Saturday, December 31, 2016
In Australia, free range egg production has been hijacked by big business. In its real form it is a boutique system catering for a niche market, But industrial-scale producers convinced politicians to allow high density production systems to be classified as free range. Ever more intensive agriculture seems to be the mantra for global food production. But the threat to food security increases in direct proportion to the scale of the production system. For example, outbreaks of avian influenza involving intensive poultry farms has caused serious egg supply problems in various parts of the world. A Global Food Forum is being held at Crown Casino in Melboune on March 28 and food security should be high on the agenda. Freeranger eggs believes that food security is better achieved by encouraging networks of small-scale, sustainable farming enterprises rather than large industrial projects with negative environmental impacts. Every village or township around the world could be supplied by its own egg farm as well as suitable crop production. There is a huge untapped demand from consumers for eggs To help meet this shortage, crowd funding is being sought by Freeranger Eggs to develop webinars, providing practical advice to help people establish free range farms which meet consumer expectations, without having to travel for hours to a farm workshop The webinars, together with our eBook will provide all the tools needed to set up a successful free range egg business. gofundme.com/2tar52c
Thursday, December 29, 2016
We are now at our busiest time of the year, with holidaymakers descending on Phillip Island, one of Australia's premier holiday destinations. It means that all the shops and restaurants which we supply with eggs need more. And our regular farmers market at Churchill Island (just off Phillip Island) is now held every week until the end of January.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Two South Korean trading groups are seeking regular supplies of eggs from Australia They would like regular shipments of containers filled with 50 – 60 gram eggs, food businesses throughout Korea are suffering a critical egg shortage crisis after 24 million egg-laying hens were killed because of avian influenza. It was the biggest culling since Korea's first avian influenza outbreak in 2014. Get in touch with us if you are able to supply and want to get into exporting.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
The British Government seems determined to clean up the egg industry there – unlike our politicians in Australia who are happy to let unscrupulous producers get away with conning the public. The chief executive of the British Free Range Egg Producers Association,Robert Gooch has warned that free range producers should ensure that they remain within the rules.“It is important for the image of the industry that we follow not only the rules set down in legislation but also the rules of the accreditation schemes. Otherwise it gives consumers a right to be concerned about the standards of free range” he said. The EU limits the outdoor stocking density on free range farms to 2500 hens per hectare and the Government is launching prosecutions against producers who ignore that limit. Here, our Ministers for Consumer Affairs capitulated to major producers and gave them what they wanted, allowing a stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare. Now the only hope for consumers and genuine free range farmers is that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will continue to prosecute producers who breach standards established by Federal Court justices.
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Great news for free range egg farmers. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is ignoring the intensive 'free range' egg standard approved by Ministers for Consumer Affairs and may press ahead with prosecutions against producers who breach the standards identified in Federal Court decisions. In its Enforcement Guidance for the egg industry on Free Range claims, it says “use of the descriptor ‘free range’ requires, at least, that the hens are able to move about freely on an open range on most days, and that most of the hens do so. the ACCC rejects claims by some that it is OK to tell consumers that the eggs are from free range hens when the outdoor range is not regularly used by the hens because the farming practices are such that the hens stay indoors all or most of the time. Producers do not have to use the label ‘free range’. Producers choose to describe their eggs as free range to promote their products and consumers are generally willing to pay a premium for free range eggs. it is open to producers to market their eggs under different labels, such as barn-laid or cage-free, where their practices do not meet consumer expectations for free range.” It's a pity the Ministers for Consumer Affairs and the federal Small Business Minister are too dumb to understand the problem.
Monday, December 05, 2016
It seems that the Australian Government has finally recognised the need to reign-in carbon pollution and is looking for ways to meet its targets. Some businesses have been addressing this issue for a while. Freeranger Eggs at Grantville, near Phillip Island is an example of sustainable farming. The farm management plan takes a three pillars approach to how the farm operates. Animal welfare is one pillar, but equally important are land sustainability and food safety. Despite all the political bickering in Canberra over emissions trading scheme targets, Freeranger Eggs has been getting on with mitigating the impact of carbon emissions. The farm's carbon footprint is limited by imposing a food miles policy for deliveries, using recycled materials and equipment whenever possible, utilising solar power and mechanical processes and an effective waste reduction programme. As a result, the 1500-chook farm generates only about 60 tonnes of CO2 each year. But it is better than carbon neutral, it is carbon positive. The average organic matter in soil tests was 4.1 per cent in 2004, in 2006 it was 6.0 per cent, and in 2009 it was 7.9 percent. Calculations based on 2-inch deep samples, show that over those five years the farm sequestered about 14 tons of CO2 per acre or four tonnes of carbon per acre on the grasslands. Further testing and calculations have not been carried because there has been a total lack of interest in the results.
