Thursday, October 13, 2016

Starting a free range farm webinar

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

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Reasons behind "stupid" free range decision

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!