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Agriculture stories

The following stories relate to Tasmania’s Agricultural sector:

Farming success

Edition 200_FrancesPeterBender

When they set up their salmon business as a side hobby, Frances and Peter Bender – the founders of Huon Aquaculture – could never have imagined they would create history by becoming the first fish farmers to be named Australian Farmer of the Year.

9 November 2018

Man on a mission

Edition 200_Meredith_Yung

David Meredith is on a mission. He owns a collection of Hobart upmarket establishments – including the iconic Islington Hotel – and has now scored a coup for Tasmania in Hong Kong’s supermarkets.

9 November 2018, Edition 200

Fruit fly bill tops $10m

According to recently released figures, Tasmania’s fruit fly fight has cost the state more than $10 million. The annual report of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water, and Environment also revealed that this figure included $3 million spent on staff overtime. Authorities moved swiftly when fruit fly was first detected on Flinders Island in January, sparking one of the state’s most serious biosecurity threats. Northern control area restrictions will remain in place until January, and in the Furneaux Group area until late December, with the industry continuing to work closely with Biosecurity Tasmania and the State Government on this vital issue. Tasmania has received international acclaim for its long-held fruit fly free status, and Fruit Growers Tasmania believes the state's international reputation has not been harmed as a result of the incursion. Chief Executive, Stuart Burgess told Tasmanian Country: “We’ve got a long history of being safe, our produce being very biosecure in a state context, and that’s understood by our trading partners.”

9 November 2018, Edition 200

On the sheep’s back

Edition 199_FionaHume

An innovative Tasmanian not-for-profit organisation is helping farmers – such as Fiona Hume who tends Australia’s largest flock of rare English Leicester sheep – realise their dreams.

14 October 2018, Edition 199

A ‘quacking’ success

From chickens to ducks. That’s the career trajectory of former chicken industry worker, Matthew Crane, who is now successfully running Tasmania’s first pastured duck farm. We are all used to hearing about free-range chicken and grass-fed beef. Well, now duck is going designer as well. On his small farm south of Launceston, Crane is tapping into the boutique, free-range market, producing local pasture-fed duck meat; and it seems the local restaurants and butchers just can’t get enough. “You can definitely taste the difference in our product; it has a more earthy flavour and the colour of the fat is more yellow,” Crane told The Mercury. In fact, things are going so well Crane is hoping to cash in on the huge popularity of duck in Asia, and is eyeing off the export market. In the meantime, his small flock of happily roaming feathered friends continues to thrive. As they say, great weather for ducks! “Tasmania has the ideal climate for ducks because it’s cool and ducks don’t cope well with heat,” Crane explains.

14 October 2018, Edition 199

The good oil

A golden oil from Tasmania’s northwest has just bagged silver. The cold pressed canola oil, from Hill Farm Preserves, has recently been awarded silver at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show Awards, with criteria including smell, taste, and look. The oil also impressed the judges with its embrace of Tasmania’s clean, green, brand. Not only is it GM-free, but it is made from seed grown at a nearby farm. Like all products from Hill Farm Preserves, it is also made from natural ingredients and is bottled and labelled by hand. The range also includes oils infused with Cumin, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon and Wild Mountain Pepperberry. Hill Farm also produces artisan jams, vinegars, fruit paste, chutneys and mustard. Its products are exported to Japan, South Korea and Sri Lanka.

14 October 2018, Edition 199

Fields of green

Edition 198_RedCow

Lured by Tasmania’s lush green pastures, the Jackman family gathered up their herd of gentle red cows, and headed south to set up a dairy farm.

12 September 2018, Edition 198

Kelp crop for salmon farmer

Tassal produces some of the world’s best salmon, but now it is also producing world-class giant kelp. In November the company expects to harvest its first seaweed crop, which has been growing next to fish pens at Oakhampton Bay on Tasmania’s East Coast. Tassal says the kelp crop reduces the company’s environmental footprint, as it helps balance the delicate marine environment. Tassal Head of Environment explained to The Mercury that emissions from salmon farming were soluble nutrients and giant kelp uses those nutrients for growth. Tassal’s move into seaweed is also motivated by a desire to regenerate Tasmania’s famous – but fast disappearing – kelp forests. Giant kelp is one of the quickest growing plants in the world. It can grow up to 50 centimetres a day and reach heights of 30 metres. The giant kelp forests on the Tasman Peninsula are one of the state’s biggest diving drawcards, and Tassal has also been involved in their preservation. It is forecast that by 2020 the world’s seaweed industry will be worth around $20 billion, and giant kelp from Tasmania’s clear, nutrient rich waters, is amongst the most highly valued in the world. As well as being edible, alginates from processed kelp are a key in numerous manufacturing processes, such as in the food industry where alkalines are used as thickeners.

12 September 2018, Edition 198

January end for fruit fly

Tasmania is expected to be fruit-fly free by January, according to the State Government. However, Primary Industries Minister, Sarah Courtney cautions that, “a number of factors will come into play to determine this, including finding no further fruit flies in spring, and importantly our trading partners accepting that Queensland Fruit Fly is no longer present in Tasmania". She added that the Government is also “supporting affected fruit growers to prepare their businesses for the coming season, until our pest free area status is officially reinstated and control zones can be lifted". A 15-kilometre exclusion zone was put in place around Spreyton, in the north-west, after the discovery of fruit fly larvae in January. The zones around George Town and on Flinders Island also remain in place.

12 September 2018, Edition 198

The insect rebellion

Edition 197_Insects

Fried crickets sprinkled on tostadas. Insect infused elderberry sauce. Snapper topped with mealworms. These are just some of the ‘Rebel Foods’ appearing on Tasmanian menus, as locally-farmed insects push food frontiers.

13 August 2018, Edition 197

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Statutory Authority a Partner boost

Partner connections October 2

Legislation to transform Brand Tasmania into a new, independent, Statutory Authority, is now before State Parliament.

And, our Brand Tasmania Partners, are amongst those who stand to benefit the most. 

26 October 2018

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