Thursday, December 01, 2016
Final submissions are being sought on the free range egg standard adopted by Ministers for Consumer Affairs/Fair Trading, which allow producers with up to 10,000 hens per hectare to label their eggs as free range. Here is part of the submission we have made: "We believe that the information standard on free range eggs adopted by Ministers is contrary to the interests of the industry and consumers. The standard allows intensive production systems to be classified as free range and appears to directly conflict with specific rulings by Federal Court justices in their decisions on cases of deceptive conduct brought by the ACCC. The new standard simply allows unscrupulous producers to continue to mislead customers. Loopholes in the standard ensure that almost any excuse can be given for keeping hens locked up, but we believe that the term ‘regular and meaningful access to the outdoors is too vague anyway. Major producers are laughing at how easy it was to con the ministers into accepting what they wanted. There is no mechanism for checking each operation – so it would have been more effective to leave things as they were and let the ACCC launch prosecutions. Adopting the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals (Domestic Poultry) would have been a more realistic standard. We have attached a document detailing how the Model Code was developed and the reasons for a maximum stocking density of 1500 hens per hectare. A fully grown laying hen produces half a cubic metre of manure a year – so at a stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare, the land will be covered by 5000 cubic metres of manure each year – far above the limits of sustainability. Chicken manure has the highest levels of nitrogen,phosphorus, and potassium of all manures, it will likely render the land useless for farming within a few years. Contamination of groundwater and water courses is also likely". Submissions on the free range standard can be made electronically at email@example.com;
Monday, November 14, 2016
The outrageous standard for free range egg production proposed by Ministers for Consumer Affairs is still not set in concrete.To protect unscrupulous producers from prosecution for misleading consumers, new legislation is is being pushed through to change Consumer Law. Farmers and consumers have until December 9 to make submissions. If the amendment is passed, it will effectively nobble the ACCC from launching prosecutions against businesses which breach standards defined by Federal Court Justices. http://www.treasury.gov.au/…/Free-Range-Egg-Labelling-Infor… The political decision to allow intensive poultry farms to be classified as free range makes no sense as the Victorian Government is considering tightening animal welfare laws. Instead of getting bureaucrats to draft laws about things they don't understand it would be better to ensure that animals are kept in conditions as close as possible to their natural environment - rather than in cages, pens or feed lots.
Sunday, November 13, 2016
The Victorian Department of Agriculture appears to have lost the plot when it comes to free range farming. Agriculture Victoria is wasting money, holding a workshop in Wonthaggi tomorrow ( Monday), supposedly about free range egg farming. One problem is that notices about the workshop were only sent out a couple of days prior to the session. But a bigger problem is that the topics proposed to be covered did not deal with many of the issues vital for successful free range farming. Topics include presentations by staff of the Australian Egg Corporation and stock food company, Ridley Agriproducts. So the focus appeares to be on intensive production systems. No one at the workshop is scheduled to talk about extensive production. State Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford has not responded to a request for clarification about the purpose of the workshop. Recent political decisions allowing intensive systems to be classified as 'free range' pose a serious threat to agricultural productivity. A laying hen produces half a cubic metre of manure a year. So with a stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare approved by Ministers for Consumer Affairs earlier this year, farmers who follow their advice will see their land covered with 5000 cubic metres of manure per hectare every year. As chicken manure has the highest amount of nitrogen,phosphorus, and potassium of all manures, it will likely render the land useless for farming within a few years. Contamination of groundwater and water courses is also likely.
