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passion to


The magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 June/July 2011

Global “Worming� Irrigation practices & systems Agritourism: Connecting communities

passion to

profit The magazin e of New

Rural Indu stries Aust ralia Issue 2 February/M

arch 2011

Start by making mo not spendi ney, ng it Food tren want it all!ds – Consumers

Check us out here on Facebook!

Achacha to Austral– a fruit new ia

The story of Tony Fini and Fini Olives && LIKE our page. && Engage in discussions. && Share photos of products from Australian new rural industries. && Make comments.

In the late 1950’s Tony purchased his first vacant block of land and completed his first house. Before the house was finished he bought his second block ready to start his next house. By the 1960’s Tony was building 15-20 homes per year and he become involved in land subdivisions, so that he could offer house and land packages. By 1968, Fini Homes (as it was then known) was completing over 200 residences per year.

&& Post and watch videos of new rural enterprises. && Network with others.

Visit our website && Get the latest news on NRIA. && Learn all about the new rural industries. && Access links to industry associations and organisations. && Read profiles of producers. && Access to articles on subjects common to all involved in new rural industries. && Access to conference presentations and papers. && Join NRIA as a member.

Follow us on Twitter! && Stay in touch with the latest information and news. && Share insights into new rural industries. && Stay informed. && Find and follow others with similar interests and enterprises.

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The magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 1 October 2010


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passion to


The magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 3 April/May 2011

NRIA Conference and Expo 2010

ISSN 1838-6016

Producing a product successfully Tax and Primary Production Collective Marketing – what are the choices?

In the 1990’s the small builder from the suburbs moved into the CBD, where inner-city developments become a very important area for the company and made it one of the leading builders and developers in WA. These successes lead to the sale of the company in 2001 to Mirvac. 1

By the late 1970’s, the company expanded into medium density housing and commercial construction. Tony also owned significant farming properties in Baddgingara, Enneaba and Gingin. In the 1980’s he established the Fini Retirement Village at Bibra Lake and Fini Villages now runs and operates 7 retirement villages in the Perth Metro area.

Tony decided to then return to his farming roots and he established Fini Olives, a new venture, located north of Gingin, in one of WA’s most premium olive growing regions. Fini Olives is now the second largest privately owned olive grove in Australia, with 110,000 trees planted, which in the next 10 years, is estimated to produce approximately 1,000,000 litres of extra virgin olive oil for both the Australian and export markets. Fini olives produces: Extra Virgin olive oil and 100% pure olive oil; Kalamata, Picholine, Picual and Manzanillo Table olives; Wine, Shiraz and Chardonnay; as well as a skin care range including lip balm, body soaps, hand lotion, etc.!/our_NRIA

front cover sml.pdf

Tony arrived in Australia in 1951, looking for a better life, with a few pounds in his pocket, and no grasp of the English language. He worked at the Kwinana Oil Refinery, and then various jobs within the industry, and started to get a command of the language.

Centrefarm: New, Rural, Industry, Australia How to be big without being big Building a healthy soil for crops and livestock

Inside 11


A word from the Editor Welcome Farm tips Membership Directory

NEWS Primary Industries Standing Committee International accolades Dr Suess and the green alpaca? No to herb and spice levy Pecan producer looking for new growers to meet China demand National conference for hydroponic and greenhouse growers Australian Regional Food Guide Global food security Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2011

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Russell and Maree Lewis of Chapman River Olives


Angela Betheras of Nickelby at Darnum


Jude Mayall of Outback Chef

John Foss of the Chia Company Parapark Cooperative On Sunday Island Vic



COLLABORATION We believe in “global worming” By Helen Disler


Take your costs and double them By Peter Fritz and Jeanne-Vida Douglas


Making the environment work for us By Nelson Quinn


Agricultural irrigation practices and systems By Jim Cuthbertson


Agritourism – connecting communities By Youna Angevin-Castro


Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011


Vanessa Hicks and Matthew Butcher of Salt of the Earth Enterprises Pty Ltd


A word from the Editor


Welcome our newest Corporate Member of NRIA! Meltwater News is a global

hank you for the feedback on our recent issues and also for the many contributions.

I particularly wanted to feature olives in this issue, as it is a new rural industry that has made huge inroads in terms of market development, production protocols and quality standards. I extended an invitation to olive growers (by way of the Australian Olive Association), to submit photos for a front cover for this issue. I had expected to receive some 5 – 6 entries and instead was swamped with superb photos of olives and olive farms from WA, to SA, VIC and NSW. Photos submitted included wedding ceremonies in picturesque olive groves, koala bears climbing olive trees, sheep grazing in amongst the mature olive trees, many spectacular photos of sunrises and sunsets amongst olive trees, as well as pictures of olives in brine and more. It became VERY hard to determine who would get the front cover. It was finally decided that Fini Olives gets the cover for this issue. See page 2 for the story behind Fini Olives and its owner Anthony (Tony) Fini. Because of the great response from the olive industry, we will feature an olive grower in each issue for the rest of the year. We have included Chapman River Olives in this issue and stay tuned for some more fabulous stories and pictures. The other big news for this issue is that we are now publishing on-line! Printing the magazine hardcopy was proving to be a very expensive affair, and despite large print runs, we were not reaching the primary producers we want to reach. By publishing on-line we can provide the magazine for free, and our readers can subscribe easily to receive every issue. Further, the magazine can be read on smart-phones, iPads, PC’s and Mac’s – and our readers can share it with colleagues, friends and family. Since New Rural Industries Australia will be around for a long time it was the common sense way to take on a publishing method that will see us well into the future and allow us to get the word out as broadly as possible. Enjoy the magazine. Feedback is always welcome. Lana Mitchell – Editor ERRATA: The editor wishes to apologise for a typographical error in the April/May issue. The web address for Morris Outside, the kangaroo and goat leather business run by Jan Morris, stated au instead of Apologies for any confusion this may have created.


operation, serving a growing portfolio of the world’s most successful and admired companies and organisations. With 800+ employees, more than 20,000 customers and 54 offices in over 30 countries – Meltwater News is the 57th fastest growing tech company in the world and reshaping a multi-billion dollar industry. The Meltwater News service is made up of 4 key elements: • Online Media Monitoring & Platform (information sourcing and monitoring) • Statistical Analysis (Analysis of campaigns and mentions) • Newsfeed (RSS Feed–streaming relevant news to your website or intranet) • Newsletter (Re-branded and customised eNewsletter )

Passion to Profit the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia ISSN 1838-6008

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia, is published online every two months, free of charge. It is sent directly to members of New Rural Industries Australia as well as to new rural industry peak bodies and allied industries. Membership to NRIA available at All rights reserved. New Rural Industries Australia Endeavour House, 2/106 Capt Cook Cres. Manuka, ACT 2603, Australia. Advertising: For advertising rate card contact and all ad bookings, email Editor: Lana Mitchell. Editorial Contributions are welcome and should be emailed to the editor. Designer: Cheryl Zwart of Orphix Publisher: New Rural Industries Australia Advertising: Copyright: No material published in Passion to Profit may be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the New Rural Industries Australia. Disclaimer: The publisher reserves the right to refuse any application considered inappropriate. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the written permission of New Rural Industries Australia. Whilst every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within the magazine, the publisher, printer and their agents cannot accept responsibility for error or omission. Views held by contributors are their own and do not necessarily coincide with those of the publisher or editor. Advertising is published subject to the terms and conditions of the Passion to Profit rate card 2011, available through

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011

The News Feed!

NRIA works to be a comprehensive, one-stop source for valuable information. We work to keep our members abreast of news and issues. We provide opportunity through conferences, workshops, events and our magazine for networking and developing business relationships that build your business. We also assist people to solve problems and improve their bottom line.

Building alliances Meltwater News Pty Ltd, an international company specialising in media monitoring, is our latest alliance. Within a month we will have a newsfeed available for our members that covers key new rural industries and subjects pertinent to them. NRIA is also working with Farm Plus, a company that specialises in the creation of knowledge data bases on specific subjects. Their knowledge portal will shortly be an ongoing benefit for all NRIA members and we are pleased to have Farm Plus associated with, and working with NRIA. As announced a few months ago, NRIA also has an alliance with AgTech. Members of NRIA get major discounts to subscriptions to the Farm Minder system, giving them access to up to date chemical MSDS information, software for recording/ tracking chemical usage, compliance with strict OH&S laws and more.

