Neil grew up on a farm in the Kingaroy area but actually went into building and had a plastering business for some years. Then in 2018 he felt called back to the farming life and purchased Jonathon’s organic farm in the area.
Since then he’s grown organic popcorn and soy beans for us. We don’t have any photos of Neil yet because he’s pretty new to the business. We could show you photos of soybeans growing on his farm, but that won’t tell you much about him.
Inspired as he was to buy an organic farm, he’s found that the reality is a little different… The biggest challenge when it comes to growing organics is how to deal with the weeds. Farmers are forced to find all kinds of ingenious methods that range from grazing sheep, who do love eating a lot of the weeds, but won’t eat all species. Another option is to employ ‘chippers’ who literally go through on a motorbike with a good old fashioned hoe and chip the weeds out. As you can imagine, this is not a fun job, and it can be challenging to find workers to do these kinds of jobs!
Of course, in conventional farming they’d just spray with pesticides like Round-up, and that would apparently solve the problem. Until the weeds develop resistance and just return regardless of how much pesticide is applied. Once you’re into that kind of cycle the only solution is to apply more powerful pesticides. This kind of thing is what’s happening in the USA where over-use of glyphosate based pesticides have caused weed resistance, and conventional farmers are turning to more toxic pesticides like Dicamba to kill weeds. Bottom line – fighting weeds is a war that humans won’t win in the long term.
So, the short of it is that being an organic farmer is a challenge – it means more work, and some ingenuity. For this reason, in a world where most of us don’t want to do more work (we want to have a life) we have to be thankful for the passion that leads someone into being an organic farmer – and persisting in staying organic, through all the challenges this presents.
If you’re not sure why we should be avoiding pesticides you can read the research that supports this stance over on our blog.