Friday, November 11, 2016
There has been a huge increase in enquiries about establishing genuine free range egg farms. following many requests for our eBook and to find out if we are still running on-farm workshops. We have held workshops for those wanting to start their own free range egg business but now we are planning to encourage many more people by developing a series of webinars. They should allow us to reach hundreds rather than a handful who attend workshops. Details here https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c
Thursday, November 03, 2016
ABC TV"s Four Corners revealed that tasmanian fish farms feed additives to produce the pink colour of farmed salmon. Nothing new in this, Large -scale egg producers have been using feed with colouring additives for years just to enhance yolk colour. All major egg producers and many small ones - even those which claim to be free range and organic - use colouring additives in the feed they give their hens. Their use is completely unnecessary in a free range flock, as hens running on quality pasture and at low stocking densities obtain enough carotenoids from the green feed in the paddocks to maintain good yolk colour. The colour will vary – depending on the time of year and what each hen has been eating – but many egg producers want to con consumers by using additives to provide consistent, bright yolk colour. Many of those additives are synthetic - adding to the chemical cocktail mix in food. But even those which are claimed to be 'natural' are manufactured in factories – often in China. What the manufacturers mean by using the word 'natural' is that the additives may be derived from natural products but are processed and concentrated into a powder or liquid. Three of the most widely used egg yolk pigmenters are: Canthaxanin or Canthaxanthin which appears to be an unsafe additive. It can cause diarrhoea, nausea, stomach cramps, dry and itchy skin, hives, orange or red body secretions, and other side effects. Do not use canthaxanthin if you experience breathing problems; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, tongue or throat; a skin rash or hives; you are pregnant or breast-feeding or you are allergic to vitamin A or carotenoids. Capsicum Allergic reactions to capsicum may occur. Stop eating eggs with capsicum-based colouring and seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives. Other less serious side effects have also been reported. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider if you experience upset stomach; heartburn; diarrhoea; migraine attacks or burning sensation in the mouth or throat. Use of Capsicum is not recommended if you are pregnant. If you are or will be breast-feeding while eating food containing Capsicum, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby. Capsicum colourings can bring on anaphylactic shock. See details about which plants generate these problems on this site at the University of Maryland: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/anaphylaxis-000008.htm Marigold Some people experience breathing problems, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, tongue or throat. A skin rash or hives may occur. From the Auckland Allergy Clinic Article written: September 2001 Salicylate sensitivity is the body’s inability to handle more than a certain amount of salicylates at any one time. A salicylate sensitive person may have difficulty tolerating certain fruits or vegetables. What are salicylates? Salicylate is a natural chemical made by many plants. It is chemically related to aspirin, which is a derivative of salicylic acid. It is believed the plant uses it as protection from insects, and they are everywhere around us. Although natural salicylates are found in wholesome foods, some individuals have difficulty tolerating even small amounts of them. The reaction to a natural salicylate can be as severe as that to a synthetic additive if the person is highly sensitive. Some people are troubled by only a very few, but some are troubled by all of them. What is salicylate sensitivity? Some adults and children have a low level of tolerance to salicylates and may get symptoms that are dose-related. The tolerated amount varies from one person to another. This is an example of food intolerance. What are some of the symptoms of Salicylate Intolerance? • Chronic Urticaria & Angioedema • Trigger for Eczema • Asthma • Nasal Polyps • Sinusitis • Rhino conjunctivitis • Stomach aches and upsets Foods containing Salicylates Salicylates occur naturally in many fruits, and vegetables as a preservative, to prevent rotting and protect against harmful bacteria and fungi. They are stored in the bark, leaves, roots, and seeds of plants. Salicylates are found naturally in many foods and its compounds are used in many products. All fresh meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, cereals, bread are naturally low in salicylates Foods with very high Salicylate content include: Vegetables: Capsicum Hot Peppers Capsaicin is the active component of Capsicum. Pure capsaicin is a volatile, hydrophobic, colourless, odourless, crystalline to waxy compound. Capsaicin Factsheet http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/Capsaicintech.pdf A UK report on The Adverse Effects of Food Additives on Health, published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine described surveys on food intolerance which showed that as many as 2 in 10 people believe that they react badly to certain