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The magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 February/March 2011

Start by making money, not spending it Food trends – Consumers want it all! Achacha – a fruit new to Australia


benefits

NRIA membership brings Check us out on Facebook! Search fºor: New Rural Industries Australia && LIKE our page && Engage in discussions && Share photos of products from Australian new rural industries && Make comments && Post and watch videos of new rural enterprises && Network with others && Stay in touch && Learn about upcoming events

Visit our website www.nria.org.au && 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! Search for: New Rural Industries Australia && 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

Members of NRIA get discounts on Farm Minder services: • Recording/ tracking chemicals stored on farms to meet OH&S requirements. • Detailed recording of crop/livestock treatments for legal and Quality Control compliance • Provision of approved application rates for Quality Control • Provision of comprehensive, up-to-date information on pesticides and veterinary chemicals • Appropriate response by emergency services in the event of emergencies involving chemical storage areas or treated areas Become a member today – www.nria.org.au


Inside From the Editor

Welcome to NRIA

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Your View Calendar Trade Directory

NEWS Inaugural NRIA Conference 2010 Australian Olive Oil Standard released for comment

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Scientific study finds Tea-tree oil has cancer-fighting properties The Achacha – a fruit new to Australia Pigeonpea – a new crop for Australia Pest and disease news

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PROFILES SAFFRON

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Terry and Nicky Noonan of Tasmanian Saffron Pty Ltd

SHEEP & GOAT DAIRY

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Julie Cameron of Meridith Dairy

WILDFLOWERS

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TEA-TREE OIL

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Claude Cassegrain Of Cassegrain Tea Tree Oil Pty Ltd

NATIVE FINGERLIMES

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Georgina MacDougall and Sheryl Rennie Of Wild Fingerlime

EXOTIC TROPICAL FRUITS

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Han Shiong Siah Of Tropical Primary Products

COLLABORATION

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Start by making money, not spending it By Peter Fritz

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Renewed interest in mohair By Doug Stappleton

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Tax – non-commercial business losses By Alan Cummine

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Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011

contents

Tony and Mary Whitehead of The Banksia Company

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A word from the Editor What an incredible rocketride this last six months has been!

Starting with the inaugural copy of Passion to Profit in October, and then followed closely by our well-attended, first New Rural Industries Australia conference at the Gold Coast in November, things are moving ahead very quickly for New Rural Industries Australia. We are now on Facebook. We are now on Twitter. We already have over 200 members of New Rural Industries Australia, and of course we have the fabulous marriage resulting in Passion to Profit now being published with the long-established Town and Country Farmer magazine – giving us the legs to talk to more than 10,000 people, Australia-wide, six times a year!

Editorial

We have partnerships being rapidly set up, providing more benefits for members and developing alliances that will strengthen our organisation and provide a bright future for all. Over the next 12 months we are looking to quickly bring on corporate memberships with NRIA for those organisations that support our Australianproduced new rural products. This second issue of Passion to Profit has both the news on our conference, the latest update on partnerships with New Rural Industries Australia, and also topical and pertinent information for anyone involved in a new rural industry. As I mentioned in our inaugural issue, the purpose of this magazine is to provide a venue for people to meet and collaborate, to exchange information, to provide insight and to share knowledge and experiences. There are more than 30 recognised new rural industries in Australia at time of printing, and more are on the way. From olives, to sesame seed, from crocodiles to tea-tree oil, from yabbies to lemon myrtle, from truffles to

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farmed rabbits, from mohair to alpacas – we are a diverse lot!

As editor I am always on the hunt for interesting stories, for profiles of producers in the new rural industries, and also for articles that provide useful information on those subjects that are common to us all. Feel free to contact me if you have feedback on the magazine, suggestions, comments, opinions, good news, or information to share. That is, after all, the purpose of the magazine! I am now including a “your view” section in the magazine and will publish as many contributions as I can, space permitting. Look forward to hearing from you. Lana Mitchell Editor lana@nria.org.au front

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Goat’s Cheese from Merideth Dairy

see page 13 for more information

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 every two months within the Town and Country Farmer magazine. It is available through newsagents, through Town and Country Farmer magazine subscription, and also provided free of charge to members of New Rural Industries Australia. Membership to NRIA available at www.nria.org.au. All rights reserved. New Rural Industries Australia PO Box 4776 Kingston ACT 2604, Australia. Advertising: For advertising rate card contact and all ad bookings, email advertising@nria.org.au. Editor: Lana Mitchell. lana@nria.org.au Editorial Contributions are welcome and should be emailed to the editor. Designer: Cheryl Zwart of Orphix Printer: PMP Printing, www.pmplimited.com.au Publisher: What’s On First Pty Ltd ABN 22 435 833 152 Registered Office: Suite 1, 11 Unsworth Road Ringwood North, VIC 3134 Advertising: advertising@nria.org.au 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 publishers reserve 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 advertising@nria.org.au.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011


How were we formed? In 2009, the Rural

Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) hosted a forum 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 as a new organisation. We are now just over 1 year old. We had our first (and very well attended) conference a few months ago, and we already have over 200 members.

Are you an industry body of industry bodies? 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. We also work to promote the new rural industries and build the public demand for our diverse products.

Why would I want to be a member of NRIA? Although there are often short-

term advantages to working alone and keeping information to yourself, evidence suggests that there is far more to be gained by considering the entire supply chain as your ‘field’ and working collaboratively with others. Further, though there may appear to be no similarities between someone that grows truffles, a breeder of mohair goats, an exporter of wildflowers, and a duck farmer — there are actually many, many common subjects that these, and all new rural industries have to tackle. Just some of these are listed in Table 1. 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

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

Table 1

networking and developing business relationships that build your business. We also assist people to solve problems and improve their bottom line. NRIA builds alliances that you benefit from. One of the key ways that NRIA assists members is by developing alliances with key organisations and companies to provide services to you. One of these is Plant Health Australia. NRIA is a member of Plant Health Australia, resulting in services and benefits to the NRIA membership. Specifically, any industry body (not individual) registered as a member of NRIA, is an automatic member of Plant Health Australia and its industry can then receive the services of Plant Health if there is a disease or pest outbreak in that industry. A further alliance has been struck with Agtech, a company that provides specialist products and contract services for the agricultural industry. As a result, NRIA members can access up-to-date information on chemical registrations, software for tracking chemicals on farm, and other key information, at a heavily discounted price. There will be more alliances announced throughout this coming year – each one adding more value to being a member of NRIA. If you’re a member of a new and emerging industry, I urge you to explore further the benefits of becoming a member of New Rural Industries Australia. There are many benefits you’ll enjoy by adding your knowledge, experience, opinions and voice to ours. Go to www.nria.org.au and join us today.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011

WElcome

N

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

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Inaugural NRIA Conference 2010

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he first NRIA conference and expo was held in late November at Jupiter’s Casino at the Gold Coast. This well attended event highlighted the products and diversity of new and emerging rural industries across Australia, with over 200 delegates and 34 exhibitor booths. The purpose of the conference was to bring about more collaboration between the new rural industries, take up common issues and allow the exchange of information to maximise the economic benefits Australia gains from such industries. It was also to educate others on the diverse range and huge potential of our new rural industries. Both of these purposes were accomplished in spades. The speakers were top of their fields and included a mixture of novel plant and animal experts, significant achievers in innovation and deep thinkers on climate, social implications of changes and industry development.

minced camel in filo pastry, all with a number of accompanying sauces using native and/or wild ingredients. Then there was also a show piece – yabby tails and mango on a skewer, served with an astringent mix of native lime and other tropical juices as an after-shot. The Gala dinner showed how the new rural industries provide incredible opportunities for the culinary artists and chefs of Australia and the world. The menu included venison, crocodile, pheasant, rabbit, emu, quail, locally grown hazelnuts and olive oil, microgreens, Australian native foods (pepperberry, native currants, lemon myrtle, alpine rice, raincherry, bush tomato), as well as Asian greens, goats cheese and Australian grown coffee. The conference had a fashion parade, showing mohair products from Lara Downs, Crocodile leather from Koorana, and cashmere from Cashmere Connections. Details on the program and speakers and the conference papers are available at www.nria.org.au

Food was a highlight with top chef Andrew Fielke from Adelaide producing an incredible array of innovative, novel and surprising foods. Finger foods at the welcome included kangaroo pate, old man salt bush fritters, buffalo mozzarella on rain forest berry jam, crocodile ribs, game bird pieces,

news

Benchmark set for quality standards

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At the end of November 2010, at the New Rural Industries Australia Conference, the Rural Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) released 32 landmark publications for the cut-flower industry. The quality standards specifications cover 32 different wildflower products, including Grevillea, Protea, Banksia, Flannel flower, Kangaroo Paw, Waratah and more. They are available for hardcopy purchase and also as free downloads at https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au. These publications are the result of a 3 year project funded by the Australian government via RIRDC, and by Industry and Investment NSW, with additional funding

from growers. There was extensive consultation with industry members, workshops to collect information and test draft specifications, as well as vast numbers of photos taken. These are the new benchmark for the wildflower industry, not to mention, a model for other new rural industries to use in developing quality standards.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011


Australian Olive Oil Standard released for comment The big news in the olive industry is that on December 24, 2010 the draft Australian/New Zealand Standard for Olive Oils and Olive Pomace Oils (draft AS/NZS 5264) was released for public comment. This is the culmination of more than 8 years of work and research by the Australian Olive Association (AOA) supported by RIRDC and DAFF with vital research by the Australian Oils Research Laboratory and Modern Olives Laboratory. The AOA is particularly pleased that the draft standard is by far the most consumeroriented olive oil standard to date – compared with several older standards that are in place in other countries – and is also based upon the

latest technology to qualify and designate the various grades and natural variations in olive oils as well as to detect adulteration. The document is available from the Australian Olive Association website www. australianolive.com.au. The link for public comments is www. hub.standards.org.au/hub/public/ listOpenCommentingPublication.action. Please note that those wishing ºto comment will need to register as a new user to be able to make comments. For more information contact the Australian Olive Industry Association.

