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Agriculture stories

The following stories relate to Tasmania’s Agricultural sector:

Honey fight heats up

Pressure has intensified in the fight to save Tasmania’s Manuka honey brand, with calls for the Federal Government to step-up with financial support. A national campaign began last September after New Zealand producers moved to trademark the word ‘Manuka’, and Braddon MP, Justine Keay has called on the Turnbull Government to help fund the looming legal battle. Manuka honey is an important niche Tasmanian product and is derived from the tea tree, Leptospermum, a native of the state. There are currently five Manuka Honey producers in Tasmania. The honey is highly prized for its anti-bacterial, and other health properties, with a jar retailing for as much as $120. Demand is soaring, especially from Chinese consumers. Local honey producers – including Blue Hills which instigated the fight to protect the brand name – say they have proof that Manuka honey was produced in Tasmania years before New Zealand. Blue Hills co-owner, Nicola Charles, told ABC News that European honey bees were introduced to Tasmania eight years before New Zealand, “so we feel we have a moral case to still call it Manuka and not be cut out from a global market that’s got a potential to be a high revenue for Australia.”

11 April 2018, Edition 193

‘Tick of health’ for Tasmania’s brand

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The annual health check of Tasmania’s brand has returned a diagnosis of ‘excellent health’.

10 April 2018, Edition 193

State battles fruit fly threat

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Tasmania’s biosecurity status, described as globally unique, faced its gravest challenge in decades after an incursion by Queensland fruit fly.

8 March 2018, Edition 192

Ashgrove to build dairy Mecca

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Ashgrove Cheese plans to create a major food-tourism drawcard at Elizabeth Town after securing a Regional Jobs and Investment Packages grant from Canberra.

8 March 2018, Edition 192

Lawrenny infuses spirits with place

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The Mace family at Ouse has given new scale to the concept of using colonial built heritage to market Tasmanian single-malt whisky.

8 February 2018, Edition 191

Long run over for ag shows

The Royal Launceston Show, which has been running for 144 years, was closed in December three months after the Devonport Show had been scrapped after a 108-year run. The President of the Royal Agricultural Society, Jock Gibson, said the Launceston closure would be a great loss to the city and would have serious implications for other agricultural shows in Tasmania. Costs of running the shows have risen and crowd numbers have dwindled, in Launceston's case down from about 30,000 several decades ago to a low of about 9,000 in 2017. After the Launceston City Council declined to renew the society's lease, the Mayor, Albert van Zetten, said aldermen had been working with the show society for a number of years. "They’ve been trading at losses, or close to break even, for some time. We’ve had a statement come from their auditors to say that they are financially unviable, something that we took into consideration." The Royal Hobart Show is seeking to secure its future by leasing parts of the Royal Hobart Showgrounds for retail developments and the society has been promised a $1.5 million State grant to progress the projects if the Liberal Party is re-elected. The Chief Executive of the Royal Hobart Show Society, Scott Gadd, told The Sunday Tasmania the society had been obliged to find new revenue sources as show income had declined. The society recorded a $326,000 loss in 2016-17, despite a $426,000 return from leasing land to Bunnings. The four-day duration of the Hobart event is under discussion.

8 February 2018, Edition 191

Sparklers reach 'champagne level'

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When sparkling wine expert Tyson Stelzer lined up Tasmanian offerings with champagne at an Effervescence dinner in November, he had an heroic tale to tell.

5 December 2017, Edition 190

Food story has been a Tassie epic

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Brand Tasmania's long-serving Food and Wine Writer, Graeme Phillips, taps out his final story for our newsletter: serving up a 37-year Tasmanian gastronomic saga.

5 December 2017, Edition 190

Insect farmer's flavour focus

Louise Morris, a Tasmanian insect farmer, believes insects can play an important role in feeding a growing global population but cautions about how insect protein is produced. "What they eat impacts so much on how much greenhouse gas impact, how much water went into that," Ms Morris told the ABC. "If you're essentially feeding them chicken food … you're not really making a huge impact [on the environment]." Ms Morris, who co-founded the Insect Protein Association of Australia, farms crickets, mealworms and Queensland wood cockroaches in northern Tasmania. She uses vegetable waste from local farms to feed her insects and said feeding insects different vegetables can affect their taste. "We're really focused with a few restaurants who are wanting to work with our insects … on bespoke insect flavours," she said. "It's creating a whole new income stream, employment opportunities and a product which really is 'brand Tasmania', because we are closed-looping it." According to some research about 80 per cent of the world's people consume insects as part of their regular diet. Ms Morris aims to have her insects on Tasmanian dinner plates in 2018.

5 December 2017, Edition 190

Village olive oil raises a grin

Village Olive Grove of Grindelwald won a trophy and a gold medal at the 2017 Australian International Olive Awards for producing the best extra virgin olive oil in Tasmania. Allen and Barbara Baird have tended 830 Frantoio trees on a 2.5ha Tamar Valley property for 12 years. Mr Baird said: “The Australian International Olive Awards are the national benchmark. We got a bronze medal in 2014 and 2015, silver in 2016 and now gold. Tasmanian olive oil has consistently won awards over the years because of our cool-climate conditions.” Village Olive Grove’s oil has also won silver and bronze medals at the Royal Hobart Fine Food Awards. Tasmanian producers were awarded 20 medals at the Australian International Olive Awards, including three gold, eight silver and nine bronze. The other gold medal winners were Cradle Coast Olives at Abbotsham and Lentara Grove at Exeter.

5 December 2017, Edition 190

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Tasmania's Stories Edition 194

Edition 194_GraingerFuchsTT

The May edition of Tasmania’s Stories begins with the news that a landmark $700 million contract has been inked for two new Bass Strait Ferries. Please enjoy your May newsletter.

11 May 2018, Edition 194

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