foods or to their constituents, whereas less than 2 in every 100 has been considered to be the official figure. However, a recently published report indicates that small children are much more likely to react to certain foods. Although the exact numbers are not known, surveys suggest that one child in 10 may be affected in some way Of the nearly 4000 different additives currently in use, over 3640 are used purely for cosmetic reasons and as colouring agents. The continued reason for the use of additives is based on the argument that they are present in foods on such a minute scale that they must be harmless. This argument may be almost acceptable regarding additives with a reversible toxicological action. However, with additives which have been found to be both mutagenic and carcinogenic, neither the human nor animal body is able to detoxify. Therefore even very minute doses of these additives, when consumed continuously, will eventually result in an irreversible toxic burden, resulting finally in cancer formation and/or in chromosomal and foetal damage. This is unacceptable, particularly as the majority of these dangerous agents belong to the food colouring group. The full report is available here: http://www.orthomolecular.org/library/jom/1994/articles/1994-v09n04-p225.shtml An allergy is a hypersensitity disorder of the immune system. Allergic reactions occur when a person's immune system reacts to normally harmless substances in the environment. A substance that causes a reaction is called an allergen. These reactions are acquired, predictable, and rapid. Allergy is one of four forms of hypersensitivity and is formally called type 1 hypersensitivity. Allergic reactions are distinctive because of excessive activation of certain white blood cells. Mild allergies like hay fever are very common in humans but allergies can play a major role in conditions such as asthma. In some people, severe allergies to environmental or dietary allergens may result in life-threatening reactions called anaphylaxis. From a Food Additive Guide http://mbm.net.au/health/100-181.htm E160(c) Paprika extract, capsanthin, capsorubin Capsanthin, found in paprika extract, is a red to orange coloured spice derived from the pods and seeds of the red pepper (Capsicum annuum). Contains vitamins A, B, C and traces of Zn, Cu, Se, Co, Mo, etc. Paprika extract also contains capsanthin. Capsanthin may be added to poultry feed to enhance egg yolk colour. Typical products include eggs, meat products. Not listed in Australia. Avoid it.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
We have run workshops on the farm for those wanting to start their own free range egg farm but now we are planning to encourage many more people by developing a series of webinars. They should allow us to reach hundreds rather than a handful who attend workshops. Details here https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c
Sunday, October 02, 2016
This is part of the submission by Egg Farmers of Australia in which they acknowledged that most egg producers would have been unable to meet higher standards.They meant,of course, that imposing higher standards would have prevented them from continuing to rip - off consumers by labelling their intensively produced eggs as free range. Their submission helped to con Ministers into making their absurd 'free range' decision: "Egg Farmers of Australia have been disappointed by the scope and analytical basis of regulatory intervention to date and the impact it has had in creating uncertainty as to the definition of free range eggs. The prospect that the approach of 'most birds outside on most ordinary days' could be incorporated into a free range labelling standard is deeply concerning and Egg Farmers urges the Treasury not to characterise the relevant ‘problem’ to be addressed on this basis. This is because the 'most birds, most days’ approach: a) is flawed in that it seeks to define free range by reference to specific misrepresentations that have been the subject of enforcement action; b) is based on case law which has not considered, and cannot provide meaningful guidance on the meaning of free range; and c) would significantly distort the competitive process by imposing a definition of free range that the vast majority of free range egg suppliers could not be confident they could meet. Egg Farmers proposes a basic information standard based on the published Egg Farmers definition of free range eggs. This definition provides that laying hens in free range farming systems: a) are unconfined within a ventilated hen house; b) have meaningful access to and are free to roam and forage on an outdoor range area during daylight hours in a managed environment; and c) a maximum outdoor stocking density of one hen per square metre". That is 10,000 hens per hectare which is a stupid result. A laying hen produces half a cubic metre of manure a year. So with a stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare approved by Ministers for Consumer Affairs, farmers who follow their advice will see their land covered with 5000 cubic metres of manure per hectare every year. As chicken manure has the highest amount of nitrogen,phosphorus, and potassium of all manures, it will likely render the land useless for farming within a few years. Contamination of groundwater and water courses is also likely. It's hard to believe that Ministers were so easily conned. Just goes to show that they naively accept what they are told - without question!
