Growing & Producing

Growers and producers are important and active participants in the food product value chain.

If you are a grower of fresh produce, your focus may be on supplying a manufacturer or a customer such as a retailer , or you may choose to market your produce directly through outlets such as Farmers’ Markets.

It will be helpful to your business to make sure you understand consumer demands and customer requirements, regardless of whether you are selling direct, distributing or acting as a supplier. This understanding will help you develop a strong relationship with your business partners and work together to take advantage of opportunities arising from changes in consumer attitudes and requirements. By doing so, you can make gains in profit margins and reduce business risks.

The availability and use of our natural resources is under increasing pressure from population growth and changing customer and consumer requirements. Growers and producers must ensure the way they grow their produce is environmentally sustainable and in line with these needs and demands.

Natural resource management

Natural resource management (NRM) is the sustainable management of natural resources (our land, water, marine and biological systems). Efficient management of these precious resources is vital if we are to ensure our ongoing social, economic and environmental wellbeing.

The challenges of natural resource management tend to be extremely complex and affect broad areas of the country over a long period of time. Agriculture and food businesses are continuously faced with the need to adapt to the various challenges arising from climate trends, such as increasing average temperatures and changing rainfall patterns, in addition to the drought and water shortages that are a constant risk to growers across the nation.

Undoubtedly, in 10 to 15 years the Australian agriculture and food sector will be significantly different from what it is today in terms of the immediate challenges and how we deal with them.

The agriculture and food sector will continue to be affected by wider developments in the Australian economy – in addition to pressures on its natural resources. Although planning and forecasting techniques are already sophisticated, this does not mean the changes ahead will all be predicted. Unforeseen changes may bring unexpected consequences.

Identified challenges include:

  • interest rates and inflation
  • microeconomic reform
  • the regulatory environment
  • the taxation regime
  • industrial relations
  • interactions between the Australian and state/territory governments
  • winning better access to world markets
  • maintain domestic biosecurity

Who can help?

Agricultural Bureau of South Australia

The Agricultural Bureau of South Australia is a not-for-profit organisation run by farmers, for farmers and open to everyone associated with, or interested in, farming, agricultural development and education.

Caring for Our Country

The Federal Government funds 56 regional natural resource management organisations across the country, including regional South Australia through this initiative.

Biosecurity SA

Works on behalf of government, industry and the community to manage the threat to the environment and economy from pests and diseases, and also misuse of agricultural and veterinary chemicals.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

DAFF’s role is to develop and implement policies and programs that ensure Australia’s agricultural, fisheries, food and forestry industries remain competitive, profitable and sustainable.

Health SA has a series of fact sheets and guidelines on options such as the use of alternative water supplies (such as bore and rainwater) water cartage and recycled water use.

Hortex Alliance is an industry alliance created to help build capacity in South Australia’s horticulture industry and enhance sustainability, profitability and technical development.

Rural Solutions SA provides consultancy services in areas such as natural resource management, seed testing and certification, biosecurity and natural resource management.  They also operate the Waste Use For Good program, helping businesses convert previously discarded waste into fertiliser or into irrigation management systems with the goal of helping them extract the most from primary production for environmental protection and profit.

SA Water has developed a program to help businesses be more efficient with water use. The Business Water Saver Program, developed under the Water Proofing Adelaide: A Thirst for Change program, includes useful hints to cut water use.

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Compost for Soils

Compost for Soils is an industry-led initiative helping businesses reduce waste and use compost to help improve soil quality and production. The website includes fact sheets on composting, vineyards, vegetable production and bioremediation.

Organic farming

Certified organic products are grown and processed without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilisers, or genetically modified organisms. Officially regulated standards to achieve this are internationally recognised, and are assured through annual audits of all certified operators by an independent third party auditor.

Organic certification is not only for farming practices, it also applies to processing methods and packaging and retailing. Products can be certified so the organic integrity is carried through from paddock to plate.

On the back of strong consumer demand, products once offered only through health food stores or food cooperatives in the 1970s are now commonplace on the shelves of today’s supermarkets. Organic products now occupy prime shelf space in the big retailers, offer potential for increased returns through higher price points and present export opportunities for Australian producers.

To make the most of these benefits, you must demonstrate your credentials as an organic farmer. Accreditation can be a lengthy and complex process and will be affected by factors such as how long organic practices have been used on the property.

Biodynamic dairy B.-d Farm Paris Creek is one successful example of this approach. This South Australian business has achieved many awards for its high-quality biodynamic dairy products and is an industry leader in using these principles to develop a successful food business.

Four Leaf Milling is a 100% organic and bio-dynamic grain specialists with an environment that is a uniquely balanced ecosystem. The farm that has been certified bio dynamic since 1989 has been chemically ‘clean’ for the past 80 years.

Who can help?

The Agricultural Bureau of South Australia is a not-for-profit organisation run by farmers, for farmers and open to everyone associated with, or interested in, farming, agricultural development and education.

Within Australia, the Biosecurity Australia is responsible for the organic inspection and certification system.

Australian Organic is the not-for-profit peak body representing the interests of over 3,000 organic farmers, operators, producers, processors and traders. It offers public education about organic farming and advice for environmentally sustainable farming practices, including processes such as composting, anaerobic ponding, crop rotation and organic weed management.

Biosecurity SA works on behalf of government, industry and the community to manage the threat to the environment and economy from pests and diseases, and also misuse of agricultural and veterinary chemicals.

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