THE winners of two of the most prestigious honours in the Australian organic industry have been unveiled at the 2022 Australian Organic Industry Awards. Australian Organic Limited Chairman, Martin Meek, said it was a privilege to select the inductee into the AOL Hall of Fame and the recipient of the Chairman’s Award. “This year’s honourees, Alister Ferguson and Kane Busch, were chosen because one is aspirational and the other is inspirational, and both speak to the risk and the love of organics,” Mr Meek said.
A Queensland strawberry farmer, the head of Australia’s largest organic mushroom producer, and a Victorian dairy company were among 10 award winners at the 8th Australian Organic Industry Awards on Friday night. Held at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley in Lovedale, NSW, peak industry body Australian Organic Limited (AOL) announced the night’s honourees, who collectively span an impressive and diverse range of certified organic products from fresh produce, dairy and meat, to pantry items and pharmaceutical ingredients.
Growing hardy, high-quality organic strawberries can be a challenge, but Queensland’s Ashbern Farms have been working hard to meet this market need since first growing organic varieties in 2008. The business operates from farms in Stanthorpe and the Glass House Mountains, with organic strawberries grown at the latter location across 4.2 hectares of land.
Growers looking to serve organic consumers are well catered for by Boomaroo Nurseries, a world-class wholesale provider of vegetable seedlings who added certified organic options to their product range in 2020. Boomaroo Nurseries operate from facilities in Lara, Victoria, with a state-of-the-art site also opened in Southbrook, Queensland, three years ago.
As we enter a third la Nina season, many organic operators and farming communities have been heavily impacted by the recent flooding and extreme weather conditions along the East coast. On behalf of AOL, our thoughts go out to all affected farmers and operators. A range of state and federal assistance and resources are now available for affected primary producers, businesses and individuals. These include grants and financial support, disaster recovery resources and mental health services.
This Saturday 15 October is International Day of Rural Women, a welcome opportunity to recognise and celebrate the women progressing organic agriculture in Australia. One such leader is Central Queensland beef cattle producer Melinee Leather, who operates Leather Cattle Company alongside her family and is a committed advocate for long-term sustainability in agriculture.
A media release published today by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission notes there has been a recent spike in agricultural sector scams, with Australian farm businesses losing more than $1.2 million between 1 January and 31 August this year. This is an increase of more than 20 per cent compared to the same period last year, with scams around the sale of tractors and heavy machinery accounting for more than $1 million in losses alone.
Research released last week showing 8% of Australian people in a test population had traces of weed killer glyphosate in their urine has further brought to light the need for consumers to be aware of chemical use in the food supply chain. The research, conducted by the University of Queensland, comes after earlier reports in the media highlighting a number of concerns surrounding the limited understanding of the amount of chemicals on produce.
The spread of Lumpy skin disease (LSD) and Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) overseas is a cause for concern among Australian livestock producers. Any incursions could significantly impact our domestic and export industries, so it is vital that sound prevention strategies are adhered to and all stakeholders remain up-to-date on recent news. The following is an update on recent developments, economic risks and current vaccine plans for both diseases, with implications for organic producers explored.
In light of renewed biosecurity threats for Australian farms, AOL has placed an order for more visitor signs branded with the Bud logo. The signs will remind visitors to consider biosecurity threats before entering the property, as well as informing guests that they are entering a certified organic property or paddock where specific treatment and harvesting practices may be in place.