Friday, August 19, 2016
Intensive egg production standards approved by Ministers for Consumer Affairs and the former Federal Minister for Small Business may lead to extensive land degredation across Australia. The Ministers have allowed farms with 10,000 hens per hectare to legally describe the eggs they produce as free range. But their decision was made without regard for the level of contamination caused by high nutrient loads. At the approved outdoor stocking density the hens will produce 5000 cubic metres of manure a year on each hectare and the nutrient mass balance on the land will be totally unsustainable. Nitrogen will be spread at the rate of 1780kg per hectare. Phosphorus at 7000 kg potassium at 3520kg and sulphur at 1760kg.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
New animal welfare standards and guidelines are being drafted for poultry – to replace the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals (Domestic Poultry). One benefit of the new standards will be that they will be supposed to apply evenly throughout Australia, instead of the fragmented adoption of regulations in the Model Code. Animal Health Australia is developing the new standards, which it says will provide a basis for developing and implementing consistent legislation and enforcement across Australia, and provide guidance for all people responsible for poultry. They will aim to reflect contemporary scientific knowledge, provide competent animal husbandry advice, meet mainstream community expectations, that can be maintained and enforced in a consistent, cost-effective manner. The rationale is to achieve a measurable increase in best practice guidelines and industry verification systems and tools for animal welfare to support market access and to ensure that consistent and harmonised animal welfare arrangements across jurisdictions deliver consistent outcomes. The development process will allow industry to examine poultry welfare issues and determine a suitable industry position that meets community expectations. The Australian state and territory governments are responsible for the regulation of animal welfare in Australia. Under the Federal Constitution, States and Territories have the primary jurisdiction for animal welfare within Australia. A stakeholder Advisory group will be established to assist with the development of the standards which are expected to provide the basis for developing and implementing consistent legislation and enforcement across Australia. It remains to be seen how effective the new standards will be, but we can live in hope that they will be fair and workable.Public consultation is expected to begin in November but decisions have probably already been made to adopt standards favoured by the corporate producers.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
The free range egg debate has been hijacked by animal welfare activists – and academic researchers are putting all their efforts into demonstrating that low stocking densities don't necessarily produce better welfare outcomes. We believe that the focus should be on land sustainability. Intensive systems are more likely to lead to land degredation and pollution – limiting the life of any farming venture and the viability of the land. What seems to be ignored is that a fully grown hen produces about half a metre of manure a year – so 10,000 hens per hectare deposit 5000 cubic metres of manure on each hectare of land. The excessive nutrient load is likely to transform the farm into an unproductive wasteland. Unfortunately free range farmers were unable to agree on a cohesive approach and left the lobbying of politicians and bureaucrats to the industrial-scale egg producers, grocers and animal welfare groups. So free range farmers really only have themselves to blame for the current mess.
Saturday, July 09, 2016
The Freeranger Club has been established to help anyone producing free range eggs in Australia or planning to set up a free range farm. There has been growing demand for information following the ridiculous decision on a free range standard made by Australia's incompetent Ministers for Consumer Affairs and Small Business. Details are on the Freeranger Eggs website www.freeranger.com.au
Sunday, July 03, 2016
Free Range egg farmers in Australia who follow the outdoor stocking densities set out by Ministers for Consumer Affairs and the Federal Minister for Small Business, in their recent decision on a free range standard are likely to face prosecution by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The ACCC has produced a guide to help hen egg farmers of all sizes understand their fair trading rights and obligations when promoting or selling free range eggs. The guide also informs consumers and the public about the ACCC’s approach to free range egg claims, which are made on labels. On 31 March 2016 Australian Consumer Affairs Ministers said they wanted an information standard for free range eggs to be in place within 12 months. The information standard is not currently enforceable as reforms to give effect to the new regulations have not been introduced or passed by Parliament. The ACCC will amend its guidance as the information standard progresses. https://accc.gov.au/…/accc-enforcement-guidance-free-range-…
Sunday, June 19, 2016
With pre polling booths now open, Australians are getting a real chance to send a message to Canberra. An informal vote looks very attractive! Voting for an army of independents is also a good option. It doesn't matter who forms Government – bureaucrats run the show anyway. Hopefully voters in the seat of Higgins will send politicians a message by dumping Small Business Minister Kelly O'Dwyer after she turned her back on small farm businesses in favour of big corporations in the ‘free range’ debacle. and voters in New England have the opportunity to get rid of Barnaby Joyce who is less than adequate as Deputy PM. It's way past time for some fundamental changes to our constitution to reduce costs for the economy. We don't need the current duplication of services in Canberra and the States. About the only function which needs to be administered Federally is defence. State Governments deliver all other services – including health and education so it makes no sense to pay for an army of bureaucrats and Ministers in Canberra who do little but polish chairs with their backsides and hold out their hands to grab our money. The duties of a Federal Government could be adequately performed by the Council of Australian Governments COAG. This would save billions of dollars every year.
Wednesday, June 01, 2016
Egg farmers could be heading for trouble if they adopt the new 'free range' standards proposed by Ministers.