NRIA provides information and collaboration on the many subjects common to all new rural industries: • • • • • • • • • • • •

Starting up – business planning, feasibility studies, Seed Financing, market research Farm Production issues – growing, managing Water Supply/Efficiency/Irrigation Quality control Manufacturing/processing R&D Export/Import Commercialisation of new products Market Development Promotion and Sales Staff issues–hiring, regulations, firing, personnel control Pests and Diseases

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Breeding (plants and animals) IP – trademarks, copyright, PBR, patent Finance/Cash Flow/Bookkeeping Internet/E-Commerce Training/Education Climate Control Grants/Funding Forming Cooperatives/Associations/ Industry representation Strategies to tackle competition/ similar imported product Energy conservation/solar/ co-generation/tri-generation, alternative energy sources Tax Legal/Regulations

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of new industries where participants recognised the benefits of information sharing and cooperation with others. Industry leaders agreed on the need for an industry alliance, representing new and emerging Australian rural industries, to maximise the economic benefits Australia gains from such industries and to encourage new industries. This stimulated the development of NRIA. We are now just over 1 year old. We had our first (and very well attended) conference late last year and we have an ever growing membership.


The NRIA is not an industry body of industry bodies – nor does it replace existing industry bodies. We are here to provide an additional link, an additional supply of information and assistance, and also to provide a network of like-minded, innovative people, working to start, develop, build or further expand one or more Australian new rural industries. The NRIA provides individual participants and smaller industry-specific groups with a far more powerful voice and the collective strength to lobby much more effectively. We also work to promote the new rural industries and build the public demand for our diverse products. JOIN US today!

In 2009, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) hosted a forum

To find out more about membership in NRIA and to join, go to

Additionally, NRIA is an associate member of Plant Health Australia. Any industry body (not individual) registered as a member of NRIA, is an automatic member of Plant Health Australia and its industry can receive the benefits of NRIA’s associate membership with PHA if there is a disease or pest outbreak in that industry.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011



RIA is an alliance of new rural industries. We are a non-profit organisation working to create an environment for the development and building of capacity of new, innovative, Australian rural industries through cooperation, coordination and education


International accolades An Australian brand of extra virgin olive oil, has received international recognition from some of the world’s leading chefs and sommeliers. As part of the International Taste and Quality Institute’s Superior Taste Awards, ollo premium extra virgin olive oil received two stars for each of its varieties – Mild & Mellow and Fresh & Fruity – and was the only Australian olive oil to be recognised at this year’s awards. Based on blind testing by judges selected from 12 of the most prestigious European culinary and sommelier associations, the two star awards represent ‘remarkable’ taste with scores of between 80% – 90%.

“We’ve entered these awards twice in previous years and have come away with a few stars but this is the first time we’ve received two stars for both varieties,” said Frank Mitolo, Managing Director of The Mitolo Group – the makers of ollo. “We’re really pleased with the result; to have both varieties recognised by leading chefs and sommeliers is testament to all the hard work that goes in to ensure we continue to produce a premium product.” The International Taste and Quality Institute is a leading independent chef and sommelier based organisation dedicated to testing and promoting superior tasting food and drink from around the world. The Superior Taste Awards recognise products which meet or exceed the judges’ expectations in terms of taste and quality. Only those products which score more than 70% are recognised with an award, ranging from one to three stars.


Primary Industries Standing Committee (PISC)


New Rural Industries Australia (NRIA) has been invited to both chair and coordinate the Steering Committee for PISC new and emerging industry Research, Development and Extension (RD&E)!!! This presents an exciting challenge and opportunity for new and emerging industries to assist in coordinating and targeting scarce RD&E resources in order to become more efficient and effective. This steering committee is comprised of numerous partners who represent commonwealth and state governments, CSIRO as well as the Universities of Tasmania, Sydney and Melbourne. Mr. Paul Miller, Chair of NRIA has recently convened a meeting of this group and indicated “this is an opportunity to provide targeted and efficient RD&E

and I am very excited with this prospect and the enthusiasm the participants bring to the steering committee” The New & Emerging Industries National RD&E Strategy was coordinated by the Rural Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) and has since been endorsed by the Primary Industries Ministerial Council. When the Strategy is fully implemented, it is expected that: • Research capability will become more collaborative, specialised, have larger critical mass and will be less fragmented across the nation. Efficiency and effectiveness of RD&E will be markedly improved overall, although some additional costs could be incurred providing national linkages and to support delivery of regional

development and local extension. • Agencies will retain and build capability in fields strategically important to their jurisdictions and industries. At the same time, it is expected agencies will collaborate with others to provide for a more comprehensive national research capability. • The national research capability will be an integral component of a wider innovation agenda, supporting development and extension. To encourage rapid uptake of new technologies, research developed in one location would be available nationally for the whole industry. NRIA will continue to keep you updated on this. Watch for more news in the next issues of Passion to Profit.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011

Pecan producer looking for potential new growers to meet China demand In Northern NSW, Australia’s biggest pecan producer will double production to meet booming world demand for tree nuts. Stahmann Farms has 700 hectares of pecan trees on the Gwydir River near Moree, as well as a nut packing factory in Toowoomba.

net exporter of tree nuts to a net

Managing director Matthew Durack says in the past five years China has moved from a

other producers who might be

At the recent Sydney Royal Easter Show there were many people who did a double take last week when they were confronted with green Alpacas. Staged in the Hordern Sprung Pavilion, the exhibition ran for the duration of the show and really highlighted the “designer green” features of the alpaca. These features, or traits, of the alpaca have earned it the title of “friendly fleece” in the textile industry. The traits are; efficient feeding; soft padded feet; a naturally clean breech that does not require mulesing; and a luxurious soft, warm fleece in a range of natural colours.

now consume 30 per cent of the world’s pecan production. “Over the next three to five years we are planning to at least double the size of our production and would be keen to work with interested in getting into the business.”

Goats versus weeds Rather than reaching for environmentally expensive chemical solutions to handle weeds on rural properties, on the south coast of NSW goats are being used to both keep down the weeds and also produce sales in terms of goat meat, angora or cashmere wool, and goat dairy products. Meat, fibre and dairy goats are becoming a common sight in the NSW Bega valley and the market demand has lead to the first regional goat sale on Monday, 11 April, 2011 at the Bega saleyards. Sale organiser and angora goat breeder Charlie Bell was

thrilled with the large turnout and interest at the sale. “I didn’t realise there were so many people interested in goats in the Bega valley but they are here today.” He says the strength of the first sale was in the interest for meat goats. “The better animals are going for more money, so are the meat goats, the Boer goats. We are very lucky to have a buyer here who is buying for an abattoir down in Melbourne so he is buying some of the larger animals for meat.” Charlie Bell says the success of the first sale means there is potential for more.

No to herb and spice levy A recent proposal for the Australian Herb & Spice Industry Association to implement a research and development levy has been turned down by industry growers. Of the thirty-four growers that returned ballot papers, only thirty-two per cent supported it. A second proposal for the Australian Herb & Spice

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011

Industry Association to subscribe to the governmentindustry group Plant Health Australia was also defeated, with fifty-seven per cent of voters saying no, disappointing the peak body. The association’s president, Robert Hayes commented that it leaves the industry without muchneeded R&D and open to biosecurity risks.


Dr Suess and the green alpaca?

importer. He says the Chinese

“There are just a couple of rules. You have to grow pecans in a place where you can grow more of them per acre, cheaper per acre than other places in the world. Now we’ve got some spots like that in Australia, and probably from Griffith right through to Bundaberg. The main limited features are a deep, welldrained soil and a secure supply of water,” Mr Durack says.


National Conference for Hydroponic and Greenhouse Growers Protected Cropping Australia is holding its biennial conference from 3rd to 6th July at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Formerly the Australian Hydroponic & Greenhouse Conference, this is the eleventh such national conference. The conference starts on Sunday 3rd July with the opening of the trade exhibition, which covers a wide range of industry trades including greenhouses, irrigation and climate controllers, movable screens, seeds, fertilisers, chemicals, growing media, propagators, IPM specialists, etc. As well as Australian companies exhibiting, there are also many from Holland and New Zealand. Lectures and workshops are held all day Monday and Tuesday, presented by Australian and overseas experts, many of whom are world leaders in their field. Nearly 30 different presentations are on the program, giving delegates a wide choice of topics. The program includes a series of fundamental topics specifically for new and intending growers, who are particularly welcome.


