The organic Advantage

INDUSTRY NEWS:The BFA - Celebrating two decades of growth for organics

The Biological Farmers Australia (BFA) is proud to be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Marking the milestone of its beginnings in 1987 the BFA’s 20th Annual General Meeting will held followed by a celebratory Gala Dinner on Saturday 27th October.

Representative figures will join growers, members and others to reflect on the history of an industry which is enjoying unprecedented growth.

BFA Chairman, Mr. Doug Haas, says the organisation has evolved.

“What began as a group of farming families is now an able bodied group with two very distinct certifying bodies - Australian Certified Organic (ACO) and Organic Growers of Australia Certified Ltd (OGA) (Small Producer Program), representing in all some 3000 clients and members.”

“While having grown into Australia’s largest organic certifying body, it’s clear the BFA has not forgotten from where it began, with the ongoing and obvious intention of representing all. No better example of this is ensuring the OGA’s ongoing industry presence. In an industry first, the OGA program now provides a tailored certification option for the smaller grower.”

“We now have the funds, resources and strategic vision that will help us develop the industry as a whole, and that’s something we are proud of,” says Mr. Haas.

“We’ve seen organics become a commercial reality, with a lot of spirit.”

Approximately 70% of certified organic produce in the marketplace now carries the BFA Group’s renowned ‘Bud logo’.

“The Bud which assures purchases of integrity and quality was the creation of Rosemary Dunn (wife of Gavin Dunn, inaugural chairman of the BFA) some 20 years ago,” says Mr. Haas.

Other major achievements in 20 years include accreditation and equivalence with 6 different programs facilitating market access worldwide, a fast-growing Small Producer Program (the OGA), training and educational programs nationally and a long established PR department producing approximately 12 print publications per year, plus 26 electronic publications.

The BFA is honoured to welcome two prominent guest speakers to its Gala Dinner – Mr. David Crombie, President of the National Farmers Federation and Professor Robert Carter, research professor of geology at James Cook University.

Mr. Crombie was formerly head of Meat and Livestock Australia for eight years and has spent decades as an agricultural consultant, farmer and manager.

Professor Carter has thirty years experience as an environmental scientist across a diverse range of sectors.

Event Details: Saturday 26th October at The Sofitel, 249 Turbot St, Brisbane City
Annual General Meeting: 8:30am registration – mid afternoon
Gala Dinner: 6:30pm until late
For more information: ph. 07 3350 5716 ext 233 or email

AGRIBUSINESS NEWS: On-line auction delivers premium price for cattle

AuctionsPlus online auction provides an ideal facility to sell organic store cattle and sheep as the integrity of the cattle’s organic status is not threatened while allowing access to a broader market providing exposure to potential buyers nationally

This month ACO certified Cattle producer Nobbs Cattle Co received excellent results via the exposure and competition provided by AuctionsPlus online weekly Internet sale.

Allan and Brett Nobbs offered and sold 292 steers from their Fitzroy Vale property on the Queensland Central Coast east of Rockhampton.

Bidding resulted in 94 steers being sold to EU producer John Howard, Mountain View, Biloela, weighing 320 to 390 av 349kg for 168.6c.

Two B/Doubles were purchased by Capella graziers Roger and Carolyn Lee to restock their Organic property Caroa paying 176.4c for 100 Brahaman steers weighing 280 to 320 av 309kg and another line of 96 steers weighing 320 to 390 av 350kg paying 166.8c.

The final bid price was some 16c to 26c above the vendor’s reserve. Up against trends influencing prices paid for cattle including the current price of grain, the Australian dollar and the season, it was an unexpected but very positive result with in the vendors receiving a larger than expected gross premium.

To list cattle and for information contact:
Landmark QLD/NT Auction Plus State Co-ordinator – Colin Campbell (mob: 0429 068 810 email, NSW/VIC Co-ordinator Bob Russ (mob:0419 276 851 email, SA Co-ordinator Wayne Hall (mob: 0427 369 699 email and WA Co-ordinator Chris Medcalf (mob: 0427 423 232).

Other web based resources available to the organic livestock sector include a Livestock E-Circular distributed on demand by the BFA and assisting with the facilitation of trade. The Circular is free to subscribe to via the website Organic livestock news, e.g. stock for sale or wanted, feed available and other information may be sent for publishing in to

In addition, the BFA Classifieds website is assisting organic graziers and others find stock, farm inputs and products and can be found at The site is free to advertise in for BFA members or costs $66 for non-members.

