INTEREST CONTINUES TO SPROUT: Fairy Hill farmer Brett Slater with a soy beans crop.
INTEREST CONTINUES TO SPROUT: Fairy Hill farmer Brett Slater with a soy beans crop. Doug Eaton

Business is growing for Slater Farms

IT'S the combination of bio-dynamically grown produce and a diverse range of crops that has seen business on Slater Farms grow and grow and grow.

Brett Slater said, in the past few years, he had seen demand for organically grown produce sprout rapidly.

"I can't grow enough at the moment," he said.

"The thing I've noticed really in the last few years is how the consumers have really become more conscious, health wise.

"It's something we see and hear a lot more.

"People are becoming a lot more aware of what's in their food."

About two-thirds of the Fairy Hill farm is used to grow soy beans that are fertiliser and chemical free, and the remaining third is used to grow brown rice.

In winter, a portion of the 220ha property is used to grow wheat and other cereals. In place of chemical fertilisers, the fields of Slater Farms are hand weeded.

Once farmed, the produce is sent to retail outlets and wholesalers around the country.

Although Mr Slater has been growing soy beans on his farm for 15 years, he said it was the installation of the mill in 2012 that helped him survive the wetter months.

He said being able to turn a raw product into a useable one value added to his produce significantly.

It allows him to survive the tougher months when yield is low.

With a succession of wet and unproductive years, Mr Slater said many of the other bio-dynamic farmers in the region folded, or returned to using chemicals.

However, this season is proving drier than most.

"We're obviously in a dry spell now, the crops are hanging on, but we should be getting our flood rain now," Mr Slater said.

"It's easier to farm on the North Coast marginally dry than marginally wet. When we get the wet season you tend to have less crop and you do a lot more damage."

As one of the most agriculturally diverse regions in the country, Mr Slater said the Northern Rivers was the perfect place to experiment.



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