A highlight will be Dutch expert Ben van Onna introducing the impressive ‘Simcom4’ environmental control training package. Included will be updates of international developments in greenhouse and hydroponic technologies, biological control, IPM, etc. Following upon the great success of grower presentations at the previous conference, there will be many more presentations including growers sharing their real world experience. Also covered are interesting newer areas such as aquaponics and organic hydroponics.


On Wednesday, delegates have the option of going on an all-day farm tour, including a visit to a 17-hectare, state-ofthe-art glasshouse facility. There will be many opportunities to network, which is a valuable aspect of these conferences. Lunch and tea breaks are long enough to maximise time with other growers, exhibitors and experts. There are also great social functions, where the emphasis will be on networking. A welcome reception will be held on Sunday evening and the conference banquet dinner on Monday evening. For more information: pcaconference@westnet. or

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011

Australian Regional Food Guide In 1998, believing that Australian and overseas travellers needed to have a way of knowing where they could see and taste genuine local produce and products, Sally and Gordon Hammond began the Australian Regional Food Guide. Together they travelled to every Australian region, speaking with producers, gaining background information and taking photographs. First published in 1999, it was the first-ever guide to around 1500 food producers, restaurants and regional food-related activities around the country. The book was totally updated in 2004, and in 2005 a supporting website was introduced. Because of the ease of keeping information updated and widely available, this has become the continuation of the hardcopy guidebooks. That website is www. This website continues to grow and has become an interactive worldwide resource for all people involved with Australian food and cookery, as well as the travelling public and others interested in learning about what this country does best. The site

lists over 4000 food businesses, events, markets and other regional food-related places of interest. “We love meeting local people and learning about shat they are doing,” says Sally. “Their passion for what they are doing, their innovative methods, and gutsy courage in the face of economic and climatic challenges have always inspired us. That is why we encourage people to get on the road, visit the farmers, go to the markets, attend local food festivals and be extremely proud of what this country is doing!” In yet another first, for the past three years the Hammonds have been working with a NSW government department to foster business links between local NSW producers, chefs and other potential buyers. Industry and Investment NSW is offering eligible NSW regional and non-alcoholic beverage producers, a fully subsidised Gold Premier listing on the ARFG website.

Global food security: facts, issues and implications The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences recently published a paper that highlights issues and provides information on the global and Australian food security prospects. With global population growth combined with rising incomes, demand for food will continue to increase. But while many developing countries have growing middle-classes with changing diets, there remains a significant core of food deficit countries with, in many cases, populations that continue to expand. The paper also discusses various challenges facing Australia in the food security context, including the

availability of resources for food production, climate change, and productivity in agriculture. The importance of world trade is emphasised. Australia produces twice as much food as it consumes, and the report concludes that there is no foreseeable risk to Australia’s domestic food security. Australia’s food exports, however, make only a modest contribution to global food security, and Australia can make a greater contribution by providing direct technical assistance to developing countries. The paper can be downloaded for free from the website.

Spotted anything


NOTHING WILL PROTECT YOUR CROPS AND THE ENVIRONMENT MORE THAN A GOOD HARD LOOK It is important that you are aware of the risk. If you spot anything unusual on your crop or in the general environment, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881. The call is free (except for mobiles) and early detection will help protect your farm, your industry and the environment. For more information visit:


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Improving national biosecurity outcomes through partnerships

Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2011 Fruit Logistica in Berlin, is the largest fruit and vegetable trade show on the planet, and recently an Australian native lime company beat some of the global fresh produce giants to claim the highly prized, Fruit Logistica Innovation Award. Limeburst Fingerlimes was awarded the top prize at the show. Branded as “citrus caviar”, fingerlimes hold their juice within small bubbles, that burst when chewed, releasing a tangy lime flavour. James Boyd, managing director of Limeburst Australia, said it had been a steady path toward the recognition. “It has taken 15 years to develop the product to this level of sophistication,” Mr Boyd said. “The Innovation Award will help our business to gain further ground in the market.” Limeburst Fingerlimes beat the Jamie Oliver “Grow Your Own” herb range from the Casa Group, Denmark which came second, and the Netherlands’ creation, the Almond Mushroom by Prime Champ, a mushroom with a distinctive nutty flavour, which

placed third. It is apparently the first time the award has gone to a non-European nation. According to the Fruit Logistica judging comments: “Chefs have been quick to realise the fingerlimes potential, not only as a novel and unique product, but also as a key taste accompaniment to both complex and simple dishes.” Fingerlimes have only recently been developed for marketing on an international scale, and are targeted chiefly at the high end restaurant and food service sector. Martha Shepherd, director of Australian Native Food Industry Limited (ANFIL) said this win will raise the profile of uniquely Australian flavours. “Any kind of recognition like this is just outstanding,” Ms Shepherd said. She said foods often make their way into mainstream diets via chefs and restaurants that are willing to try them first.

Wanted: Australian Essential Oils Down Under Enterprises is a leading exporter of pure Australian essential oils to the United States. We have been selling bulk Australian essential oils since 2002, working with well known consumer brands, private label manufacturers, and up-and-coming firms in the Natural Products Market. We are seeking relationships with growers of Australian essential oils. Growers must offer reliable supply of high quality oils. Please contact Dee-Ann on 0488 070 939 or

Down Under Enterprises

Russell and Maree Lewis Chapman River Olives

Products produced: olives and olive oil

Q: What inspired you to get involved in a new rural industry?

Olive trees are hardy and produce a healthy product for human consumption. Also, Olive oil is trendy and a healthy choice.

Q: What have been the pitfalls you have overcome? How?

The key one has been pests (black scale). Our challenge has been to beat this with pruning rather than with chemicals. The bonus in this has been we have preserved friendly predators (lady birds and wasps) that would normally be exterminated with pesticides applied to eradicate scale – and yet these friendly predators remove the scale.

Q: What do you consider your successes? What do you attribute these to?

We have proven, against expert advice, that the Midwest of WA can grow olives in both quantity and quality. Quality has been evidenced by Silver Awards at the Perth Royal Show Extra Virgin Olive Oil (“EVOO”) competition. We have also had other entries gain awards at the Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney Royal Agricultural Shows. Amongst our sales promotions, our EVOO has been chosen as a gift by BHP and NAB for their seminar attendees, and well-known restaurants and wineries within WA choose our EVOO because of its aromatic flavours.

Q: What are 5 tips you could give others in new rural industries?

1. If you are about to buy a property on which to establish an expensive enterprise, don’t try to save by buying rubbish soil. The land component will likely become a small part of your total outlay and end up being an expensive way to save money. 2. Establish what your water supply and water quality will be before buying. If already owned, make sure there is a sustainable water supply before planting.

3. In the first year of establishing an olive plantation, plant a small number of every variety possible. Patience is needed but time will fly and you’ll soon know at cropping stage which best suites your property, even better than expert advice. 4. Once your product has reached its potential for the supermarket shelf and has experienced some form of recognition (by entering the oil in a reputable agricultural show), try to approach up market food stores to take your product for their supermarket shelves. Keep interested and up to speed with what the public expect and where the market is heading on a regular basis. The world is full of change and competition! Q. What is your future vision for your business?

To spend more time showcasing the product in upmarket grocery stores and supermarkets in Perth. We want to employ a distributor to take the product to other states in Australia and overseas, and offer more restaurants our olive oil from the Midwest of Western Australia (which has different flavours to those oils produced in the South west region). We plan to buy our own olive press so that the olive oil is taken from ‘tree to press’ with no time lag – and we plan to achieve a gold medal for our oil at the Royal Agricultural Shows throughout Australia.


Chapman River Olives was started in 1999 with 1,100 olive trees. They started producing olive oil in 2004 and now have 6,000 trees on 24 hectares. The farm is 1,600 acres and in addition to the olives, they do broad acre farming and also run stock. They are located 20 minutes from the centre of Geraldton in WA.


Angela Betheras Nickelby At Darnum

Alpacas, alpaca garments

Q: What inspired you to get involved in a new rural industry?