Scientific study finds Tea-tree oil has cancer-fighting properties

Dr Greay says conventional chemotherapeutic agents used to treat skin cancer can produce a variety of side-effects including severe skin irritation, pigmentation of the skin, scarring and systemic side effects such as nausea, flu-like symptoms and headaches. “The problem with these (conventional treatments) is that they need to be applied for quite a long time, it can be anywhere from 3-16 weeks of application”, said UWA School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences research associate Dr Sara Greay. The advantage of our treatment is that we feel that we will be able to get a greater anti-tumour

effect and it’s a shorter treatment regime so a treatment only needs to be applied for potentially 4-8 days. We found that the tea tree oil combination formulation did induce skin irritation and there was redness of the area, dryness, scabbing but we feel that this irritation is important for the anti-tumour effect.” The tea tree oil formulation used in the study still requires testing in human patients and Dr Greay strongly advises against self-medicating. “Before we proceed and make any more conclusions it (the tea tree oil formulation) needs to be rigorously tested in human patients for safety and efficacy against pre-cancerous lesions and skin cancer. If people suspect they have a skin cancer of any kind or if they have been diagnosed with a pre-cancerous lesion or squamous cell or basal cell carcinomas they need to go and talk to their dermatologist”, said Dr Greay. The Tea Tree Oil Research Group are currently looking to secure funding to conduct a clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of three tea tree oil formulations in patients with pre-cancerous lesions.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011

news

A recent study has found that Tea-tree oil has cancer-fighting properties and suggests it could, one day, be used to treat non-melanoma skin cancers or pre-cancerous lesions. The study conducted by the Tea Tree Oil Research Group at UWA has found that the topical application of a tea tree oil formulation significantly reduced tumour size in a mouse model after one treatment. Furthermore, tumours were rendered undetectable after four days of treatment.

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The Achacha – a fruit new to Australia Plantation is now the world’s major repository of the species – sadly a major forest fire has recently reduced the number of trees in Bolivia to fewer than half its Australian cousins. Well known Australian chefs have embraced the Achacha as an exciting new taste sensation, incorporating it in desserts, ice cream, sorbet, jams, sauces, champagne cocktails and salads. Kids love the taste – it goes well in their school lunchboxes. Ongoing studies at the University of NSW indicate that in spite of its sugar content being just half that of its better known cousin the mangosteen, to which excellent health properties are attributed, the antioxidant composition of the two Garcinias is very similar.

T news

he Achacha, pronounced Ahcha-cha, is an exotic tropical fruit (Garcinia humilis) related to the mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana). It has a sweet, tart, refreshing white flesh of sorbet-like consistency, a thick protective outer skin which can be used to make a nutritious drink, and a soft inner seed. Externally it varies from pear-shaped to round, often with small bumps and interesting marks. It is 4-6cm in circumference, 5-7cm long, with a glossy orange-yellow colour when ripe.

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Small trial shipments sent to Singapore and Hong Kong indicate that these and other Asian markets will eventually take a significant part of the 2,000 tonnes the plantation will produce at maturity in a few years’ time. Achacha will be showcased at the upcoming Fruit Logistica in Berlin, the first time the fruit will have been exhibited in Europe. For more information, see www.achacha.com.au.

The fruit is a native of the tropical Amazon Basin in the province of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where it is known as the achachairú (“honey kiss” in a local Guaraní language). In Santa Cruz it is highly prized for its unique, refreshing flavour and its excellent nutritional value. In its relocation to Australia its name has been shortened with the rhythm of South America retained. The Achacha had not been grown outside its native Santa Cruz until seeds were planted in North Queensland in 2002, following the signing of an agreement between the Achacha Fruit Group and the Bolivian government agency which zealously protects the export of indigenous seeds and plants. A thriving plantation of 17,500 trees, Palm Creek Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011


Pigeonpea – a new crop for Australia By Dr Shi Yong Yang of the University of Adelaide Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) has multiple uses for human food, animal feed and fodder. It is a major source of ‘dal’, an important constituent in the food of Indian people and many vegetarian people. Hence, pigeonpea is a primary protein source for more than 1.1 billion people in the world. With the growing Indian migration trend to Australia, there is a domestic market in Australia and continuing high demand in India. Pigeonpea is also used to improve soils in China, as the crop improves the soil characteristic and fertility status. It is reported that a long duration planting of pigeonpea could fix up to 200 kg N per ha, and it is estimated that pigeonpea

has a beneficial effect on subsequent crops equivalent to about 40 kg per ha. The plant’s leaf drop helps in improving soil structure and its stalks are a sources of fuel and used for other socio-economic purposes in rural areas. Pigeonpea is mainly grown in Asia, Africa and Latin America. It is a dry land grain legume crop, is drought resilient and can adapt to different Australian environments. Currently a research team at the University of Adelaide, under Dr Shi Yong Yang, are developing varieties for Australian southern zones.

Pest and disease news Myrtle rust, a fungal disease that infects myrtaceous plants including Australian native plants such as Eucalyptus, Melaleuca and Callistemon, was first detected in April 2010 in NSW. Various states across Australia implemented quarantine measures in an effort to curb spread of the disease and at the same time key actions were taken on affected properties including: identification of plants infected by myrtle rust; treating them and removing them; and implementing disease control measures and management options to prevent further spread. Following an eradication program in NSW conducted under the framework and provisions of the national Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD), the myrtle rust National Management Group (NMG) recently agreed that it is not feasible to eradicate myrtle rust. Myrtle Rust will now no longer be managed under the EPPRD and incursions will continue to be managed by the relevant state agency and affected parties. Rural producers should be familiar with how to identify Myrtle rust and also know how to report and handle any

instances of the disease. Signs that plants may have Myrtle rust include masses of orange to yellow powdery spores on new growth and curling or distortion of infected leaves. If you see any Myrtaceae plants showing symptoms similar to these, report them immediately to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881. The Exotic Plant Pest Hotline is a free telephone service (excluding calls made from mobile phones), staffed during normal business hours in each Australian State and Territory. The service allows callers to directly report suspect pest detections to an area where action can be taken by knowledgeable staff. For more information, go to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries website, and on the AQIS pages there are detailed questions and answers. Extensive information can also be found on the NSW I&I website at www.dpi. nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/plant/myrtle-rust. These sites give specifics on where the incursions have been found, what plants are known to be hosts for Myrtle Rust, how to report instances of Myrtle Rust, the actions being taken to control its spread and more.

Spotted anything

unusual?

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: www.phau.com.au/biosecurity

TLINE NT PEST HO EXOTIC PLA

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Improving national biosecurity outcomes through partnerships


Profiling our Board of Directors In our last issue we profiled half of the NRIA board. Here are the details on the remaining members so you can learn about the people steering the organisation and have details on our backgrounds and the industries each is involved in. More information can also be found at www.nria.org.au.

The Board of NRIA Paul Miller (Founding Chair) – Olives Ian Chivers – Native grass seeds John Lever – Crocodiles Lana Mitchell – Wildflowers Martha Shepherd – Australian native foods Pat Bolster – Tea Tree Alan Cooney – Remote and Indigenous farming Roslyn Prinsley – New rural industries development

Profile

Patricia Bolster

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Pat Bolster, with her husband Paul, owns P.Guinane Pty. Ltd. a company with diverse interests in agriculture, research and development and commercial property development. The company owns and manages 100ha tea tree plantation and distillery in the Tweed Valley in northern NSW. The plantation once fully operational will produce approximately 30–40 tonnes of bulk tea tree oil distilled in their own facility. Through the company, Pat has been involved in product development in the tea tree industry since 1993 securing international patents on two very diverse products using tea tree oil. The first product developed, already selling successfully on international markets, supplies tea tree oil into air conditioning systems in a consumer friendly way designed to control bacterial and fungal loadings in ducted systems. Other products under development investigate the use of tea tree oil as the active ingredient in a range of agricultural veterinary and feed products. The company vision is to develop products and market places for tea tree oil and get rid of any ‘snake oil’ perceptions held by some large multi-nationals. To underpin this, the company has invested heavily over the last decade in the development and creation of a regulatory safety package for tea tree oil which will stand international scientific and governmental scrutiny

in all major markets ie. Europe, UK, USA and Asia. Starting out her working life as a commercial lawyer for a large multinational Australian based company in the early 1980’s and then moving to private practice, Pat brings a wide range of experience and understanding to the board of NRIA. After the birth of her 3rd child in 1989, Pat decided to ‘take it easy’ and do a little book-keeping to manage a sand-dredging operation which had been acquired by the family company. Pat successfully managed this multi-million dollar business developing it from a small ‘hole in the ground’ into the then-largest sand quarry in northern NSW/SE Queensland, servicing national clients up to Brisbane, whilst also developing environmental management protocols for the site which are now benchmark standards for such operations in NSW. Contemporaneously with the development of the sand quarry, the company was establishing its first tea tree plantation at which point, Pat became active in ATTIA Ltd (the industry peak body), only just retiring from that board in 2010. She also eventually became and remains, a member of the RIRDC research advisory committee for tea tree oil. The problems and challenges which face start-up companies and new industries are of particular interest to Pat and she is excited at the potential futures which exist for New Rural Industries Australia.