ENVIRONMENT: Japan says no to GMO

farmonline, Australia
Thursday, 25 October 2007

THE pro-genetically modified organism (GMO) lobby has found an unlikely opponent in its bid to have the States' moratoria on genetically modified (GM) food crops lifted.

A delegation of Japanese consumers visited Australia as part of a publicity campaign designed to keep the various bans in place.

The No! GMO Campaign, an alliance of Japanese consumer and farmer groups representing 2.9 million Japanese consumers, have met with State Government officials in South Australia, Victoria and NSW.

The group was also in WA this week and met with State Agriculture Minister, Kim Chance, to put forward its concerns about the quality of food imported into Japan.

The group used the opportunity to express fears about GM food products, and presented Mr Chance with a petition signed by 155 Japanese organisations that represented the 2.9m Japanese consumers.

Campaign spokesman, Ryoko Shimizu, said the group's major concern was with food safety.

"We Japanese consumers are now standing at a critical crossroads in assuring our food safety," Mr Shimizu said.

"Australia is the only country that can supply GM-free canola to food-importing countries like Japan. If the moratoria are lifted it would damage the reputation of Australian crops in Japan and Japanese consumers would stop buying Australian crops."

Mr Chance hinted that the Japanese petition could yield influence on WA's moratorium review.

"We need to maintain the confidence of our consumers, and particularly those in Japan," he said.

"We will review the moratorium in WA and we will review it along proper guidelines, including both the science of the question and the position that our consumers take, here in Australia and internationally.

"But among those consumers this very strong statement by Japanese consumers certainly helps us in our decision making."

Is the difference between organic and non-organic irrelevant?

Recently in a mainstream newspaper a professor of human nutrition lent herself to an article which quite emphatically stated that 'organic (food) is no better.'

Following up with the professor and with the intention of knowing which research had led her to this conclusion, BFA Nutritionist Shane Heaton was posed with a second statement from the professor:

“Even if there were a difference, the difference is irrelevant. Fruit and vegetables provide an excess of vitamins and minerals and we should be encouraging everyone to eat more of them - we don't need to get them from more alternate sources that are hard to find and more expensive to purchase.”

This question is one worthy of further consideration. Shane Heaton writes "As a fellow nutritionist of course I agree we need everyone to eat more fruit & veg, but it appears we advocate very different strategies on how to achieve that..." he writes.

"Everyone interested in nutrition and public health agrees that encouraging greater consumption of fruit and vegetables is the simplest and most effective way to improving peoples’ health. Some believe that encouraging greater consumption of organic food works against this ideal, and therefore organics should not be promoted. It’s assumed that if people buy organic instead of non-organic food, they’ll buy a lesser quantity because of the higher price. I strongly believe this is a false assumption.

"The average household can easily afford the premium for organic food if they buy less junk food (fizzy drinks, crisps, cakes, biscuits, icecream, chocolate, sweets, etc.). Or fewer cigarettes. Or less alcohol. How do I know this? Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that that average household spends more on junk food than on fruit and veg each week. More on take-away, and more on alcohol than fruit and veg. The cigarette market is 6 times the size of the organic food market.

"So let me make an assumption. With a household food and drink budget, most people will tend to buy the ‘essentials’ first – fruit, vegetables, cereals, some ready meals, bread, milk, meat, etc. and then use what’s left to buy ‘luxuries’ – junk food, alcohol, cigarettes, take-aways and the like.

"The key factor here is whether or not consumers consider organic food to be essential or a luxury. As people learn more about differences in nutrient content, pesticide residues, animal welfare, food safety, environmental impact, etc., many do come to believe that organic food and farming are essential for the health of ourselves and that of the environment. If people switch from conventional to organic on the ‘essentials’, it’s entirely likely they will then spend less on junk-food, alcohol, cigarettes and take-aways, and indeed, research has confirmed that organic consumers have different consumption patterns from non-organic consumers along these lines.