Whilst alpacas are considered a “new rural industry” the industry was about 16 years young in Australia when I first entered the industry in 2004 so I saw it as stable industry with very little risk. I grew up on a beef farm in Labertouche, West Gippsland, so my family have always been farmers and it was natural for me to one day “come home” and consider farming as a life. When I met alpacas and then got to know many of the breeders, the alpacas just ticked all the boxes for me and their fleece is just lovely to work with so it met my criteria of what I wanted from the industry.

Q: What have been the pitfalls you have overcome? How?

I don’t think I can really think of any pitfalls that I have had to overcome. I certainly had the difficulties of not following everyone’s advice and cutting my teeth on a couple of weathers, instead I decided to purchase three maiden females so I had a steep learning curve with matings and pregnancies and ovarian cysts but with the help of a friendly vet I managed to get through all of that and learn a great deal very quickly.


In starting up Nickelby At Darnum there were challenges as it was a completely new business and I invested a great deal of money into the establishment of the venture but as they say, the harder the work the luckier you are!


Q: What do you consider your successes? What do you attribute these to?

I think Nickelby At Darnum is certainly a success. It has been going for three years and has managed

to survive natural disasters, GFO etc. Winning the RIRDC 2011 Victorian Rural Women of the Year is certainly one of my successes and the work I have done in the tourism industry in West Gippsland is something I am very proud of. Hard work, dedication and belief in what I am doing is going to work I think are the reasons for these successes.

Q: What are 5 tips you could give others in new rural industries?

1. Research your industry to see if it is going to deliver you your required outcomes. 2. Don’t underestimate the costs involved in becoming involved. 3. Meet as many people you can and get involved in the running of your industry and help out. 4. Market your business and your industry whenever you can. 5. Stay positive because there will be many who will happily tell you that you are mad and it will never work.

Q: What is your future vision for your business?

The vision is to grow. To expand into offering light lunches and have the venue licensed. To find a great team who can join me in growing to this next level. To grow Nickelby Designs both locally and internationally. To expand the offering in the shop to olive products, jams, etc and finally to ensure that when visitors come to Nickelby At Darnum they continue to leave with a smile on their faces and are already talking about when they are coming back and who they are going to bring!

Vanessa Hicks and Matthew Butcher Salt of the Earth Enterprises P/L

Seasoning and spice mixes

Q: What inspired you to get involved in a new rural industry?

Our inspiration came from our own love of cooking and eating good wholesome and tasty food. This drove us to experiment with seasonings and flavours and so far we have now developed 3 flavours within our range. We now have 20 years experience selling direct to the public through exhibitions and festivals, filling a gap in the market that is not covered by retail stores.

Q: What have been the pitfalls you have overcome? How?

When starting a project such as this, one pitfall is the time it takes to learn all the regulations and obtain the certifications that are required to produce and sell a food item. When you are excited about selling something you have created, it can take the fun out of the whole experience.

Q: What do you consider your successes? What do you attribute these to?

We consider it a success to be finally coming out the other side with a great product that we believe everyone will love. We took time to create a product that suits anyone and anything, has

good strong branding, and is noticeable in the marketplace. We also love it when we receive phone calls every day with re-orders from existing customers. All we need now is for a good quality retail company to take our product to their shelves and really drive this forward – assisting our customers to buy Smoke and Roast with minimum hassle or effort. 

Q. What are 5 tips you could give others in new rural industries?

1. Never give up. 2. When someone tells you it can’t be done, find another way that it can be done. 3. Sell at markets. It’s a cheap way to get feedback and do your research while paying the way to move your business forward. 4. Develop good branding. Make yourself and your product noticeable. 5. Build a website. It’s definitely the way of the future and everyone asks for your website address.

Q. What is your future vision for your business?

To keep expanding our range of flavours and products. We would love to see the Smoke and Roast brand easily accessible  in retail stores . We would also love to see a chain of good quality take-away restaurants use our Smoke and Roast as a staple in their kitchens (it really is that good!!). In addition, we have some secret family recipes that we want to develop in the future, and market to the public.


Salt of The Earth Enterprises P/L is a small company that creates Australian-made seasonings and spice mixes. They develop new and unusual products through a love of tasty food and appreciation of all things good. Their most recent project is Smoke and Roast, which is a seasoning mix you can use instead of salt and pepper, when cooking, to transform an everyday meal into a gourmet feast.


Jude Mayall Outback Chef

Australian native herbs, spices, fruits and berries, glace fruits, pastes, Bush Honey nougat and marinades Outback Chef has been operating for about 5 years. Its range of specialty bush food are sold to retail shops, specialty delicatessens, caterers and restaurants. It operates a wholesale and retail trade, and purchasing can also be done via the website. Outback Chef sources its products direct from the growers and supports Aboriginal community growers.

Q: What inspired you to get involved in a new rural industry?

I managed an Aboriginal art gallery in Melbourne for many years, and curated art exhibitions in America, Europe and Japan. As a botanical artist, I had an artist-in-residence with Parks Victoria for 2 years — and my focus has always been Aboriginal art and Australian native plants. Through involvement in Aboriginal art I learnt a lot about bush food from the Aboriginal women who taught me through their wonderful paintings. This fuelled a desire to go further with native food. OUTBACK CHEF has been a natural and passionate progression from there.

Q. What have been the pitfalls you have overcome? How?


Certainly financial – I have had to hold another job whilst developing Outback Chef.


Educating people is also important — I find most love the idea of cooking with bushfood, but just don’t know how to go about it. Our website contains information and easy to follow recipes. Q. What do you consider your successes? What do you attribute these to? I really love what I do and also believe in it. It just makes sense with all the climate issues that we

have, to grow food that can survive without using excess water, smothering them in sprays, etc. The strength of my business is looking after all clients, regardless of the size of the order. There’s a Community Forum on my website it’s a great facility for everyone. Doesn’t cost anything, they don’t have to buy from the site, but it’s there to share experiences and information.

Q. What are 5 tips you could give others in new rural industries?

1. Do as much research as possible. 2. Present yourself and your products professionally. 3. Value your clients, relate to them and listen to their needs. 4. Be prepared to be a teacher. 5. Do your sums first. The Australian native food industry is still emerging and sometimes sales aren’t thick on the ground.

Q. What is your future vision for your business?

Create more products and obviously more sales. I also want to open a retail outlet to sell products and to hold cooking classes. My vision also, is to get a community bushfood garden going as a place where adults and children can come and learn. There are many schools that I’ve supplied seeds to that are busy creating their own gardens. To build on that further would be fantastic — encouraging gardeners to incorporate, not only native flowering plants, but also native foods in their garden.

John Foss The Chia Company

Chia Seed and Chia Products

Q: What inspired you to get involved in a new rural industry?

I completed a Nuffield Scholarship looking at major food trends and recognised Health and Wellness as a number one trend in food. I discovered Chia is the richest combined source of Omega 3, fibre, protein and antioxidants and that the North of Australia is at the right latitude to grow Chia. Focusing on health and wellness with Chia, I also wanted to manage the full supply chain from farm through to customer and developing a new industry from the beginning enabled me to do that.

Q: What have been the pitfalls you have overcome? How?

every step of the way, this has enabled us to supply major food manufacturers here in Australia and overseas.

Q: What are 5 tips you could give others in new rural industries?

1. Start with the market and work back down the supply chain. 2. Look at international as well as domestic markets and invest in travel and learning. 3. Passion for your product, long term commitment and focus on your goals is critical. 4. Team up with people who share your vision. 5. Ensure the business has access to sufficient funds.

Q: What is your future vision for your business?

Our vision is to make a positive contribution to the health and wellbeing of communities globally. The Chia Company will continue with our goal of making Chia available to all Australians on a daily basis through everyday foods and continue our strong growth into North American, Asian and European Markets.

As a latitude specific crop Chia is a very difficult to grow, requiring specific day length, water availability and harvest techniques. We have spent years perfecting the agronomics and supply chain to produce and deliver the best quality Chia in the world.

Q: What do you consider your successes? What do you attribute these to?

Our success has been developing a quality production system and supply chain from farm through to customers and managing our quality

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011


The Chia Company is an Australian company specialising in the sustainable farming and development of Chia seed and Chia products. We grow all of our Chia in the Kimberley region in Western Australia. The Chia Company was founded in 2003 and we have doubled our production year on year since then. The Chia Company is the largest producer of Chia in the world supplying Chia to major food manufacturers here in Australia and overseas as well as producing our own retail line of Chia products including Chia Seed, Chia Oil, Chia Bran, Chia Ground Seed and Chia Shots.