Allan Cooney

Allan Cooney is executive director of Centrefarm Aboriginal Horticulture Limited, a not-for-profit company which develops economic projects on Aboriginal Land. The Centrefarm core business acts as front-end project managers on behalf of indigenous aspirants. Centrefarm also includes a national consulting business specialising in remote economic development. Allan has extensive experience managing a large-scale argi-business operation. He was a partner and CEO for his family company, Belyanna Pastoral Company that operated Turn Turn/Wittenburra and Padua Park/ Ellangowan aggregations. The enterprise ran sheep, a high performance stud flock and a large cattle herd. He sold the pastoral business in 2000 and spent some time managing the family investments as well as day trading on the derivatives market in Australian shares. During this time he made the decision to be more of a contributor to our society and developed a consulting business advising

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011


indigenous and social welfare organisations on commercial management. He was approached to apply these skills to an SME seeking to commercialise IP around some breakthrough genetic science and spent time travelling widely in Australia and South America developing business and business systems for the client group. He was a founding committee member and ultimately Chairperson for a not-for-profit regional organisation (South West Queensland Financial Counselling Service) addressing and assisting people adjust to rapid and often painful social and economic change that was part of the Western Queensland landscape during the nineties. Allan was a founding member of Executive Link, a national organisation of farm managers and executives focused on a sustainable future for Australian farm business and innovation. He is an accomplished artist, proud father of five daughters and reluctant renovator.

Paul Miller Paul Miller is the founding Chairman of New Rural Industries Australia. Since 2001 Paul has been President of the Australian Olive Association Ltd the industry body for olives in Australia. Paul has led the development of the new Australian Extra Virgin branding and authentication campaign for Australian olive oil and plays an important role internationally being a founding member of the AOCS Expert Committee on olive oil and a founding member of the committee of the Olive Oil Division of Euro Fed Lipids. Paul is currently employed by and has interests in several companies in the olive and wine grape industries. These include being a director of Red Island Australia Ltd, the producer of Red Island olive oil and manager of olive groves in central Victoria, as an olive industry specialist for two other companies and part-owning and managing

a large-scale vineyard in central Victoria – Lake Marmal Vineyards. Paul also owns and operates Paul Miller and Associates and Oilmiller Pty Ltd. Paul comes from a farming background and is an agricultural scientist (La Trobe University 1977). In 1997 he completed a major study into the olive industry for local and State government in Victoria. In his early career Paul worked as a research scientist with the Victorian Department of Agriculture. Since then Paul has pursued his scientific career in Australia and overseas as well as undertaking consulting work across numerous intensive rural industries and developing business interests in intensive agriculture.

Pat Bolster

Lana Mitchell Lana Mitchell is the mother of a young family (a one-year old boy and a four-year old boy), and lives with her husband on the Southern tablelands. She is the managing director of a company that specialises in growing and exporting the Australian native flannel flower for the cut-flower market, and also providing flannel flower plants to the domestic garden industry. As the owner of a variety of flannel flower called ‘White Romance’ she has a network of growers in Australia cultivating the flower for domestic and overseas cut-flower markets. She is the current President of Wildflowers Australia, a member of RIRDC’s Wildflowers and Native Plants Advisory Committee and has instigated and implemented a number of projects to build the industry, both in terms of size and sales. Lana was awarded the 2010 RIRDC Rural Woman of the Year for NSW and regularly does radio interviews and writes articles to promote wildflowers and new rural industries in general. She maintains the New Rural Industries Australia Facebook and Twitter accounts and is also the creator, manager and editor of this magazine, Passion to Profit.

From left: Darro Stinson, Pat Bolster, John Lever, Lana Mitchell, Ian Chivers, Martha Shephard, Allan Cooney and Roslyn Prinsley.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011

Allan Cooney

Paul Miller

Lana Mitchell

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Terry and Nicky Noonan Tasmanian Saffron Pty Ltd

Crocus Sativus corms (bulbs) – producing the spice saffron

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

We moved to Tasmania in 1989 with no firm job prospects and a vague notion that we would like to be involved in agriculture. We wanted to use saffron in a recipe, but there was no saffron being grown in Australia. Research revealed that Australia was importing 2000 kilograms of saffron annually despite Tasmania’s temperate climate and ideal growing conditions for the world’s most expensive spice. We started the saffron industry in Australia with a wheelbarrow, a shovel and $2500.

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

Profile

Saffron is the name given to the dried stigmas from the flower of the Crocus Sativus plant.

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The saffron corms had to be imported in 1991 from the Northern Hemisphere and adapt to a completely different life cycle on account of seasonal variation. It took two and a half years to produce the first flowers. The whole of the first harvest in 1994 was purchased by a Sydney fine food purveyor. Unseasonal rains in 1995 wiped out 90% of the nursery stock. We had to think long and hard about whether to continue. Spreading the risk was critical for the continued supply of saffron. Tas-Saff started up the network of saffron growers in Tasmania by taking on three more saffron producing farms in 1996. This gave sufficient increase in produce and allowed continuation of supply to a rapidly growing market. This also provided us with much needed capital.

Today, there are fifty saffron farms in the Tas-Saff network on an annual contract. These farms are situated in temperate climates throughout Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and New Zealand. Tas-Saff saffron is available in gourmet outlets, restaurants and supermarkets nationally. Tas-Saff has had to fight for its share of a market dominated by cheap imports. Competing has been difficult because overseas producers don’t have the same restrictions placed on them that we have to adhere to here in Australia. Research and Development is continuing. Current R&D partnership with RIRDC and two Australian Universities include, improved cultivation and sustainable farming practices, drying methods, value added products and medicinal value of saffron.

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

• Tas-Saff’s success is largely due to an early decision to focus on developing a premium product and a market for that product. We have worked hard to achieve and maintain two types of internationally recognised certification that give Tas-Saff saffron an edge in the premium produce market. • The stable well established network of saffron growers enables continuity of supply. They are guaranteed the purchase price of their saffron by way of an annual marketing agreement. No saffron is purchased outside of the Tas-Saff network. • The Tas-Saff team of eight dedicated staff meticulously process and pack the saffron produced by the network. We highly value the importance of good staff and ask for their input and suggestions. • Promotion, advertising, R&D, education and branding of Tas-Saff saffron is ongoing. • A sound well established loyal customer base through distributors including Hoyts Food Industries has been essential. Continued on page 29

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011


Julie Cameron Meredith Dairy

Sheep and Goat Milk yoghurt and specialty cheeses, including mould ripened cheese

Q: What inspired you to get involved in a new

experimental systems were developed to identify the best feeding regimes.

Sandy and I left city jobs to pursue our passion for farming at a time of rapid change in agriculture. The floor price for wool was abolished, Prime Lamb prices were at an all time low and bank interest rates were in double figures. Deregulation was inevitable and the Australian farm sector was about to enter one of the longest and worst periods of drought in history. At the time, producing commodity products for a world market was unsustainable. Thus in the early nineties, Australia saw a surge in alternative agriculture. As new comers to farming, we too saw that traditional farming practices could not offer an income which would allow us to expand the farm. We had to be innovative and “value add” but at the same time ensure we farmed sustainably. We needed to have control on prices and manage our environment. Sandy had researched extensively year round breeding in sheep and goats and we saw an opportunity not only to offer consumers an alternative, but also supply fresh product year round. A chance meeting with a cheese maker who pointed out that the best cheese in the world was made from sheep milk, sealed the deal.

Business planning and constant management of finances was essential, especially through the drought years. A quality assurance program was established and close relationships were developed with wholesalers and other industry bodies.

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

• Inability to access superior genetics from overseas. • European management systems not appropriate for Australia. • Under-capitalised from day one. Identification of superior animals and a well planned and managed breeding program kicked off the development of Australian Dairy Sheep. Due to Australia’s quarantine requirements, better genetics could not be easily accessed internationally. There was not a dairy sheep in Australia equivalent to breeds overseas. The dairy goat industry was in its infancy and, despite the availability of dairy goats, there wasn’t a commercial industry. Australia’s livestock industry relies heavily on cereals, especially the intensively farmed animals. Managing the nutrition was a unique problem and

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

• Genetic gain of nearly 300% since inception (Dairy Sheep). • Development of management systems to facilitate growth. • Sales growth and milk production which matches the cheese demand. • Loyal and enthusiastic team of staff. • Year round supply of a quality product. • Hard work and constant attention to detail.

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

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rural industries?

