Trend: More beef producers are moving to organic production. Picture: Emma Field Source: Weekly Times Now
MORE beef producers are signing on to gain organic certification.
Certification body, Australian Certified Organic has recorded a 25 per cent increase in applications for organic beef in the past year, with 60 requests from beef operators in the past two years.
The organisation currently has about 64 beef producers signed on with Australian Certified Organic.
Applications mostly come from western Queensland, western NSW, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Australian Certified Organic’s business development manager, Joanne Barber, said gaining organic certification offered price consistency for farmers and access to markets.
“Australia has the largest amount of organic land in the world, so we are the go-to place for meat,” Ms Barber said.
She said most organic producers were already running their operations organically, before certification, but the extra step to certification meant they could obtain a premium.
“While the amount of Australian organic farmers is growing, more consumers are buying organic too,” Ms Barber said.
Arcadian Organic and Natural Meat Company chief executive Alister Ferguson said more beef producers were obtaining organic certification because of the increased profit margin and demand for the product.
“Eight years ago when we opened our doors, we started with 66 cattle a fortnight,” he said. Now they were at 1000 a week.
“The reason is that producers can see a 40 per cent premium in it for them,” Mr Ferguson said.
“They can also see huge markets, like the US, demanding organic beef with these orders still struggling to be filled.
“Our programs are currently growing by 20 per cent each year.”
Jack’s Gully Organics owner Dale Ranson from Woodend is completing the final process of becoming fully certified under the Organic Growers Association small producers program, after starting the process three years ago.
Producing organic beef, lamb and eggs, as well as pork, rabbit, fruit and vegetables, Mr Ranson said after a tree change from the city he wanted to become organic because it was “more sustainable” and was a way to remove chemicals and non-organic inputs from the food chain.
“Organic is more of a differentiation for us rather than being able to receive a premium,” he said.
- NICOLA BELL
- JANUARY 29, 2014