An Indigenous cattle company in the Kimberley region of Western Australia is in negotiations to hand over the management of its herd to Australia's biggest beef producer, the Australian Agricultural Company (AAco).
A Brahman bull on Fairfield Station in the Kimberley, WA.
The Bunuba Cattle Company, which owns Leopold Downs and Fairfield Station near Fitzroy Crossing, is negotiating with AAco to take over the control and marketing of its herd of nearly 17,000 head.
Bunuba leader, Joe Ross, says the Kimberley cattle industry is going through a tough time and his company is looking to align itself with AAco for some stability.
"We don't have our head totally under water, but we're treading water because of the influences of the live export ban last year, which had a huge impact not only on ourselves but on a lot of other small to medium sized producers in northern Australia," he said.
"So unless you can align yourself with someone like AAco or another large producer, we're all going to go under."
Mr Ross says the two companies will be working on a deal over the next three months and hopes a partnership will deliver better employment and training opportunities for Bunuba people interested in the cattle industry.
He says the agreement could become a model for other Indigenous cattle stations in the Kimberley.