1. Balancing production with demand i.e. ensure sales are driven by a consumer pull rather than a production push. 2. Develop close relationships with your clients 3. Always seek market intelligence. Who is buying the product? Supply the product consumers want, not what you may think they want. 4. Supply only quality product. 5. Continual monitoring of profits and losses

Q: What is your future vision for your business?

Create an Australian Dairy Sheep and develop the Australian Dairy Goat to be as good as the best in the world. Build a world class Sheep & Goat Dairy industry using management systems applicable in Australia. Use this developed management system to offer Australian farming families an alternative to traditional farming, along with a secure income. Promote the industry as environmentally, socially and financially sustainable. Grow the consumption of specialty cheeses, where sheep and goat cheese is mainstream and well accepted. Be recognised across the world as having a reliable supply of high quality alternative dairy products. www.meredithdairy.com

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011

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rural industry?

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Mary and Tony Whitehead The Banksia Company

Wildflowers for the cut flower market

Q: What inspired you to get involved in a new

Q: What do you consider your successes? What do

We were involved in the fledgling protea industry in 1976. We had sandy ridges on our farm which were unproductive for conventional farming but were ideally suited to native flower production. We planted 4 hectares of banksia and protea which thrived.

There are a number of factors: Promoting the value of consistent top quality flowers; Offering desirable products in amounts that do not oversupply our markets, with consistency and top quality flowers; Awareness of costs at all stages of production is vital to keep our business thriving; Producing 12 months of the year enabling us to develop a permanent trained workforce; Constant evaluation of products, assessing profitablily and adjusting to market demands quickly ; Continual revision of our farm business plan; Analysing potential species and working out what will be a viable crop.

rural industry?

Dale Baker, a leading local farmer, established the Banksia Company in 1982 after observing our plantation and having purchased a neighboring farm with land suited for native flower production. The Banksia Company is now a 60 hectare plantation growing Banksias, Leucodendrons, Leucospermum, Serruria and assorted Australian and South African species. Tony has worked for the Baker family for 36 years. Mary has been manager since 1991. An important part of the business is also marketing 50 hectares of flowers from other growers.

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

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Marketing. The initial plantation was planned for the export market. The export market could only take a percentage of our crops.

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We have gone from having 50% export/ domestic market sales to now selling 99% of our product to the domestic market. Our product mix is constantly changing as market demands. We now rarely export to Japan and Europe. Weather. Very early or late frosts cause damage to young growing shoots/flowers. We now have more sensitive plants in the higher areas of the plantation and avoid planting in the low areas that can be frost affected. We have also removed the more sensitive species. Very hot days in summer (over 40 degrees), have caused burning to some species. Changes in watering and fertilizer regimes have had some effect in mitigating this.

you attribute these to?

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

1. Do your research. How big is the potential market, is it viable, and is the product or service desirable. Have a good business plan with realistic costings — especially your own inputs and returns on your investment. 2. Talk to well established players in all areas of the industry analysing their advice as it applies to your situation. Attend industry events. 3. Be aware of supply and demand and the affect on long term profitability. Prices are high when supply is low but always drop when there is plenty of product available. 4. Do you have the resources, capital and training? 5. Do you have the vision, will power, stamina, and, above all, the passion to carry your plan through?

Q: What is the future vision of your business?

To remain a reliable supplier of top quality flowers working with our staff to meet our valued customer’s needs, adapting with the changing marketplace. www.banksiacompany.com.au

Distance from the markets. As we are outside main freight routes it has been a challenge to develop the freight partners and systems that work for us. Precooling has eliminated most problems. Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011


Claude Cassegrain Cassegrain Tea Tree Oil Pty Ltd (CaTTO)

Tea Tree Oil producer

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

We purchased a property in the late 1980’s with a vision to provide the NSW mid North Coast councils with a regional airport. The Port Macquarie Council elected to upgrade the existing airport making the property redundant for that purpose. We needed to find an alternative use for the land. The property had a reputation for having good quality tea trees (Melaleuca alternifolia) growing naturally on it. We completed a positive detailed feasibility study for the development of a tea tree plantation on the land and commenced work in1996. We are continuing to develop and expand today.

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

During circ. 1999, many newly established plantations came on stream together, resulting in a glut of tea tree oil in the market. We, and others, had mainly concentrated our efforts on the agronomic side of the business. A costly mistake. Our plantation was put into a care and maintenance phase and we even considered grubbing out the trees. Instead we increased our

participation in and support of the ‘Australian Tea Tree Industry Association’ (ATTIA) and encouraged confrères, who otherwise were not, to become members. ATTIA, as the industry’s peak body brought cohesion to what was a fragmented industry, which resulted in retention of the critical support of the ‘Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation’ (RIRDC) to continue with generic R&D on tea tree oil. ATTIA, armed with critical new knowledge emanating from the RIRDC sponsored and managed R&D, disseminates it throughout the consumer market and the producer members. This ongoing task, which would be unachievable by us or others as individual farmers, provides the optimism for the future.

Q: What do you consider your successes?

Claude Cassegrain

We consider our success is: a) having loyal, competent and enthusiastic staff working with a well designed and developed plantation consistently producing ‘Premium Quality’ tea tree oil, and b) being members of a successful ATTIA where instead of supplying essential oil perceived as being produced by cottage farmers in a cottage industry to a limited market, we have potential to attract the

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Unbeknown to us there were quite a large number of other people who saw a future in the production of tea tree oil under plantation conditions as the attributes of tea tree oil became better known to consumers, particularly to Germans and Americans.

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Georgina MacDougall and Sheryl Rennie Wild Fingerlime

Australian native finger limes

Q: What inspired you to get involved in a new

Middle East. We have opened markets into Europe for the entire industry.

We wanted to grow a native product that is endemic to Northern NSW where their farms are located. We chose the finger lime, which grows natively in the Northern Rivers area of NSW and we felt it provided a great opportunity for an environmentally sustainable industry for the region. We also had the desire to find a unique boutique product that could be developed into a new thriving industry – one with potential for both domestic and international markets.

Wild Fingerlime has focused on producing premium quality AAA class fruit. To achieve this we have set about to implement horticultural best practice in conjunction with NSW Department of Primary Industry (now I&I NSW) and Australian Quarantine Inspection Service(AQIS) specifically in relation to this new native food product. All fruit is packed in a HACCP accredited packing shed.

rural industry?

To increase production of the finger lime and to grow the business, Sheryl joined up with Georgie MacDougall. Thus the firm ‘Wild Finger Lime’ trading as Citrus Caviar was born. Wild Fingerlime markets and sells Finger Limes for member growers of The Australian Finger Lime Association (AFLGA)

Q: What have been the pitfalls you have

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overcome? How?

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Having a consistent supply of export grade fruit has been a challenge. Even though growing commercially, we had to create a natural environment in which finger lime grows. To do this we had to provide shade to protect the plants from harsh sun. Sheryl has supplied a growers manual for member growers of (AFLGA), which has improved production and quality issues. Our growing network now stretches down the east coast of Australia with all growers accredited by stringent production standards equivalent to GLOBALGAP standards.

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

Our successes have been the expansion from originally supplying within Australia to our current markets which expand across Europe, Asia, and the

Our proprietary varieties developed over an intense ten year Research and Development program are featured not only in Michelin Restaurants in Paris, Germany, Belgium Spain, London and New York but also in other leading establishments throughout the world. We have kept quality rather than quantity as a priority when supplying our clientele in all markets. The varieties of finger limes we have selected are superior to others in flavour, quality and shelf life. We guarantee our product and maintain close relationships with our exporters, importers and chefs.

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

1. Test and research your market place first. 2. Do a small trial on your farm to see how the crop will perform on your land. 3. Test your soil and water availability. 4. Speak to others who grow the same crops to gain information. 5. Take it step by step.

Q: What is your future vision for your business?

We are passionate about our product. We will continue to expand our orchards and production of Finger Limes and also continue to expand the business through value-added products.

Wild Finger Lime acknowledges the Indigenous (Aboriginal) heritage of the Bushfood industry, and is involved in supporting Indigenous bushfood projects in the area.

www.wildfingerlime.com

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011


Han Shiong Siah Tropical Primary Products

Durian, Jackfruit, Mango, Pomelo, Cempedak

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

My parents inspired me to get involved in primary production in exotic tropical fruit. I learnt how trees grow on my parent’s farm. I was exposed to many different tropical fruits and it was my love for these fruit that drew me to manage the family farm. I went to University of Adelaide and obtain an Bachelor of Science (Agriculture Science) and now I am located in NT to improve farm practices of my farms and also others around us.

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

Planting Durian in our sub tropical environment. Durian comes originally from south-east Asia, with constant temperatures and humidity on hilly, well draining soil. Being in Darwin we are exposed to two different seasons (the wet and dry). The wet season is when we get most of our rain (all 2000mm) and the weather is hot and humid. The dry season temperatures are milder, it is windy, and humidity levels are low with no rain. These conditions present challenges to grow durian. Since our farm area for planting was flat and did not encourage drainage, we grew durian trees

on mounds, to prevent water pooling around the trees, encouraging phytophtora disease–where the bacteria attacks root systems of the durian and kill the trees. We planted durian at the beginning of the dry season and covered them with shade cloth for three years, to reduce the sun burn on the plants. When the temperature drops below 15°C we also top the shade cloth with a plastic covering to create a glasshouse effect and increase humidity levels in the dry. We also planted jackfruit around the durian plantation, to act as a windbreak and to create quick income while waiting for the durian to fruit (which is about 10 years after planting). Selection: We brought to Australia plant material from Malaysia, as well as obtaining grafting material from DPI in NT and QLD. Over the years we have selected varieties that are more suitable for Darwin’s difficult environment.