Para Park Co-operative Game Reserve Limited Wildlife conservation and management of Hog Deer on Sunday Island Para Park is a not-for-profit co-operative on Sunday Island – situated between Wilson’s Promontory and Ninety Mile Beach in South Gippsland. It was established 45 years ago with the primary purpose of wildlife conservation and wildlife management – with particular emphasis on a population of Hog Deer located on the island. The Co-op owns the whole of Sunday Island, with extensive recreational facilities and wildlife conservation programs in place.

Q. What inspired you to get involved in a new rural industry?


Para Park Easter 2011

16 16

In 1965 an opportunity came up to purchase an island in Corner Inlet which contained a small herd of Hog Deer, or Para Deer as they are known, in some of their native habitat, hence our name Para Park. Hog Deer where introduced into Australia in 1861 with the first release into the wild being made by the Acclimatization Society in 1865. Although they have held on since then there was concern about their declining population, both here in Australia and also in a lot of their native habitat throughout Asia. This prompted a group of concerned people to form the Para Park Cooperative Game Reserve Limited and purchase Sunday Island. Some 45 years on we have a strong population of Hog Deer, up with the strongest in the world. We have conducted research into Hog Deer and a world first book on the Hog Deer has been produced by the late Geoff Moore and Ron Mayze, based on their research of the deer on the island.

hands-on scientifically based wildlife conservation program; opportunity to hunt Hog Deer as part of the management program during hunting season, and some of the best fishing in Victoria.

Q: What do you consider your successes? What do you attribute these to?

We have taken it from a herd of approximately 30 to 40 deer to a strong herd of 300 to 400 deer. We have conducted 45 years of research and documentation of the Hog Deer and made this information available for use elsewhere. The Co-operative has created something unique and it will survive for many more years.

Q: What are 5 tips you could give others in new rural industries?

1. You really need to understand your goals, both short term and long term. 2. You need to identify an action plan to achieve those goals and make sure each of your planned actions is really contributing to your set goals. 3. Continually review your plan and that the planned actions are achieving the goals you expected. 4. Be prepared to change as the environment you operate in changes. 5. Involve the people and make it fun.

Q: What have been the pitfalls you have

Q: What is your future vision for your business?

Getting and keeping members has been an issue. The Co-operative has up to 210 members. There is a once-off fee for share capital and a joining-fee, and then an annual amount paid to go towards maintaining the facilities. Members get unlimited access to the island, great social and safe family environment, opportunity to participate in a

overcome? How?

We want to maintain a strong and healthy herd of Hog Deer. At the same time we will continue to improve our knowledge of and environmental requirements of the Hog deer — with our own research and supporting other research worldwide — and we want everyone to have fun while doing it.

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“We believe in Global Worming”

W collaboration

hen David and Beth Davidson moved on to their 40 hectare property 20 minutes north of Ballarat, over 20 years ago, their aim was to have more space for their horses.


David had been heavily involved in Harness Racing, both as a breeder and a trainer /driver, so moving from a ½ acre allotment to 100 acres was a dream come true. They estimated that the carrying capacity of their new property would be around 20 to 25 head of horses or cattle. Little did they know that today, the farm would be carrying over 5 million head of stock as well as the 15 cows and 10 horses. David jokingly refers to himself as an “underground livestock producer” which often has people thinking of some connection to the Mafia. He is, of course, a Worm Farmer. Currently, President of the Australian Worm Growers Association, David, with Beth, regularly attend the Farmers Markets in their area selling Compost Worms, Worm Farms, Worm Castings and their rapidly-becoming-famous Worm Tea. They also send out dozens of Farmer’s Starter Kits each year to enable other farmers to embark in chemical-free, sustainable farming. Not surprisingly, they named their business, “Davos Worm Farms”. Starting off with a few hundred red tiger worms, an ongoing supply of horse manure, and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, David started researching and acquiring knowledge on all aspects of vermiculture. Beths’ favourite saying when the mail man arrives is “Oh not another b*#! book”. But, all the reading and research has paid off, as David now is regularly consulted by people from all over Australia for information and advice on Worm farming.

By Helen Disler

Strangely enough, the Davidsons’ interest in worms stemmed from an advertisement in the local paper featuring a buy-back scheme. These schemes were very popular in the nineties, with people being lured by unscrupulous operators who often espoused the amazing breeding potential of worms and produced graphs and figures to show that good money could be made from a modest outlay. The clincher was that they would guarantee to buy back the worms at a set price. The reality was that these operators never had the market to place the worms and they would abscond with the investors start up money, only to start up again somewhere else, looking for new victims. So when David decided to accept the position of President of the Australian Worm Growers Vermiculture Inc. after spending a couple of years as a normal member, he set about re-establishing the credibility of the Industry. The organisation had dwindled from the heady days of the scammers when there were over 200 members, down to a small core of three or four loyal and genuine worm farmers. With the help of the promotion of a business called ‘Farming Secrets’, over the past two years the numbers have climbed to 17 members at present – with all genuine and committed Worm Growers. And inquiries from potential new members continue to come in. David sees the potential growth of the industry as unlimited, with the growing awareness of the need to produce more healthy food by moving away from chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. Also, the need to prevent the ever- increasing flow of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and instead sequester it in the soil. Part of this atmospheric pollution is coming from traditional farming methods, as well as emissions from the multitude of landfill rubbish tips and the Worm farmers believe they have a critical role to play in preserving the planet for future generations. David is currently working on a variety of projects including working with the Ballarat City Council and the Ballarat University in looking at ways of converting the hundreds of tonnes of Lake Weed

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011

The sign at his Farmers Market stall says it all. “We believe in Global Worming”. Note from the Editor:

This story touched my heart as my own mother , back in the 90’s, was one of the many people who was conned by an advertisement in the local paper featuring a buy-back scheme on worm farms. She invested money based on the graphs and figures spouted by the con men, and lost it all.

David Davidson digs for worms in his paddock.jpg

Her love for worms, however, simply got stronger and some 15 years later she spends hours collecting manure to feed her worm farm that she uses to produce wonderful vegetables for the family. I wish that she had known David back then – and I will certainly pass his contact details onto her now. I told her (kiddingly) last year that when she dies I will throw her body into the worm bed with the manure, as that is where she is happiest! We both had a chuckle over the idea. I mean – what would the relatives think!!

He is also working with landscape gardeners looking at using vermicast as a base for new “Instant Lawn” installations. An issue in this industry is the large amount of water required to sustain the new lawn whilst the grass roots become established, and with vermicast having the potential to hold six times its own weight in water, David sees an opportunity to solve the problem whilst increasing the awareness of the potential for vermi-composting, bearing in mind that the compost can be made from every day household waste, currently going to landfill. David has also been working with commercial “hot house flower growers” demonstrating the amazing ability of Worm Tea or Worm Leachate to promote faster, stronger growth, with disease resistant plants, that also have a much longer shelf life. Whilst still doing his 53 hours per fortnight, part time as a Drug and Alcohol Counsellor in a D.& A. Residential Detox Centre (a job David loves for the satisfaction of being able to help young people get their lives back on track), he still trains and drives the odd trotter, and runs the rapidly expanding Worm Business. David still finds the time to have an open door policy for visitors wishing to personally inspect his operations, but is trying to cut back on the hours he spends on the phone each night, fielding questions from interested farmers and small landholders. However, he places no limits on the amount of emails he is willing to answer as he continues to push the role of Worms in our war against Greenhouse Gases. Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011


currently harvested from Lake Wendouree, in to quality soil via vermi-composting.


Take your costs and double them


By Peter Fritz and Jeanne-Vida Douglas


y now, you have probably figured out that the basic approach to creating a stable, sustainable business is all about keeping your costs to a minimum and focusing on your customers (to the point of becoming ever-so-slightly obsessive).


