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Opportunities for the organic beef industry on the North Coast

CalfMacleay Valley beef producers are keen to explore the opportunities for organic beef if a recent workshop offered by Kempsey Shire Council and supported by North Coast Local Land Services is any indication. The Workshop was attended by more than 40 beef farmers from across the Macleay Valley who heard of the challenges and opportunities posed by converting to organic certification.

Last year, North Coast Local Land Services commissioned the Organic Food in the North Coast Region of NSW report which provided a snapshot of the growing organic industry.

The total value of the certified organic industry in Australia is currently about $1.7 billion (including production, processing, packaging, retail and wholesale), of which about 80% is domestic and 20% is export.

The annual growth rate of organic agri-business in Australia is over 15%, more than four times that of conventional agriculture. Over 2,500 certified organic businesses now operate in Australia including 1,700 primary producers, 700 processors and 100 wholesalers.

In the North Coast region, a diversity of organic businesses operate from Tweed Heads to Port Macquarie and the Report has identified annual revenue from organic produce in the region at about $24 million.

There are 270 certified organic businesses operating in the region, which is roughly 35% of all certified businesses in New South Wales and 10% of all certified organic businesses in Australia.

The report shows that North Coast organic businesses turnover $106,000 per year, slightly more per business that a conventional farm at $105,000 per year. This is very positive sign for those considering becoming organic.   Meat prices were also discussed at the workshop with indications that prices of up to $7.20 /kg carcass weight were being received.

Lindy Brown, Team Leader Land Services said of the workshop, “Quite a few of the beef producers at the Workshop indicated they were very keen to try their hand at converting to organic beef production.”

“Participating in these kind of workshops is important for North Coast Local Land Services to understand how we can best support this growing industry.” Lindy said.

Media contact:

Lindy Brown, Team Leader Land Services, phone 0437 826 152

Photo captions:

The market for organic beef offers an excellent opportunity for North Coast beef producers.