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

We consider it a success to have 2000 durian trees alive and healthy at the top end enabling us to being fresh durian to markets in Australia.

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

Q: What is your future vision for your business?

Cempadak

• The future vision would be looking forward to improving and increasing production of Durian for the national markets. • Also developing new and exciting mango varieties. han.siah@tropicalprimary.com

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011

Durian

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Pomelo

1. Research your new industry and determine if it is suitable for you area. 2. Don’t be afraid to ask – local government research departments will generally help. 3. It will not be a smooth ride to reach your goals. There have been time where giving up would be the easiest method. But don’t give up – do your best to stick to it. 4. Be able to change, adapt and develop new techniques when setting up your new industry. 5. Enjoy yourself while creating a new rural industry.

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Consumers want it all!

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onsumers are a contrary lot–they say they want new products, something different, yet when push comes to shove they can be very conservative, particularly when it comes to food and drink. What’s more, attributes that are much desired in our home market don’t necessarily cut the mustard in export markets. Consumer values differ strikingly across the globe and what is culturally acceptable in one can be deeply offensive in another. But, overall, consumers are an unreasonable bunch! They want it all: products which are better for me – tastier, more convenient; better for their health and well-being; and, increasingly, better for the environment at home and abroad, kinder to animals and small-scale producers. Here’s the rub, they want all this and more at lower prices, too. Another exasperating aspect of consumers is that they can be illogical and irrational – that is their prerogative because it’s their money and they can spend it on whatever they want. What they want and are willing to pay for mundane, low involvement, boring but essential products in mid-week can bear no relationship to those things they want when on holiday or celebrating with friends and family at the weekend. This underlines the great challenge

By Dr. David Hughes

for emerging businesses in new rural industries, namely working out who are their prime customers and what do they value and are willing to pay a premium for? There is seriously good news for specialty food producers. My observation is that whenever one can spot a big global mega-trend, invariably, there’s a smaller but still significant one going in exactly the opposite direction! So, food trends are polarising: • Globalisation of food ingredients is accelerating (look on the label “Australian and other countries” is common) yet, world-over, consumers like to “buy local” particularly for special meals; • A lot of shopping is just plain drudgery and we want it done as quickly as possible. But, holiday and special meal shopping is often, fun, a treat and we want to talk to vendors who are passionate about their products and can tell us where it came from, how it was made and how to use/consume it; • Australia is a fast food society – “I want to eat and, what’s more RIGHT NOW!” – but not always. There is plenty of consumers of Mediterranean and Asian background that embrace slow food meals at the weekend, where the food is the hero and conversations around the table focus on the meal and its ingredients; • Slowly, many urban consumers have lost contact with where food comes from and how it was produced. Produce is available 52 weeks a year. However, there is a wave of interest in eating seasonally – consuming fresh food when it is at its very best; • Looking after the family’s health and body shape is a mega-trend, but this does not spell disaster for indulgent foods – “I’ll be abstemious during the week and splurge at the weekend because I deserve it!”. The very best opportunities for new rural industries in Australia is to take the high involvement, super tasty and indulgent, peak of season, compelling story route to markets for their products. Further, get as close to your consumer as you can and for buffalo mozzarella salad


two principal reasons: first, proximity to consumer equates directly with improved margins; and, secondly, closer communication with consumers leads to a better understanding of their wants which, in turn, leads to better margins for you – it’s a virtuous circle!

Harnessing consumer trends and incorporating them in your products does not guarantee commercial success, but it does help. The top trends reflected in the award-winning food and drink products in the 2010 SIAL Paris Food Exhibition included: “ultra-premiumisation”; emulating celebrity chef products “at home”; simple dishes with very “clean” ingredients (no scary additives); products for the allergy-prone and those with special health benefits; “green” products and those with authentic sustainability claims; and an ever present focus on convenience and compatibility with 21st Century lifestyles. These trends are as relevant to the

olive oil

new food, drink and fibre industries of Australia as they are to any company or country in the world. For would-be exporters of special/different products from Australia do not under-estimate how little most people around the world know about you and your country. The good news is that the general perception is positive and, what’s more, a widelyheld view that Australia is “good at food”! But, most people outside Australia have little knowledge about what you actually produce (reflecting, in part, that in history you mainly exported ingredients which were used by food manufacturers elsewhere to make processed food products).The challenge is twofold – to educate offshore consumers about your country and its people, cuisine, traditions and heritage and, then, to convince them to buy unfamiliar foods. That’s why the very best prospects for special, uniquely Aussie products is close to home – the 21 million that live on this big island – and visiting tourists that can carry your products home in their luggage. There is a particular thorny problem associated with marketing specialty unfamiliar food, drink and fibre products – that is, to show the customer how and when to use the product. Dukka is a case in point, picture the scene: tourists enjoy a magical afternoon at a winery where great bread is served with estate olive oil and a spicy-herby-nutty concoction. An attractive pack of dukka is purchased on exit and home it goes in the luggage. It may re-appear on an evening when the neighbours are around to listen to our holiday stories and glance at the digital photos but, then, it lingers for months in the dry

cup of green tea

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Are the products you produce and the category with which they are associated new for consumers, or for producers, or both? Most likely, they will not be low-priced products and the purchaser’s perception of the product’s value will be tied inextricably to the “story” wrapped around the physical product. Story-telling is a vital element in “adding value” and a skill that does not come easily to many emerging businesses more tied up in the technical aspects of production and processing. Yet, market opportunities abound for new rural industries in Australia: from domestic consumers who value home grown editions of products that have been sourced internationally, and who understand the culture, history and geography of their homeland; and from overseas visitors who are predisposed to Australia – after all, they’ve made the choice to visit – and are enthusiastic to take home mementos and gifts that remind them of their unforgettable Aussie experiences.

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Start by making money, not spending it

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By Peter Fritz

tart by making money? I know you are skeptical, and so you should be. You probably read the business section of the newspaper, or follow who’s investing in what via online business forums. You’ve heard all about venture capital and angel investment, but what you really need to understand is that newspapers and magazine stories are about companies that are already operating. The directors and owners of these companies have already established that they can make money from their skills, or that they can sell their products and services for a profit. In 1964, at just 18 years of age, Solomon Lew took over the running of what was then a small clothing business his father had founded before his death when Solomon was just 13. Like most small businesses, the company was a way for the family to survive. Prosperity came much later as Solomon expanded into textiles and toys, real estate and retail. Now one of Australia’s richest businessmen, with a line of retail brands and an estimated personal wealth just a tad over $1 billion, Lew began as his own employer and built his corporate empire with sweat equity. The millions of dollars he spends on his business have already been generated by that business, or are raised based on the fact that his business is already turning over billions of dollars in revenue each year. And he is not the only one. After years of babysitting, selling lemonade and part-time jobs at Coles, Carolyn Creswell took all the money she had ($1000) and became her own boss by buying the company where she had been working: Carman’s Fine Foods. In that first year she mixed the muesli by hand and sold a little over 80 kilograms of her wares. She now sells more than 40 tons of oats, fruit and nuts in her muesli bars and cereal mixes a year, to 22 countries all over the world. But the leap wasn’t immediate. It took 16 years and a lot of hard work to create a company with $16 million in revenue. What these people have in common is that they began with no credit, no credit rating and no

significant capital investment. They began by selling and worked their way up by reinvesting in their business, using one revenue stream to lead to the next. At every stage they remained actively engaged in selling what they did. This is the key to the success of just about any business you care to name. So, we’ve established that you already have a set of skills that are marketable, you’re selling them to your employer, and they are bundling those skills up with other elements to make a saleable (and profitable) product or service. So why doesn’t everyone give up working for others and set up on their own? Mostly because they think that starting a business will require large amounts of capital or debt. But most people are wrong. Starting a business requires large amounts of energy, a particular skill that is saleable and the ability to get out there and sell whatever that skill happens to be. It does not require startup money. Most people assume that the most important investment you can make in your business is liquid capital: money. And rather than getting out there and looking for a way to begin their company, they scrimp and save, or worse, go into debt, in order to get things started. In all business cash flow is king, but credit and capital can poison even the most promising business before it gets off the ground. Why? Well, the biggest danger of starting a business with a large amount of cash is that it will begin to function in a totally unrealistic way. Rather than set out to make money, the first thing you’ll

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011


do is spend like crazy on letterhead, websites and business cards. It all feels great because it’s much more comfortable to spend money than it is to make money. It’s always easier to be a buyer than a seller. In reality, you may as well simply donate your hard-earned cash to other businesses. None of this is any use until you know where you customers will come from. As long as you don’t throw all your money away early by starting out in an unsustainable spending spree, you’ll have the opportunity to try a couple of different markets and a couple of different approaches. Sometimes ideas take some time to develop a market, which is why setting up your business in a sustainable way, with minimal overheads, is the best way to ensure you’ll make it through the initial phase of market development. Most small businesses go to the wall in the first 12 months because, rather than finding a customer, they focus on setting up their infrastructure. What they fail to realise is this: websites are useless unless you have customers who want to visit them, letterhead is useless unless you have someone to invoice and office space is useless until you have a stream of paying customers. You don’t need money to make money: you need customers to make money.