You know you have a great idea, you know you’ve got the skills to actually start up a business, but all the great ideas in the world will get you nowhere if you can’t balance what you bring into the business with what goes out in terms of expenditure. While there are lots of underlying reasons why businesses fail, the ultimate cause of the failure is always cash flow. Businesses run out of the money they need to service the bills coming in, usually because they took on those bills without first ensuring that there were lots of customers out there willing to pay them for their goods and services. When Kristine Bailey set about designing a business plan for her company, Flower Food, she was sure she had everything covered. Having wanted to launch her own business for many years, she finally found the idea she had been looking for. While travelling on an international flight, she had come across an ad for a posy of flowers carved out of fruit. As far as she knew, no-one was offering this kind of gift in the Australian market. She figured that she would have an interesting point of difference over competitors in the corporate and personal gifting space, and that she could survive by using the web as a marketing tool and keeping her overheads low. With $20,000 in savings, she set out to launch and rapidly expand her idea into a company. However, with a background in marketing and no hands-on business experience, she knew she’d need to get some help to ensure the business plan was based in reality. Although she didn’t realise it at the time, Bailey was taking an enormous risk – the very same risk almost all small business people start out with – taking all her hard-earned funds and sinking them into a product or service that hadn’t been tested.

Small companies often make the mistake of wanting to adopt the same approaches and practices as large companies. They want the brand and the infrastructure and the marketing, without first establishing their capacity to actually sell their product. No business, no matter how big or small, survives if it spends more on making and promoting its products than it will make on selling them. Big businesses can occasionally afford to make a loss on individual products because they have usually established that they can make money from selling other products. But small businesses do not have that luxury, and should never shoulder all that extra risk. Bailey was lucky. In the short term, she had access to a lot of support from friends and family. Having drafted the business plan herself, she went knocking on doors and asked every experienced businessperson she knew to read through it and tell her what they thought. She aimed to minimise her costs through extensive use of online marketing and by automating as many of her services as possible. Not wanting to lose business to copycats, she wanted to establish herself in lots of cities, as quickly as possible. She knew she would need to spend her modest funds on creating the website and installing commercial kitchens in each city, and opted to invest in technology to do much of the clerical and account-keeping work. Because orders were placed either online or over the phone, she was able to invoice in advance, and didn’t need to fuss around with chasing up payment. By investing in software, she was able to automate most of her back-office business processes and only employ people directly involved in providing services. However, the one hole in her plan was that she was planning to spend money before she made it. It turned out her costs very nearly prevented her from turning her funky idea into a successful venture. Like the vast majority of aspiring businesspeople, she’d focused on her prices without fully

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011

The one crucial piece of advice she received, as it turned out, came from her mother. ‘Would the business still make money if you doubled your costs?’ she asked, after reading through the business plan. ‘If not, you’d better be careful, because businesses fail when they can’t pay their bills.’ Although she had researched the cost of renting and fitting out the facilities she thought she’d need, Baker had forgotten to build in contingency plans or provide much wiggle room for unexpected holdups or regulatory requirements that might slow her business down. Because she’d planned to cover all her costs upfront, she faced a very real danger of losing her life savings due to a single unexpected cost. Luckily for her, she went back to her business plan and redid the numbers from scratch. Taking her mum’s advice, she doubled the costings and revised her pricing accordingly – and yes, the business could still make money. If you can see no other way around paying upfront for facilities, and no other way to find customers than actually developing your business, doubling your costs in your initial business plan is a way to build in wiggle room and focus your attention on the need to make sure every cent you spend on facilities will bring in customers with cold, hard cash. Doubling the costs in your business plan will enable you to adjust your estimates to a worst-casepossible scenario, rather than planning for a perfect run and discovering six months in that retail rents were higher than you initially thought, and being forced to close as a result.

Cash flow (or lack thereof) is what kills most small businesses. The rule of thumb is not to spend money until you’re actually making it. This is the most risk-free approach and can be, with a little bit of imagination, applied to most businesses. If you want to open a cafe, begin a catering business you can run from home. If you want to start a coaching college, start out tutoring at the local library. If you want to be a personal trainer, don’t pay to use a gym; begin to build customers by offering fitness classes in the local park. The most risk-free way to begin your business is to get customers before spending on anything. And this isn’t only true of small businesses. Large infrastructure projects such as inner-city office towers, shopping complexes and computer data centres need to have secured an anchor tenant before they go ahead with a build. Many of us go into business with a picture in our minds and mistakenly think that if we fulfil that picture we will be successful. The problem is that the picture isn’t the business; that picture is what we want the business to look and feel like. The business only exists insofar as it has customers walking through the door and paying money for your goods and services, regardless of what it looks like. Your costs can become your downfall unless you know you can keep them under control. This is an excerpt from the book The Profit Principle, and it is available from all good bookshops and online at www. The Profit Principle; Peter Fritz and Jeanne –Vida Douglas; John Wiley and Sons Australia, Ltd; © year Reprinted with permission of John Wiley & Sons Australia”

COMPETITION – Win a copy of “The Profit Principle” To enter go to our facebook page here 1. Post on the NRIA’s Facebook Wall, a statement of 40 words or less, detailing why you are passionate about a new rural industry/product – either one that you are directly involved in, or one that you, as a consumer, think is superb. (Note: a personal Facebook page is required to post on another’s page. If you do not have a Facebook page and do not wish to start one, send your statement of 40 words or less to for posting). 2. Tell your colleagues, friends and family to go to the NRIA Facebook page and choose the statement they LIKE best. 3. The statement with the most LIKES by 15 July 2011 wins a copy of The Profit Principle.


considering her costs. She’d researched her market and she knew how much money people would be willing to spend on this kind of service, but she was terribly mistaken when it came to how much it would cost her to roll her service out.

Making the Environment Work for Us



ll rural industries can prosper only from successful production of plants or animals, which is dependent on the natural systems that make up the natural environment. These industries in turn affect the environment around them in many ways, with some of the impacts affecting people and places at long distances.


An increasing array of laws and regulatory systems impose obligations on rural activities and on manufacturing and trading. Market requirements involving sound environmental credentials are increasing. Now that Walmart, the world’s biggest storekeeper, is building environmental considerations into all of its purchasing, this trend will surely accelerate and become all pervasive. Industries have to act in concert with others in the supply chain, with increasingly more of them embracing advanced local and international sustainability and environmental goals and systems. Rural industries often stand out in the countryside. Immediate and further afield neighbours are always interested in the impact and appearance of agricultural and associated businesses. We know from the experience of other widespread rural industries that a poor public image, often arising from perceptions of poor environmental performance, or even of environmental harm, handicaps the industries concerned. We instead want our industries to be popular locally and with those we deal with so they will not suffer distractions, reverses, and loss of reputation, or attract detailed regulation and surveillance. Many inputs used by rural industries have environmental consequences, for example, water, fertilisers, energy and fuel, cleaning agents, transport, packaging and refrigeration. The more efficiently they are used, the lower the costs and the less the environmental impact. Establishment and operation of industry infrastructure – for example, machinery, buildings, roads and water

By Nelson Quinn management systems – have environmental impacts. So everyone in rural industries is an environmental manager. The potential advantages related to improved environmental management include easier accommodation of laws and regulatory systems, better product quality, improved biosecurity, continuing market access, increased market opportunities, positive public image and reputation, and reduced costs, all of which combine to increase the resilience and adaptability of an industry. This means we can gain advantages from these pressures, rather than have a long-term, increasing and continuing burden. Health and safety and biosecurity obligations are a part of environmental management. So there are synergies available from looking at these issues holistically. Any enterprises that are listed on the Australian Stock Exchange are now required to include environmental risks in their risk management reporting. The expanding reach and increase of these pressures and the need to respond to environmental changes symbolised by issues such as global warming that will affect everyone and every industry mean that ‘doing nothing’ or ‘business as usual’ approaches are not viable.