Egg farmers who follow the new 'free range' standards proposed by Ministers for Consumer Affairs and the Federal Small Business Minister Kelly O'Dwyer could face trouble with planning laws as well as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. I wrote to Victoria's Planning Minister Richard Wynne, asking if the Minister could intervene in the decision to allow egg producers with stocking densities of 10,000 hens per hectare to be classified as free range instead of the accepted standard of 1500 hens per hectare. Mr Nick Wimbush, Acting Executive Director,Planning and Building Systems of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning responded, saying “It is not possible for the Minister to issue a directive regarding free range egg production as each proposal must be considered on its individual merits and circumstances in line with land use definitions. However, he said “changes to national labelling laws do not change these land use definitions or the farming zone. I recommend that an egg farmer considering increasing their stocking density in response to the labelling law changes contact the planning department of their municipal council for advice about whether planning approval will be required.” The ACCC has already said that it will review is guidelines for free range egg production in light of the recent ministerial decision. ACCC action in the Federal Court resulted in several fines of $300,000 against businesses which falsely labelled their eggs as free range.
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Australian politics needs a total clean-out. The States should govern Australia not Canberra carpetbaggers
It's time for a major shake-up with the political system here in Australia. We just seem to lurch along from one pathetic disaster after another.For years Australia 'rode on the sheep's back' then after the wool price collapsed we enjoyed a mineral boom. But rather than build up financial reserves our politicians squandered every dollar. If our Governments had been prudent, the Reserve Bank would be stuffed with money and there would no need for international borrowing. Australia's lunatic fiscal policies over the past few years has just about guaranteed that we will slide into recession this year. It's likely that the Australian dollar will slip to 55c US by the third quarter. At least the Federal Treasurer has made noises about cutting the excessive level of spending – but we are yet to see any action. It's way past time for some fundamental changes to our constitution to reduce costs for the economy. The Federal election won't solve any problems because it will make no difference who wins. What's needed is a total change in the way the system operates. We don't need the current duplication of services in Canberra and the States. About the only function which needs to be administered Federally is defence. State Governments deliver all other services – including health and education so it makes no sense to pay for an army of bureaucrats and Ministers in Canberra who do little but polish chairs with their backsides and hold out their hands to grab our money. The duties of a Federal Government could be adequately performed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). This would save billions of dollars every year.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
It seems that the election campaign in Australia isn’t going the way the government planned. The Liberal/national coalition thought that the popularity of a relatively new prime minister would be enough to guarantee victory. But the road hasn’t been smooth and even if the coalition retains power it is likely to have a smaller parliamentary majority. Almost certainly it won’t control the Senate – which was its aim in calling a double dissolution election. A series of dumb decisions and comments by Ministers has been seized on by opponents to demonstrate that the current government is out of touch with the community. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton seems to be doing everything he can to lose his seat by making derogatory statements about immigrants and refugees Australia’s Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer is also a case in point and she may battle to retain her seat. Voters in the electorate of Higgins vote for anyone but Kelly O’Dwyer No support for small business from kelly O'Dwyer Businesses in the Federal seat of Higgins can expect no support from local member the Minister for Small Business, Kelly O'Dwyer, following a decision which could force the closure of many small family farm businesses across Australia. She chaired a meeting of Ministers for Consumer Affairs which approved an intensive standard for free range egg production – allowing eggs from hens on factory farms with stocking densities of 10,000 hens per hectare to be labelled as free range – instead of the accepted standard of 1500 hens per hectare. Former egg industry auditor Phil Westwood of Freeranger Eggs said the unfair competition could spell the end for some farms. “The decision endorses corrupt practices in the industry and effectively provides unscrupulous operators with a defence from prosecution by the ACCC. A recent prosecution for deceptive practices saw a $300,000 fine imposed by the Federal Court on several farms which labelled their intensively produced eggs as 'free range'. “Now it's an open-go for intensive farms who can thumb their noses at consumers and the ACCC” Phil Westwood said. “Although voters in the seat of Higgins probably don't care about farmers, small business owners in the area should realise that they can't rely on her to support anything but big bussiness.” he added. Phil Westwood Freeranger Eggs Private Bag 245a Grantville 3984 0356788483 https://www.facebook.com/FreerangerEggs/ web www freeranger.com.au 0402070531
Saturday, May 07, 2016
Now is an opportunity for Australian voters to let politicians know exactly what we think of them.Tell the Canberra brigade in major parties that we don't trust any of them. With the Federal election now up and running, is it worth taking any time to think about how to vote? Will it make any difference? Whoever wins, the politicians will continue to look after their own interests and maintain their extravagant 'entitlements' while we lesser mortals are just expected to shut up and pay the bills. An informal vote looks very attractive! It doesn't matter who forms Government – the same bureaucrats run the show anyway. Hopefully voters in the electorate of Higgins will send politicians a message by dumping Small Business Minister Kelly O'Dwyer after she turned her back on family farmers in favour of major corporations in her 'free range' egg standard debacle. And with a bit of luck voters in New England will get rid of Barnaby Joyce who is an embarrassment as Deputy Prime Minister.