And you don’t need money to get customers; you need a product, skill or service for which customers are willing to pay. Your role as a small-business operator is to connect all of this together; figure out what people want, and how to give it to them for a price they are willing to pay. This is an excerpt of the recently published Australian book “The Profit Principle”, authored by Peter Fritz and Jeanne-Vida Douglas, and reprinted here with the approval of the authors, and the publisher John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd. About the Authors: Peter Fritz was born in Transylvania in 1943 during the Second World War. In 1963 he immigrated to Australia and began working as a cleaner and studied English. More than 40 years later, Peter has had a hugely successful career as an entrepreneur, is on numerous boards and advisory committees, is a recipient of the Order of Australia and cofounder of TCG GROUP, a $1.25 billion business empire. He has gathered his experiences in business into a book so as to hand his expertise down to his children in a form that they would be able to read and understand. Peter co-authored the book with Jeanne-Vida Douglas, a multiaward winning business journalist with a decade’s experience covering the information technology sector. Jeanne-Vida was looking for a way to gather together the very best stories she came across in her work into a single edition. At the time Jeanne-Vida was juggling her own small business as a freelance journalist and business writer with the demands of two small children, and was keen to encourage others to find ways to turn their skills into microenterprises. The Profit Principle is available from all good bookshops and online at www.theprofitprinciple.com.au.

Win a copy of “The Profit Principle” 5 easy steps: 1. Create a Facebook page if you don’t already have one. 2. Search for New Rural Industries Australia’s page on Facebook. 3. Post your most creative photo on the New Rural Industries Australia Facebook page of a product or service that you are involved in with the new rural industries. The photo can be from any point of the supply chain – simply ensure that you clearly identify what it is, and, if you like, your business name and product name. 4. Tell your colleagues, friends and family to go to the NRIA Facebook page and choose the photo they LIKE the best. 5. The photo with the most LIKES by 10 March 2011 wins a copy of The Profit Principle and will be acknowledged on NRIA’s Facebook page, website, and on Twitter, as the most LIKED new rural industries product as of March 2011.


Renewed interest in mohair

by Dr. Doug Stapleton

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here is evidence of renewed interest in Angora goats and it’s worth taking a look at where we are with this industry. Developments rarely follow past trends and it’s important to understand the current situation and support what is happening.

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All interest groups have their own characteristics. Some are purely hobbies or enthusiast groups. Others have pretentions of being “real” or commercial, industries. The definition is in the eye of the individual and the objectives of the organisation. Mohair is without doubt a true primary industry with a world market and a realistic fibre based outlook. There is a tacit agreement among small industries not to criticise or make disparaging comments about other organisations, but it should be pointed out that potential entrants to particular industries should look carefully at the productivity, environmental considerations and economics, not to mention likely markets, for the specific product of the industry they are investigating before making a decision to enter. All “new” species, breeds or industries go through a number of phases. The first is discovery, and then there is a tide of interest when there is a rush to obtain stock, usually at greatly enhanced prices. This may then even be followed by a second wave as the early entrants sell stock and see their “product” as breeding stock (as opposed to the eventual fibre or meat, or whatever, that can be identified as the eventual primary product). Another confusing but

possibly lucrative loop may be the sale of animals for export which takes advantage of the “clean” status of Australia. Eventually the numbers of “stud” stock over runs the demand and the industry is forced to consider the profitability of production, rather than the on-selling of stock as the basis for existence. This is where the crunch finally comes. There will always be the entrepreneur, who moves to another enterprise to stay “on the crest of the wave”, but for the rest, production has to be the main aim and not all farmers wish to rely on this outcome. At the same time, some “studs” or breeders realise that there is still a need for breeding stock but that the need is for productivity, not fancy points. However, one should not be too dogmatic about such classifications. There are many members of the industry who are happy doing what they have always done. This is the position of the mohair industry at present. The emphasis seems to have split between “stockists” who wish to maintain stud stock and compete in the show ring for prizes based on visual and prepared characteristics, and “producers” who see that mohair is a better product (economically) than wool and that a good return can be made from mohair production which includes the somewhat more rapid movement of animals to slaughter to make room for younger and more profitable animals. That is not to say that some of the “producers” aren’t also interested in breeding and promoting their animals by showing. Indeed, there is nothing more commercial than a large stud focusing on mohair production. In that context, the introduction of performance recording Left: Yearling buck flocks in South Africa. Right: Australia – at about the same time of year.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011


But a third group seems to be emerging; one just interested in running a small group of animals for their own sake. Many are younger professionals who do their homework. They look at web sites and evaluate industries by what they see. However, over the last 2 years there has been a market for 5 to 10 does, or maybe more, to run on rural life-style blocks. The purchasers of such groups of animals want good quality but have no intention to enter a stud breeding enterprise or get into showing animals. These people just like angoras and the rewards they get from managing a small and responsive group of animals. Where this is going is difficult to predict. Shearing may or may not be as much a difficulty, as many larger farmers encounter, but fleece handling and sale could well be difficult, because of the small volumes and the difficulty of arranging transport to distant sale points. On the other hand, maybe there will be a craft use for at least some of the fibre, though this will require knowledge of craft requirements of finer, cleaner and longer fibre than generally required for commercial fibre sales. There is also a considerable interest in “new” breeding stock. At least four importation programs are under way and this involves frozen embryos from South Africa. Whether this material is of significance remains to be seen. There is always interest in new sources of stock but there is a need to evaluate it and one might argue that a better use of resources might be to breed animals suited to the many environments in Australia. It should be remembered that Australian production is based on pasture rather than desert veldt, and fibre quality, under generally better feed supply, might well be affected and so require different selection pressures. Perhaps it is worth reminding growers of the concept of quality – indeed “elite” quality. This has been a strong component of the South African industry for years but the message is not universally

accepted (or complied with) even in South Africa. I am not referring to washing animals and lock by lock classing, which has been driven to extreme by the major South African buck producers trying to demonstrate ultimate genetic value by manipulating the phenotypic (environmental) influences on mohair’s visual appearances. It is much more basic than that. Shearing to a length specification, reducing vegetable contamination, culling older stock, skirting cotty pieces and strong necks, removal of stains and a general care in presenting the best possible fibre from a particular environment are larger issues which can greatly influence returns. There is little doubt that Australian mohair has improved immeasurably now that the flock consists entirely of genetic material imported over the last 25 years, but we can do more, both with management and breeding. In a world of shrinking production but improving prices, mohair needs to at least maintain its ability to deliver quality mohair which is easy to process. Manufacturers are fighting to maintain market share and any extra problems only hasten the thoughts of moving to other fibres. It is in this context that the job of the Australian industry is now set. We have the land, we have the animals, we have the technology, we have the market; all we need is more goats and more farmers. Doug Stapleton completed a Bachelor of Rural Science and PhD at the University of New England and lectured in Animal Science until 1980. He moved to the family property at Cudal NSW and became Stud Master of the Cudal Mohair Stud (running some 700 Angoras) and the Technical Leader of National Mohair Pool – one of the two Mohair Brokers in Australia. He has taken an active role in Mohair Australia Ltd and published the “Australian Handbook of Angora Goats and Mohair Production” (with Denise Cunningham) in 2007. For more information on the mohair industry, go to www.mohair.org.au

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011

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and objective breeding methods supports the farming approach.

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Tax – non-commercial business losses

By Alan Cummine

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n the introductory tax article last edition, I noted that “non-commercial losses is one topic that has special relevance to certain producers in certain new industries, particularly parttime farmers”.

collaboration

Let’s elaborate. Note that what follows here does not constitute tax advice, which you must seek from a licensed professional expert in this part of the tax law.

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The non-commercial loss provisions were legislated in June 2000, in response to recommendations from the Ralph Review of Business Taxation. Ralph wanted to control the ability of taxpayers to “claim business status, and therefore allowable deductions, for activities which are essentially private or lifestyle choices rather than genuine business activities”. So-called hobby farms of wealthy ‘Pitt Street farmers’ were among the target activities. Division 35 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997) is the relevant part of tax law. Amendments were made in 2002 (a minor anomaly) and 2009 (a major new threshold test – see Tax Laws Amendment (Budget Measures No 2) Act 2009 and the more helpful Explanatory Memorandum). The provisions do not apply to companies or trusts, only to taxpayers acting as sole traders or as partners. They do not apply to a hobby, even if the hobby makes money. In other words, you must first be actually carrying on a business, or at least asserting that you are doing so and therefore attempting to claim business deductions. The law is not specifically aimed at primary producers (but at anyone carrying on a small-scale business activity), but that is the focus of this article. The ATO website is groaning with extra information – Fact Sheets, Questions & Answers, Guidelines, Forms, and Tax Rulings, especially TR2001/14 and TR 2007/6. On www.ato.gov.au, simply find and click on ‘Non-commercial losses’ under ‘Tax topics A-Z’ on the left.

