Eric, Goondiwindi, Qld
A longer term organic farmer in the Goondiwindi region Eric grows organic barley and Grade A certified organic KAMUT® brand khorasan wheat for us. Khorasan is an ancient wheat, however only the KAMUT® brand of khorasan is guaranteed to be always grown certified organic, never hybridized or genetically modified. Kialla has the exclusive Australian license to supply real KAMUT® khorasan wheat, as other khorasan wheats are often hybridised. Eric is one of the farmers we contract to grow it for the Australian market.
More recently Eric has expanded his operations to include another property in the Yelarbon district, not far from his first farm at Goondiwindi. This new farm is currently in conversion to organic – a stamp of faith in the organic farming industry. “In-conversion” means that he is currently changing more country over to grow organic crops. This is good news for us as it means more organic produce is available closer to our mill.
Here at Yelarbon he grows In Conversion to organic millet for Kialla at Yelarbon.
The Yelarbon property has irrigation capacity which will ensure we have more reliable grain supplies, as the crops will not be as susceptible to drought.
Eric, also operates a composting business which keeps him busy when not managing the farming operations on the 2 properties. The compost also supplies good nutrition for the organic soil on his farms.
About In Conversion to Organic produce:
For primary producers there are 3 stages to achieving organic status.
At the beginning of the first year, the ‘pre-cert’ stage, the farm had the initial audit and an Organic Management Plan put in place. The audit reviewed accounts and production history, verifying inputs (eg: any thing added to soils, crop or livestock) and provides alternatives where needed. At each audit the certifying body takes soil samples and tests for contamination chemicals, heavy metals and GMO (where applicable).
This intensive pre-cert process involves a fair bit of paperwork, however this is something Rob is familiar with since he has been farming organically for some time and understands the process well.
Pre-certification products can’t carry an organic logo or make the claim of being ‘in conversion to organic’ for that first 12 months. So farmers are unable to sell any product as organic for that first year.
Then, after at least 12 months in pre-cert, another full-scale audit determined whether the farm achieved ‘in-conversion’ status. As a result we can start selling the produce as organic, but since it’s not yet ‘A Grade’ status, we use the terminology ‘In Conversion to Organic’.
Another year will pass before the next annual audit presents the Kialla farm with A Grade Certified Organic status, providing he continues to meet all the necessary requirements such as using natural inputs, organic seeds etc. So next year it’s very likely, weather permitting, we’ll be selling the next crop as Certified Organic.
Meanwhile, the In Conversion flour products are marked with a stippled Australian Certified Organic logo. When you purchase in-conversion products you are supporting the farmers through this 3 year process, and you are recognising the additional work and costs involved in the conversion process. This kind of support encourages more farmers to go through the demanding certification process.
While the In Conversion grain has been grown and processed under strict organic standards, it is less expensive than A Grade grain, which has been in short supply due not only to a shortage of organic grain farmers, but also to recent crop damage for our long-term suppliers.
We only supply In Conversion product to manufacturers and wholesalers. If you purchased a retail product you can be sure it is A-grade certified.