"So if my assumption is correct, switching to organic food would not only mean consumers receive more nutrients and fewer toxins in their now largely organic diet, they’d also potentially consume less alcohol, fewer cigarettes and less fat and sugar-laden junk food. The benefits to their health, that of their families, and public health in general, could be enormous.

"They’d also avoid the considerable uncertainties regarding the health implications of multiple pesticide residues, GMOs, anti-biotic resistance, nitrates and artificial food additives. Those who argue there is no compelling scientific evidence of definite harm from these issues must also concede that there is so much we do not know, that there is equally no evidence that they are safe. Consumers pursuing wellness know better than to wait for scientific consensus on such issues, and often make a personal choice instead to follow the precautionary principle.

"Another important point in this question of how best to improve peoples’ fruit and veg intake is the issue of taste. A common experience of organic consumers is that organic produce tastes better. Kids especially notice the difference, and I’ve heard numerous reports from parents who’s kids start actually enjoying fruits and vegetables when they make the switch to organic. Where they previously struggled to get their children to eat much fruit or any vegetables at all, all of a sudden they start asking for more! And they feel great about giving them to their kids, knowing they’re not doused in who knows how many pesticides.

So which is the better strategy to encourage greater fruit and veg consumption? I’m convinced the organic argument “It’s good for you, tastes great, doesn’t pollute the planet, didn’t risk the farmers health when growing it, and won’t slowly poison your family.” is likely to be a far more effective strategy than “Go on, it’s good for you. Don’t worry about the pesticides - it’s cheap!”.

"The environmental and biodiversity benefits of organic farming are well documented and generally accepted. Buying organic food supports organic farming and thus benefits the environment. Do those who advocate increasing consumption of non-organic fruit and vegetables really think it’s wise to pursue wellness with no regard to our environment? Can you be truly well while supporting practices that pollute the environment and reduce biodiversity?

"So the bottom line is that if people go organic they receive more nutrients, fewer toxins, and probably decrease their consumption of health-robbers like cigarettes and junk-food. Whether or not to go organic is a question of priorities. If pursuing optimum health and wellbeing is a priority for you and your family, then it’s a very good idea. If your priorities currently lie elsewhere, that’s fine. It’s your journey. But your choices leave a toxic legacy for future generations, and as a father of two, I’d really rather you didn’t.

"Cheap is expensive, and organic food isn’t a luxury – it’s how food is meant to be."

GOOD TASTE: No competition for Australian bio-dynamic wines

“This year we became Certified Biodynamic, won Gold [for the 07 Semillon] in Melbourne and then it also got ‘BEST WHITE’ at the Organic & Biodynamic wine show. We launched our new Biodynamic Krinklewood labels and our new sub $14 ‘wild’ range. Is there time for more?!” asks Rod Windrim.

Becoming certified Biodynamic is a huge milestone for any vineyard, let alone one based in the Hunter where the climate is usually warm and damp…to the bugs and insects delight.

And the hard work is certainly paying off. Krinklewood 07 Semillon was one of the few Semillons to be awarded a GOLD medal at the Royal Melbourne Show. Recently, the results of the Adelaide Royal Show have boosted the medal tally yet again, with another 2 Silvers (07 Verdelho, 07 Semillon).

“I just want to make great wines; and the biodynamic approach seemed the logical means to achieving this. Now we are seeing Krinklewood stand up against some of the best wines in the country, and to me this brilliantly reinforces that the biodynamic approach is the way forward for us” says Rod.

Krinklewood Vineyard was awarded 4 ½ stars in the 2008 James Halliday Australian Wine Companion. Four of their wines were awarded 90+ pts.

For more information on Krinklewood or to arrange a time to meet with Rod Windrim, please contact
Rachel Appleton on 0420 938 152 / , or see www.krinklewood.comp.

One last yet essential read to complete your organic advantage -
A bus filled with politicians was driving through the countryside one day, on the campaign trail. The bus driver, caught up in the beautiful scenery, loses control and crashes into a ditch. A farmer living nearby hears the horrible crash and rushes out to discover the wreckage. Finding the politicians, he buries them.

The next day, police come to the farm to question the man. "So you buried all the politicians?" asked the police officer. "Were they all dead?"

The farmer answered, "Some said they weren't, but you know how politicians lie."

Your Organic Advantage
Editor: Holly Vyner

Ph: 07 3350 5716 (International +61 7 3350 5716)