Non-commercial loss ‘objective’ tests If you are a small-scale primary producer not trading as a company, and you offset business losses against off-farm income of more than $40,000 a year, you are subject to these provisions. The $40,000 threshold applies to each taxpayer individually. Because the law also introduces the concept of separate business activities (each assessed separately for Division 35), well-established largescale primary producers diversifying into a new industry may also be covered.

Here’s how the law works In order to avoid being classified by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as ‘non-commercial’ and thereby required to defer your business losses to some future income year, your business activity must pass at least one of four arbitrary tests. It must either: • make assessable income of at least $20,000 in the income year; or • have made a profit in three of the past five years; or • use, on a continuing basis, real property (excluding the house) worth at least $500,000; or • use, on a continuing basis, other assets (excluding motor vehicles) with a depreciated value of at least $100,000. Note that if your business activity fails to pass any of these tests, you are not being denied the deductions. You simply must either limit the deductions to the amount of income from the business, or carry forward the excess deductions to some future income year when the activity will either make a tax profit or pass one of the tests. The carry-forward provision makes no allowance for inflation, risk or the time value of money. And the tests apply every year – ie, passing a test in one or more years does not confer an enterprise with ‘commercial’ status in perpetuity.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011


plantation forestry and much treebased horticulture.

It is not hard to see that the ‘real property’ and ‘other assets’ tests discriminate in favour of high income taxpayers. Indeed, from the very start in the year 2000, the legislation has been criticised for not catching one of the main target groups – ie, those who can afford adequate high-priced rural land served by good roads within 100 kilometres of a capital or regional city, and those who can afford to overcapitalise their farms with expensive but idle machinery rather than pay local contractors to carry out the work.

The Commissioner’s discretion is not a default option. You must actively seek it using the ATO’s nominated process (see the guide and application form on the website), and your application must be supported by all the information needed for the Commissioner to make a judgment.

Rather than amend these two tests to be more realistic (or delete them altogether), the 2009 tax law amendment introduced another test that aims simply to prevent high income taxpayers avoiding tax by accessing the provisions at all. The new income requirement is met only when, in the most recent income year, the sum of an individual’s ‘adjusted taxable income’ (ie, taxable income + reportable fringe benefits + reportable superannuation contributions + total net investment losses) is less than $250,000.

If the Commissioner exercises discretion in your favour, it will be for a specific period, up until the year in which you expect the business activity to pass one of the tests or make a tax profit. During the period of the discretion, you will be allowed to claim the business losses against other income, which you would otherwise have had to defer.

That means that a person with an adjusted taxable income of $250,000 or more may not deduct business losses against other income, regardless of whether one of the tests could be passed, but must quarantine the losses to assessable income from the relevant business activity in the current and future income years.

Commissioner’s discretion If your business activity does not pass any of the tests, there may still be a way forward. In order to claim your losses in the years they are incurred, you can apply for the Tax Commissioner to exercise his discretion. The Commissioner can consider only two criteria when deciding that it would be ‘unreasonable’ for the loss not to be deductible against other income. The first is when your business activity would have passed at least one of the tests had it not been for special circumstances outside your control, such as natural disasters. The second is when you have commenced a business activity that “because of its nature” has an inherent lead time before satisfying the Division 35 requirements. There must be an objective and independently verifiable expectation that “within a period that is commercially viable for the industry concerned”, the business activity will pass one of the tests or will produce assessable income greater than attributable deductions (ie, make a tax profit). Obvious primary production examples are

Seeking the Commissioner’s discretion – objectively demonstrating that the business activity will satisfy Division 35 within a commercially viable period for that industry – is also the only way that a taxpayer who does not meet the $250,000 income requirement can be enabled to claim ongoing business losses for a nominated period.

New rural industries There is much to criticise and debate about Division 35, including whether it does, as claimed, improve the integrity, fairness and equity of the tax system, or whether it merely injects unwarranted discrimination, complexity and uncertainty into legitimate small business enterprises. There is certainly an argument that it can discriminate against innovation and the start-up phase of enterprises in new rural industries that do not have an inherent lead time (ie, “because of its nature”), or that cannot be demonstrated to be an integral part of an established and profitable diversified farm business (ie, are classified by the ATO as ‘separate’ business activities). Nevertheless, until these matters are debated and resolved, the only way forward is for primary producers in new rural industries to find the appropriate business structure, enterprise combination and scale of operations that either comply with the law or legitimately avoid its coverage. Alan Cummine has been representing private forestry at the national level for sixteen years, and has been a member since its inception in 1999 of the ATO’s Primary Production Industry Partnership consultative group.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011

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The new $250,000 income requirement

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What’s in the Carbon Farming Initiative for you?

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By Michael and Louisa Kiely

n 2006, when the Carbon Coalition started campaigning for farmbased carbon credits, the Australian Greenhouse Office believed that farmers would be forced to reduce emissions from animals and cropping or pay for offsets. They assumed that, because agriculture was the second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gasses, farmers would have to pay. And they were certain there could be no credits for soil carbon captured and stored because there was no scientific proof of it.

your view

By 2009 PM Kevin Rudd instructed his Minister for Agriculture to look into soil carbon. By early 2010 Minister Tony Burke told farmers that there would be no ‘fart tax’ or methane bill and there would be no nitrogen fertiliser tax. He said that agriculture was…“The only section of the Australian economy where we ignore the emissions, ignore them completely. Even if they go up, we ignore them… But if you’re able to reduce your emissions through abatement, you get cash.” And farmers who store carbon in soils and vegetation also get cash.

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In August, 2010, PM Julia Gillard announced the Carbon Farming Initiative: “Farmers and landholders will benefit from a new income stream… Government [will] legislate clear rules for the recognition of carbon credits. In October 2010, the Government released a document for consultation by January, 2010. The program is scheduled to start on 1 July, 2011. This article explains what is proposed and how that relates to you – the primary producer. The Commonwealth Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), announced on 14 August, 2010, aims to give farmers, landholders and forest owners access to domestic and international carbon markets. There are many opportunities for farmers and landholders in the CFI. They can earn offsets from a long list of activities, including: • reforestation and revegetation – eg. plantations, integrated farm forestry and regrowth; • reduced methane emissions from livestock – eg. Diet management, rumen inoculants, etc.;

• reduced fertiliser emissions – eg. precision application, alternative fertilisers, etc.; • manure management – eg. composting, anaerobic digesters and flaring; • reduced emissions and/or increased sequestration in agricultural soils (soil carbon) – eg. no-till cultivation, grazing management, pasture cropping, nutrient management; • savanna fire management – eg. avoiding large destructive fires while retaining environmentally-positive use of fire; • avoided deforestation – eg. reduced land clearing; • burning of stubble/crop residue– eg. Stubble retention/incorporated, etc.; • reduced emissions from rice cultivation – eg. reducing water levels in paddies to reduce methane emissions; • reduced emissions from landfill waste – eg. composting, applying compost on soils. Carbon Farmers of Australia recommend that farmers decide which of the activities on this list are relevant to them and take a portfolio approach to them: Revenue from offsets will be maximised and opportunities won’t be missed. A typical ‘portfolio’ of activities could include fertiliser reduction/substitution + reduced methane from livestock + reduced landfill/farm composting + soil carbon sequestration. While the scheme is scheduled to start on 1 July, 2011, not all the options will be ready. The forestry options were trading prior to the CFI and so will start early. Other ‘low hanging fruit’ includes reduced fertiliser usage and manure management/ landfill waste. The others will come on stream as they have “methodologies” approved.

Farmers and landholders have three options: 1. Running a project of their own — gaining the approvals and reporting on their progress. 2. Hiring a specialist to manage the reporting and administration. 3. Allow an offset aggregator to include their activity with others for trading.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011


Example: Farmer A chooses to undertake a project to reduce fertiliser use on the farm. Finds the relevant CFI methodology, applies to the CFI Scheme Administrator to become a recognised offsets provider and has their project approved. The farmer reduces fertiliser use (by precision application or biofertiliser substitution or other method). Each year the farmer completes a report, has it audited, then submits it to the Administrator. Credits are issued into the farmer’s account in the Offsets Registry. These are then able to be sold via a broker. The farmer can appoint an agent to handle all the administration. Or they can join other farmers as part of a ‘aggregation’ or pool. The CFI is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Instead it is an incentive program that aims to help land managers make the shift to lower emissions practices. Demand for CFI credits is expected to come from foreign governments seeking to meet their Kyoto obligations, as well as companies overseas seeking to meet their obligations under national or regional schemes, such as the EU Emission Trading Scheme. CFI credits could also be attractive to companies operating in markets dominated by the voluntary market, such as Australia’s traditional trade partner Japan. A “methodology” is a step-by-step plan for helping farmers earn offsets. There is no limit to the number of methodologies, because the Carbon Market is a free enterprise system. Individuals are free to trade with each other, so long as they don’t break the law. The Government is developing methodologies, with the help of industry. Private project developers can also design their own. A methodology has the following parts: 1. A description of the activities that will either avoid emissions or capture greenhouse gasses. The carbon sinks and carbon sources touched Eg. soil, livestock. 2. How the baseline (starting point) and amounts of Greenhouse Gases removed or avoided. 3. How buyers can be reassured that the activities in one location don’t create more emissions somewhere else. 4. How the performance of the program will be measured. 5. How the project will be monitored. The decision to approve a methodology is taken by the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency on the advice of the members of the Domestic Offset Integrity Committee – an independent expert panel appointed by the Government.