The olive industry is well down the track in coming to grips with the issues. As is common in many industries, there is great variety in the industry – scale and style of enterprise, location, management approaches, skills and knowledge, access to resources, personal aspirations and business structures and models. It is not hard to identify the main environmental impacts of the industry. It is equally evident, however, that the same kinds of issues are not amenable to the same treatment everywhere and in different kinds of enterprises. As RIRDC has pointed out, ‘Australia’s producers operate in a dynamic, uncertain environment where issues emerge and change quickly’. It follows that there are no useful ‘one size fits all’ approaches, and that flexibility is needed to accommodate the inevitability of changing situations. Many enterprises are combined with other rural activities and with processing, retailing or tourism. It is better to cover all at once if possible. Similarly there is an overlap of environmental management issues with safety and quality. The olive industry has concluded that the simplest way to address these issues effectively is by using an environmental management system approach. This avoids the need to develop, maintain or operate multiple systems for different parts of the industry. An environmental management system approach enables customisation by enterprises to suit their unique circumstances, at different locations, times and business models. It avoids a static approach, as it is based on continuous improvement principles.

example legal compliance, water use, retention and expansion of natural habitats and biodiversity, efficient machinery use and transition to renewable energy sources. The new rural industries could work together to provide support to all of them on these generic issues. All industries in Australia are located in one of the natural resource management regions supported by Commonwealth, State and Territory governments. The catchment management authorities associated with them are a good source of information on local issues and priorities and on practical support, incentive programs and contacts. There is a need for positive action on environmental management because of pressures such as law and regulation, increasing costs, natural forces, market forces, neighbourhood expectations, health and safety obligations, stock exchange rules and biosecurity. Doing nothing is not a viable approach, but there is an opportunity to gain competitive advantage through meeting and exceeding community expectations. Nelson Quinn. Nelson has been a Director of the Australian Olive Association. He has undertaken research supported by RIRDC on olive industry environment issues and on environmental management systems. He is Chair of a not-for-profit organisation fostering improved environmental management — Australian Landcare Management System Ltd, and is involved in other landscape management organisations.

Many enterprises pursue exports, and so any system benefits from arrangements with overseas as well as local credibility. The olive industry has accepted that the best way to achieve this is to use systems compliant with the recognised international standard, ISO 14001. Not surprisingly, it has much correspondence with the international quality standard, ISO 9001. The industry has included an environmental obligation with these features in its Code of Practice for quality production and fair dealing. Once issues have been identified, there is still a need to act on them. There is now a vast amount of information to help. Industry associations can help by identifying basic and more detailed sources of help for the benefit of all. There are some issues common to most, if not all, industries, for Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011


The issue is what to do about these inescapable industry – environment interactions and their production, social and financial consequences.


Agricultural irrigation practices and systems



ccording to National Geographic, some 80% of the world’s fresh water is used for irrigation. And of this, 60% of water used for irrigation is wasted through evaporation, leaky channels and mismanagement. Successful irrigation design is essential — both to know how much water should be applied to crops and how frequently it should be applied.


The design of an irrigation system needs to effectively deal with soil and crop types, field size, shape and water supply. It also needs to be capable of delivering sufficient water during times of peak crop demand. Planning an irrigation system for a new area requires some knowledge of soil types and the soil water reservoir. The soil is a reservoir of the water used by plants. Once it has been filled to capacity by irrigation or rainfall, the reservoir gradually becomes depleted by transpiration and evaporation, or evapo-transpiration (ET). When the soil moisture reaches a predetermined minimum level (refill level), then irrigation should be applied in order to restore the soil moisture level to field capacity. If the soil moisture drops below the predetermined minimum level, the plants will wilt, and loss of yield can occur. Irrigation scheduling is a system of working out when and how much water to apply to meet the quality and yield objectives. When to irrigate depends on the time it takes for the plant to use up

By Jim Cuthbertson

the ready available water in the soil. The amount of water to be applied should not exceed the amount of water that can be held in the root zone. Scheduling is best done based on soil moisture sensors (a very effective method to estimate when to irrigate). A second method of scheduling can be done based on an indirect measurement of plant water use from meteorological data and the irrigation run times used by the plant since the previous irrigation event. In this case, water use is calculated from either pan evaporation or evapotranspiration (ET). Successful irrigation requires not only efficient design but also proper scheduling. The latter is dependent to a large degree on the ability of the farmer to carry out irrigation events properly. Nowadays there are many control systems available ranging from Irrigation management and soil moisture systems to a manually controlled operation. From simply timer devices, to more complex systems, the cost and design can be adjusted to the size and scope of the operation. On my own rural property, I have developed approximately 2 Ha of irrigation trials where olive, hazelnuts, truffles, and pomegranates trees are planted. I have installed conventional drip, micro spray and KISSS sub surface irrigation systems. To monitor and control these systems I installed a WISA Irrigation Management System together with several EviroPro EP100 series 4 sensors soil moisture probes to monitor the trial. The probes are buried vertically providing reliable soil moisture, salinity and temperature readings. The probes and station solenoid valves are connected to the WISA radio field unit where all data is then transferred by radio to my office computer. The WISA system also communicates with an Environdata Weather Station, which monitors daily weather conditions including ET. In time this information will be available on our web site. The object of these trials is to monitor water used through each type of system and to measure plant growth and yields on each plant variety, by comparing the effectiveness of drip, micro spray and sub surface irrigation.

There are many types of irrigation systems available – and your decision on which to use depends largely on your own business needs. The KISSS technology, an Australian Invention, revolves around the clever use of a capillary fiber and a water delivery system to water into the soil at the root zone. The technology has been developed to be used for agricultural crops, orchards, green roofs and planter beds, turf areas and landscaped areas. The KISSS system uses specialised geotextiles to spread water flowing from the dripline point source emitters to saturate an entire geotextile sheath. Water travels through the geotextile 10,000 times faster than through most soils. Hence the entire surface of the geotextile acts as one huge emitter to the surrounding soil media. This enables the system to deliver a far more uniform wetting front to the targeted root zone. Table 1 is a water use comparison Chart for the KISSS system versus standard sprinklers and drippers. Table 1: Water usage comparison

Prior to making a decision to purchase an irrigation system there are many factors you should consider. The following summary may assist you in making a decision. Table 2 indicates there are a number of irrigation consultants that can provide you with an estimate of costs, depending on your individual requirements. At the end of the day, whatever system you choose for your project, it is important that: • The materials and equipment specified are installed. • Installation is carried out to the manufacturer’s specifications. • The system is properly maintained and serviced. You need to have peace of mind knowing that the irrigation system is meeting your specific requirements. Jim Cuthbertson is an NRIA member and an irrigation consultant.

Table 2


Irrigation system


Water Cannon

Handshift Sprinklers

Solid Set

Lateral Move

Centre Pivot





Low Medium


Medium Low










Medium To low







Management Need of System










Special Requirements

Land Leveling Lanes


Lanes Automation


Suitable Slopes


Maintenance Filtration

Maintenance Air/Vacuum Filtration Pressure

Potential Application Efficiency









Very High


Slope Permeable soils Hard Setting




Speed of Operation

Speed of operation

Speed of operation

Water quality Water quality Budget Excessive slopes

Relative costs to apply 1 ML of water









Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011

Very low Limited Evaporation


Where do you start?


Agritourism: connecting communities




By Youna Angevin-Castro

omestic tourism is a significant contributor to the Australian economy. Despite a slight fall in recent years, according to the 2009 National Visitor Survey conducted by Tourism Research Australia, the total domestic economic value of day and overnight tourism was valued at $63.3 billion. With around 46 cents of every dollar spent on tourism in 2009 spent in regional Australia, it would be fair to assume that Australian farmers are beneficiaries of the Australian tourism industry. However, Australian agriculture remains a minor player when it comes to profiting from tourism. But it doesn’t have to be that way, says Pauline Porcaro, a tourism educator and director of Agritourism Australia. According to Pauline, Australia has an untapped potential in agritourism, which could provide farmers with additional income opportunities to help support their farms. Though commonly used in the United States, Canada and Europe, the term ‘agritourism’ is a relatively new one in Australia, and is essentially about connecting travellers with the wonders and attractions of rural Australia. It can involve providing accommodation to holidaymakers, selling produce at the farm gate, or even hosting activities, such as fruit picking or cattle mustering, on the farm.

builds strong communities and contributes to the culture of those communities,” Pauline said. In 2009, after receiving a fellowship from the International Specialist Skills Institute (ISSI) Pauline travelled to Italy, deemed the world capital of agritourism. It was there that she recognised the enormous opportunity for the Australian agricultural sector to develop its agritourism potential, and on her return penned a 130-page report urging governments to support the growth of agritourism back home. “In Italy, people seek out ‘agritourism holidays’… it’s become part of the vernacular. Its about more than a farm stay or a rural landscape, its about creating an experience involving food and activities and buying, and generally investing in the rural experience. And Australia is such a wonderful country to do all that.” Pauline says that Italy has seen a huge growth in agritourism over the last 20 years, due to strong government support for the industry. “The Italian government realised that a lot of people were leaving rural areas, and were driven to support agritourism as a way to keep people on their farms.”