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Freeranger Eggs at Grantville is an example of sustainable farming. Our farm management plan takes a three pillars approach to how the farm operates. Animal welfare is one pillar, but equally important are land sustainability and food safety. Despite all the political bickering in Canberra over emissions trading scheme targets, Freeranger Eggs has been getting on with mitigating the impact of carbon emissions. The farm's carbon footprint is limited by imposing a food miles policy for deliveries, using recycled materials and equipment whenever possible, utilising solar power and mechanical processes and an effective waste reduction programme. As a result, the 1200-chook farm generates only about 60 tonnes of CO2 each year. But it is better than carbon neutral, it is carbon positive. The average organic matter in soil tests was 4.1 per cent in 2004, in 2006 it was 6.0 per cent, and in 2009 it was 7.9 percent. Calculations based on 2-inch deep samples, show that over those five years the farm sequestered about 14 tons of CO2 per acre or four tonnes of carbon per acre on the grasslands. Further testing and calculations have not been carried because there has been a total lack of interest in the results. The farm applies no chemical fertilisers, herbicides, or pesticides and this policy increases the biological life in the soil and increases the rate of carbon sequestration. Rotational grazing is practised on the pastures – taking advantage of photosynthesis to pull CO2 into the plants and then into the roots from where it transfers to the soil. In addition, every year at least another tonne of CO2 per acre continues to be sequestered by the regular growth and replacement of Kangaroo Apples in the main paddocks. Native vegetation has been protected on approximately 100 acres of the property and regeneration there sequesters a further tonne of CO2 per acre. This brings a grand total of 1500 tonnes of CO2 sequestered on this property over five years – an average rate of 300 tonnes per year compared with the farm's carbon output of around 60 tonnes. On days of full sun the solar panels on the farm shed generate 13 - 17kW of electricity a day and as on average the farm consumes just 9kW a day it helps the bottom line. We gained international recognition in 2012 when Freeranger Eggs was voted
Saturday, April 23, 2016
The decision by Australian Ministers for Consumer Affairs and the Small Business Minister to allow egg producers with outdoor stocking densities of 10,000 hens per hectare to label their eggs as 'free range' demonstrates an incredible level of ignorance as well as gullibility and incompetence. Apart from anything else, thjey seem to have overlooked the fact that each chook excretes half a cubic metre of manure a year – so 10,000 chooks will leave a 5000 cubic metre pile of manure on each hectare of land. Such a heavy nutrient load would destroy the viability of the land and would almost certainly create Massive environmental damage particularly along any watercourses which adjoin the land. As a result, this decision may make it much harder for farmers to set up free range egg farms. Local Shire planning departments will find it easier to reject applications as 'intensive' operations – effectively treating them as feed lots instead of an as-of-right use on land zoned for farming.
Saturday, April 02, 2016
Government endorsement of intensive egg production systems allowing stocking densites of 10,000 hens per hectare to be classified as 'free range' is potentially another nail in the coffin for legitimate free range farmers. For years, genuine producers have been hit with unfair completion from both ends of the market - big corporate egg factories passing off their eggs as free range to boost profits as well as backyarders who do not meet any food safety standards and are not required to pay the compliance costs which are levied on honest egg farmers
Friday, April 01, 2016
Yesterday Ministers for Consumer Affairs approved a standard which allows farms with outdoor stocking densities of 10,000 hens per hectare to be classified as free range. This just perpetuates the con which big business has practised on consumers for years. If they had made the announcement today, it would have been regarded as an April Fools Day joke !! One serious aspect of this decision is that no council will allow free range egg farms to be established if they follow the Ministers' edict. Any farm with such a density will be regarded as intensive so they it will be treated as a feed lot - not an 'as of right' use even when t he land is zoned for farming.
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Ministers for Consumer Affairs have approved a standard which allows farms with outdoor stocking densities of 10,000 hens per hectare to be classified as free range. This just perpetuates the con which big business has practised on consumers for years. What a gutless bunch.
