The sale of Etta Plains at Julia Creek for just under $25 million has been hailed as the much-needed agenda setter north west Queensland's embryonic irrigated agriculture industry needs.
Findley Farms, based at Narrabri in the Namoi Valley in north west NSW, has purchased the 28,442 hectare property 120km north of Julia Creek from Alister and Jo McClymont, Burleigh Station, Richmond.
It has water allocations of 39,500ML, which was described in the sale brochure as providing a platform for cropping expansion for both irrigation and dryland operations.
Robin Findley, speaking on behalf of himself and son Lucas Findley, said they were excited to come to the Gulf to hopefully kick off irrigation for the region.
"We're excited by the positivity of the people up there and by the reception we've received from middle government management," he said.
"They want people to do stuff and we're the ones with the knowledge to do it.
"We haven't made any expectations of what crops we'll grow at this point - we'll look at preparing the ground and doing a lot of trials.
"Any big earth-breaking stuff is a long way off."
Commenting on the sale, Mr McClymont said he had identified the tremendous potential the government water release had provided and had originally bought the property with that in mind.
"We're not farmers though, we're cattlemen," he said. "We've paid for that water, with the aim of someone developing it.
Selling agent John Wharton said Etta Plains had changed hands at a high value, much of which had to do with the existing water allocation that had been procured.
This was confirmed by Herron Todd White's Townsville representative Roger Hill, who said a substantial premium above grazing land rates in that area had been paid.
"If you apportion the price of the water, I'm not surprised that the greenfields site reflects a substantial premium, perhaps twice that of surrounding grazing land," he said. "Mr McClymont has done a great job of building up an asset."
The amount paid equates to $879/ha or $356/acre.