“Essentially, agritourism is a very sustainable and environmentally-sound form of tourism, that

More than just supporting the concept, the Italian government have provided financial incentives for farmers to establish agritourism ventures. The Italian model provides significant financial capital for farmers to establish their agritourism

Greg Geddes farm, near Lakes Entrance in East Gippsland

Farm-stay at Tostaree Cottages, owned by Greg Geddes

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011

business, and in exchange farmers must commit to maintaining their farming activities.

Pauline believes that a similar model for agritourism support in Australia could mean that farmers would keep their farms during difficult times, rather than exiting the industry. “In Victoria, the drought has seen farmers obtain grants to leave the industry. If, instead, that money had been available to establish an agritourism business, then many of those farmers could keep their farms, and continue to support their families and communities.” Five years ago, ongoing drought prompted Victorian farmer Greg Geddes and his wife Vicki to consider agritourism as a sideline to their farming business. With his farm based near Lakes Entrance in East Gippsland, the drought had forced Greg seek work off-farm, travelling over four hours to Melbourne to make ends meet. It was there that he stumbled across the idea of agritourism as a possible solution. “One day someone mentioned that they wanted to be able to take their children on a fishing holiday, just like they did when they were kids, but they couldn’t really find anywhere that was appropriate for a family holiday,” Greg said. With 300-acres of farming land surrounded by State forest, and fishing available on his doorstep, Greg realised that there might be an opportunity to share his “little piece of heaven” with holidaymakers as a way of making some extra money. Tostaree Cottages was born. “We started out with an old shearer’s quarters on the property that we decided to do up to create self-contained cottage accommodation. Nothing too fancy, just basic accommodation targeted at families,” Greg said. Before long, the demand grew, and Greg and Vicki decided to improve a second cottage on their farm to accommodate larger groups. Today they offer a choice of three cottages, as well as the ‘Tavern’ – a fully-equipped reception area designed for parties and weddings. Greg believes that part of the appeal of his business is the fact that he tries to include visitors in most of his day-to-day farming activities.

Tostaree Cottages

“If I’m doing something, I’ll often stop by the cottages to ask if anyone wants to join me. They’re free to come and go as they please, but it’s very rare that they turn down the offer. In fact, often people will write in our visitor book to say how much they love the farm side of things,” he said. While there are quiet periods, Greg believes that he and Vicki made the right decision in establishing their agritourism business. “At this point, agritourism is probably making more money for us than the farm is, and we’ll probably expand further down the track,” he said. However, Greg is cautious to retain the appeal created by the farming side of his business. “I think we have to be careful not too expand too much. There’s a lot of work involved in agritourism, and there comes a point where you lose the characteristics of a working farm. I don’t want people to come here and feel like it’s a commercial arrangement. I want them to think that it’s their farm too.” Pauline believes that this is the best way to achieve success through agritourism. “Farmers who choose to travel down this path shouldn’t be scared to set their own conditions. You don’t have to be open every day of the week if you don’t want to.” In particular, farmers who are starting a business in their own homes should consider their comfort zones, and set their own terms to reflect them. “Hospitality and tourism really require you to keep up a happy face in order give the customer a positive experience, so it’s important to consider your lifestyle, and work the business around that, instead of the other way around.” For more information and advice about whether agritourism is right for you, Pauline recommends the following: • Contact the tourism body in your State for information about product development, marketing, industry resources and tourism research • Contact your local rural shire to discuss how they might help promote your business • Investigate courses to assist with marketing or product development

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011


“Farmers who receive funding to establish their agritourism business are required to continue farming as their main business activity – that is, at least 51% of their income must come from the farm. Additionally, they must make a 10-year commitment to the venture, and also undertake 120 hours of training in areas such as marketing, financial planning and business management.”


Project into minor use of herbicides NRIA has been commissioned by the RIRDC to address high priority issues in the minor use of herbicides. The background to this project is that for many NRIA members weed control is a vital component of producing a crop or product that is free of weeds, yet for a small industry the most suitable chemical may not be registered for use on the crop. As the chemical companies see no justification in undertaking trial work for small crops in order to achieve full registration of their herbicides, this leaves many growers in the position that they may well be using herbicides on crops for which there is no registration. Indeed, this may be illegal in some instances.

To address this, NRIA is commencing the process to either achieve full registration of some chemicals on certain crops, or at least to gain minor use permits for those crops. NRIA recently held a workshop in Brisbane to determine; firstly, the priority crops and chemicals; then secondly, the methods by which we might seek registration, including on-farm trials and so forth; and thirdly, the timetable for achieving all of these tasks for as many chemicals as possible. We will keep you updated on the progress of this project in NRIA member newsletters and through this magazine.

farm tips

What’s in a label?


There are a wide range of agricultural and animal health products on the market, designed to combat the wide variety of pests encountered on farms. Many of these chemicals are toxic and pose significant threats to operators, produce, consumers and the environment.

Using properly calibrated equipment and following

Primary producers should only use pesticides or veterinary medicines that have been registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), in accordance with usage directions specified on the label.

most states, causing off-target damage is an offence.

Information found on labels includes: • active constituents

• pests that the chemical is registered to control

• warnings, restraints and prohibitions • withholding periods (WHP) • storage and disposal instructions • safety and first aid

that the domestic Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) is not exceeded. Off-label usage is in most cases prohibited, and in REMEMBER that maintaining and adhering to the most up-to-date labels is important for managing any situation or problem. As labels contain a vast amount of technical the most appropriate product to use without

• situations in which the chemical can be used

• application rates and methods

applicable WHP stated on the label should ensure

information, it is often difficult to determine

• approved uses

• mixing instructions

the application rate and frequency, as well as the

summarising and comparing the information from the labels of different products. Therefore, considerable time and expertise is needed to find the most suitable solution for a particular situation. Note from the Editor — Members of New Rural Industries Australia (NRIA) are provided with heavily discounted subscriptions to the FARM MINDER system, which does all of the above automatically. For more details, go to or call 1300 673 700.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011


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Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011



Need AN ALTERNATIVE SOURCE OF INCOME? Have you considered Deer Farming? Over the last 35 years the hard work has been done. Our small but viable industry has all the structures in place, our marketing chain is efficient and there is strong demand for our products domestically and internationally. Visit the Deer Industry Association of Australia (DIAA) website for comprehensive information on all aspects of deer farming. Check out the interactive gross margin comparison with other grazing species. Contact the Deer Industry Representatives on the website and speak to farmers who are listed for their viewpoint.

Do you grow or sell wildflowers as cut-flowers? • Get connected. • Improve yield and returns. • Network with others. • Develop the market. • Stay informed. WildFlowers Australia Ltd is the industry body for wildflowers. We exist to build the industry and help all on the supply chain.

2011 EVENTS: National Flower Conference, Brisbane, Qld – 12/15 July 2011 Regional Conference, Grampians, Vic – 12/13 Aug 2011

National Peak Body representing the

Olive Industry of Australia Stay informed about the Australian Olive Industry

Visit our website to find out more

fresher tastes


Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011

HYDROPONIC substrates

For all your Coir (Coco) requirements: • Grow Bags • Easyfil® PlanterBags • HydroBlocks • Discs and • Bulk Mixes Online Hydroponic Resource: Free Call: 1800 991 709

For more information please contact dnL890

The Carbon Farming Initiative, what’s in it for you? Soil carbon is key to soil health An introduction to Carbon Farming and Trading: 1 day Farm Ready Approved Program Ph 02 6374 0329 or

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Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 – 2011


“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”

Make your company PART of the BIG picture for Australian new rural industries…

Australian new rural industries provide locally grown/bred products, diversification choices, niche market opportunities, gourmet foodstuffs, and sustainable operations into the future. They may be young – but that they are not small in scope or potential.

Opportunity now exists for companies and organisations to be corporate members of New Rural Industries Australia. Be part of the big picture. Build alliances and grow your business.

Join us today –

June-July 2011  

passion to Global “Worming” Irrigation practices & systems Agritourism: Connecting communities The magazine of New Rural Industries Aust...

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