Saturday, March 05, 2016
It is expected that Ministers for consumer Affairs/Fair Trading will agree on enforceable national standard for free range egg production by the end of March. At this stage it is not clear what changes will be made, but many producers hope that the politicians and bureaucrats take a simple approach and refrain from introducing a complex and largely unenforceable standard. The most straight forward way to address the problem would be to adopt into law the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals (Domestic Poultry).When the current version of the Code was approved by the Primary Industries Ministerial Council and printed in 2002, it was scheduled for review in 2010. It was a development of an earlier version of the Model Code. it is essential for the free range sector of the egg industry to ensure that intensive production standards tare not adopted in place of the extensive requirements of the current code. There has no science behind high density free range proposals (other than the certainty of increased profits. No scientific review of production processes has been undertaken to demonstrate that the standards contained within the current voluntary Model Code are no longer applicable to the industry. The stocking density of 1500 hens per hectare for free range hens was developed by applying well established principles of agronomy. The issue of the upper limit on the long term stocking rate was debated strongly at the time, following pressure from local Councils and the EPA about how some farms were operating. The experience of people who had farmed free range layers in the 1950’s and 60's, when all egg production was based on free range principles. Hens were often run under citrus trees Ir was recognised that for an operation to be sustainable, the stocking rate had to be low - less than 300 birds/acre (750/hectare). It was agreed that such a system should be regarded as Free Range egg production and the hens were to have access to the range during daylight hours. There was some dispute by new entrants to the industry who believed that they could design pasture rotation systems around their sheds that would allow higher rates. So it was decided to take an empirical approach and work out what the maximum stocking rate could be to avoid the measurable negative impacts of nutrient run off and soil degradation and still be theoretically possible to maintain pasture cover and avoid the issue of dust. Some argued that as most hens were in sheds at night and may be locked in for part of the day so that only a portion of the hens actually entered the range area, the impact is lessened. The dairy industry was very big at that time and local agronomists had data on the effects of applying very high rates of poultry manure on irrigated pasture. The agronomists studied the data on the maximum nutrient uptake a well maintained irrigated pasture could support and also avoid the problems of salinity build up observed in the dairy pastures. The stocking rate was calculated and a stocking density of up to 600 birds/acre (1500/hectare) was regarded as the maximum possible for long term sustainability. At the time the Code was approved, it was accepted that to maintain consumer credibility, visitors or passers-by had to see the birds out and about on the range. It was also accepted that there is no valid animal management need to lock in the layers in the morning or during inclement weather. Those currently involved in free range egg production agree that the fundamental elements of the Model Code, or other regulations introduced by Governments should be: a maximum stocking density of 1500 hens per hectare; stocking density must be reduced in conditions where pasture or other vegetative cover cannot be maintained at the maximum stocking density; no beak trimming of hens is permitted except when other methods of controlling outbreaks of severe feather pecking or cannibalism have been tried and failed (using the same criteria in the current Model Code); and pullets must be allowed to range freely once they are fully feathered (about six weeks old)
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Sydney6s Daily Telegraph ran a story alerting consumers to t he widespread use of colouring additives in chook food to enhgance the colour of egg yolks in eggs.http://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailytelegraph.com.au%2Fnews%2Fnsw%2Fthe-yolks-on-us-aussie-eggs-not-all-theyre-cracked-up-to-be%2Fnews-story%2Fcb038b4467c8aa07fa8d130e8dcb97d3&h=8AQET8iiT&enc=AZN--fbuHvPoi4rUrXLy2RMRgQb6XcVpyA_3sGdmyriIbT9b7Pjwc4gw86xUCNfpVw0fEGDplzfSR5v6OSRlxVeXe6rSYIUUJiuvReadeXpz1bEnL8uOb6bgDq7PjxDQ2LFbZCIw908lZ5uTvTvcT1OnIzixxGucpF9zar4-xOZZpWtlsjNw4wX3RfjTcmO06n7xHi7DW7pI82FmblZpprUh&s=1 We have been concerned about this for years as many people have allergic reactions to some of the colouring agents
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Like many farm businesses, our sales direct to the public have become increasingly important in recent years. More than 50% of our total sales are direct to customers - either at the Farmers' markets we attend or at the farm gate. We have a large yellow cool box just inside our front gate at 245 Stanley Road, Grantville. We keep it stocked with various sizes of eggs in dozen packs,but we ae happy to include special orders for particular sizes (or trays of eggs if required. Just emailo us or ring first.