The paper includes “Integrity Standards”. They are a list of ‘rules’ that are proposed to give buyers confidence that the abatement offsets they are buying aren’t just smoke and mirrors – that they are real. These rules include:

Additional–the emissions saved or extracted would not have happened without the offset, but are genuinely additional to other efforts.

Permanence – the emissions saved or extracted are not released for the period of the active life of the particular Greenhouse Gasses, eg. CO2 – 100 years Leakage – the project does not create increases in emissions somewhere else that cancels out the initial saving.

Measurable and verifiable – all activity must be accurately measured or estimated; each offset credit must stand for one tonne of CO2-e; auditing must be independent. Conservative – assumptions, figures, and measurement must be conservative to avoid over-claiming.

Internationally consistent – methodologies and reporting practices aligned with those adopted by the United Nations. When Climate Change Minister Greg Combet released draft legislation for the Carbon Farming Initiative in January, it will be exactly 5 years since Michael and Louisa Kiely launched their campaign for farmers’ rights to earn carbon credits on their land. The couple – who operate out of their 1780 acre sheep farm in the Cudgegong Valley near Wellington, NSW – have travelled all over Australia and half way round the world to spread the word about soil carbon and its potential to transform farm landscapes, to deliver food security, and to bring realistic hope to a world suffering radical Climate Change.

For more information go to www.carboncoalition.com.au.

a picture says a thousand words

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011

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Continued from page 19

Consumers want it all!

goods section of the pantry until it is surreptitiously discarded in case its gone stale! I saw this frequently when I lived in the Caribbean – tourists would invariably take home a bottle of explosively hot pepper sauce and a large bottle of over-proof rum. What was appropriate for an evening soirée on the beach in Barbados never seemed to fit the bill in boring Birmingham. Look, there are terrific opportunities for the products of new rural industries in Australia. Food and drink are integral to making unforgettable holiday experiences and the very best advocates for your products are those who taste and absorb the story when they are on holiday.

However, the most frequent purchasers will be those who live close by and are particularly proud of the provenance and local associations. Most of us say we like to try new food products but many are inherently conservative – hoteliers on the Mombasa Coast in Kenya report that interest in tropical fruit jam is invariably high, but tourists choose marmalade over all others 5 to 1! There are clear trends to purchase local, seasonal, traditional, “green”, artisanal foods with compelling stories. Consumers expect and do pay a premium for tasty story food. Don’t scare them off with unfamiliar names they can’t pronounce. Dr. David Hughes was the keynote speaker at the recent NRIA conference

Leading Farm Scholarship Organisation now 60 and going strong

diary dates

Applications close 30 June 2011

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Nuffield Australia, the country’s pre-eminent agricultural scholarship program for farmers, has celebrated its 60th Diamond Jubilee in recent months. Nuffield Australia is an organisation which provides an opportunity to Australian farmers to travel overseas for 16 weeks on an agricultural research scholarship. The program consists of both group and individual travel, with the next group leaving for New Zealand, North America, Brazil, Mexico and France in early March. Following the group travel, each individual scholar then travels the globe to investigate a research topic of their choice, before presenting their findings to alumni and Nuffield supporters on their return and writing a report. In October, 18 new scholars were awarded Nuffield Scholarships, with a diverse range of research topics proposed, including efficiencies in no-till cropping through to summer vegetable production, corporate farming structures, on-farm energy production and the latest prawn fishery technologies.

at the Gold Coast. He is Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing at Imperial College London, and Visiting Professor at the University of Kent Business School and at the Royal Agricultural College, U.K. David speaks regularly at international conferences and seminars on global food industry issues, particularly consumer trends, and is a strong proponent of building vertical alliances between key chain members in the food industry – farmers, life science and input companies, ingredient firms, food and beverage manufacturers, retailers and food service. For more information go to www.profdavidhughes.com, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his regular podcasts.

Applications for the 2012 Scholarships close on the 30th June 2011 and are open to primary producers between the ages of 28 and 40. For more information on Nuffield Australia please visit www.nuffield.com.au and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ nuffieldaust

teams of 3 animals shorn and their fleeces valued.

National Angora Trophy Show – Goulburn

3 – 6 July 2011, Adelaide

4 – 6 March 2011

As usual the first weekend in March will see the major breed show for Angora Goats. The National Angora Trophy Show brings together the diamonds of the Angora Breed in Goulburn each year for animal and fleece showing, social functions and a sale of breeding stock. The NATS usually features an international judge and this year it will be Janet Brielly from New Zealand. It is a daunting task to judge as many as 30 animals in a class as well as officiate in fleece judging and Junior Judging competitions. The event starts with fleece judging on the Friday afternoon, a get together BBQ that evening, and continues with animal Judging on Saturday. Saturday sees the gala dinner and prize presentations and animals are sold on Sunday morning. A production trial is also run with

All are welcome to attend and find out what is going on in the Angora Mohair industry. More information contact Nick Gorrie on 0409 129 123

Protected Cropping Australia Conference

In early July, at the prestigious Adelaide Convention Centre, Protected Cropping Australia (PCA) is holding their  biennial national conference. PCA (formerly the Australian Hydroponic & Greenhouse Association), is the peak industry body representing the interests of greenhouse and hydroponic growers that currently has an annual farm-gate value of around $1.3billion. This is the premier industry event targeted at 1,600 + growers in 1,300+ Ha. Traditionally, there will be a large trade show, interesting and topical speakers, gala dinner, farm tours and unlimited opportunity to network and do business. Highly recommended for hydroponic or aquaponics producers, or businesses  involved in the supply of goods and services to the Australian commercial greenhouse or hydroponic industry for production of cut-flowers, vegetables, or leafy greens.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011


Claude Cassegrain Continued from page 15

interest of mainstream, over-the-counter, consumer product manufacturers to use tea tree oil in competition with and instead of synthetic chemicals.

Q: What do you attribute these to?

Firstly, in developing the plantation we sourced and used the best seed available from the joint RIRDC/ATTIA ‘Tea Tree Breeding Program’, and we do our best to provide our staff with the training, tools and encouragement they need and salaries they deserve. Secondly, adopting best practices for the maintenance, harvesting and distillation of the tea trees. We have been accredited by ATTIA as meeting and maintaining our business to ATTIA’s ‘Code of Practice’ (COP).

ATTIA’s COP certification represents to us as tea tree farmers, the industry equivalent of ‘Good Manufacturing Practice’ (GMP) for our downstream pharmaceutical/ cosmetic product manufacturing customers. This ‘COP’ accreditation provides independent verification to the market that we have quality assurance traceability of the oil we sell, all the way back to the leaf. This gives confidence not only to the manufacturers of pharmaceutical, veterinary and cosmetic products, but also to the regulatory authorities concerned with the well-being of consumers and animals.

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

1. Undertake a SWOT analysis of the agronomic and market factors on the proposed new agriculture business. 2. Complete a business plan including financial budgets and financial milestones. 3. Be prepared for the reality of the application of the ‘Murphy’s Law’ rule. 4. Become an active member of a relevant industry association as well as a suitable broader farmers association. 5. If you wish have a large business, become an expert in the business you are in. If you wish to have a small business, become an expert in the details of your business. Hire the experts accordingly and have a lot of tenacity. Q: What is your future vision for your business?

Terry and Nicky Noonan Continued from page 12

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

1. Do not start your new rural industry without enough working capital 2. Undertake extensive market research on your product 3. Ensure you have a business and marketing plan in place. You need to put down on paper what you want to achieve so you can revisit it in a year’s time and monitor your goals that you set 4. Realise the importance of seeking advice from professional advisors when necessary 5. You must be passionate, persistent, hardworking and unable to accept defeat

Q: What is the future vision for your business?

To grow into a medium size business that does not require ongoing innovation and entrepreneurship to survive.

• To increase the number of saffron producing farms in the Tas-Saff network. • Replace cheap imported inferior saffron with Tas-Saff premium grade Extra Category One saffron. • Increase export of Tas-Saff saffron.

For more information: ph. +61 2 6585 2722, or cc@catto.com.au

Website: www.tas-saff.com Email: tas-saff@bigpond.com.au

Advertising bookings for future issues of Passion to Profit are being taken now. Email: advertising@nria.org.au for our rate card, deadlines and specifications.


FARMERS…

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 www.diaa.org 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: Mini-Conference, Port Macquarie, NSW – 25/26 March 2011 Mini-Conference, Perth, WA – 12/13 May 2011 National Flower Conference, Brisbane, Qld – 12/15 July 2011 Mini-Conference, Adelaide, SA – 12/13 Aug 2011

www.wildflowersaustralia.com.au Executive Officer Tony Larkman, ph. 0434 263 664

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 www.australianolives.com.au

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Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011


HYDROPONIC substrates

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

For more information please contact mohair@mohair.org.au 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 www.carbonfarmersofaustralia.com.au   

          



Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 2 – 2011

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“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 – www.nria.org.au


February-March 2011