up of rolling hills dotted with eucalypts, winding creeks and historic stone ruins. Winters are cold and wet, whilst summers are hot and increasingly dry. The harsher times of the seasons are perhaps exacerbated by their historic home; the grand, double-storeyed homestead was built in the late 1800s. It was the latest family farm acquisition that really kindled the need for a Sparks business brand. "We purchased Calcannia in February 2019 for added rainfall reliability and it was time to create a brand to link the three properties," Stella says.

"We had been keen to create a brand for some time, and after the last purchase, it seemed like the perfect time. We are lucky to have Tyson's talented photographer sister Alysha, who put our ideas to print."

It took a change in mind-set to have the whole family recognise the potential benefits of modern marketing. "Like many farmers, promoting their business does not come naturally so it was an idea that had been discussed for a few years," Stella says. "When it came to putting it all together however, everyone was involved in the design of the brand and were supportive of the direction.

Like any business, it's important to share your story and let the customer know where and how our products are produced. We take pride in what we produce and the website allows us to share our story. Finding the right employees is also a large part of our business, and we hope that over time our brand and website will attract staff who share our passion."

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