Organic Producers in Tasmania

In February 2020, Australian Organic CEO Niki Ford travelled to Tasmania to meet with members and learn more about their certified organic businesses.

Despite the adverse climatic seasons experienced by mainland states in late 2019 / early 2020, Tasmania’s agricultural industry has continued to grow annually and is now valued at more than $1.6 billion.

Black Angus Beef Cattle at Kelty Farm


Rex Williams is President of Tasmanian Organic-Dynamic Producers Inc. (TOP) and manager of his own organic operation – Kelty Farm. Niki sat down with Rex to chat over coffee at his farm property in Woodbridge, 40km south of Hobart. Overlooking Bruny Island, the farm has rich soils and abundant annual rainfalls – making it ideally situated for producing premium organic beef, pork and a variety of fruit.

Rex has been an organic producer for 20 years, with Black Angus cattle making up a large part of his primary production. Angus makes up the majority of beef cattle raised in Tasmania, with large demand from overseas markets for Tasmanian brands. On Kelty Farm, Rex’s Black Angus cattle graze on lush Channel pastures and are supplemented with the farm’s own organic hay in the winter.

“Our customers can be assured that not only are they receiving a quality product, but one that is pure and that has kept the depletion of the Earth’s resources to a minimum.”

Rex also breeds and rears organic Berkshire and Wessex saddleback pigs – working with Willie Smith’s, an organic cider orchard and distillery in Huon Valley, to utilise and recycle excess outputs into organic pig feed (namely apple fibres). The pigs are also fed on organic grain, organic dairy and Kelty Farm’s own apples. Rex commented that the pigs take around 12 months to grow to full size organically, whereas conventional pigs can reach optimum size in just 16 weeks. For this reason, Rex’s pigs make up a small part of his farm operation, providing small goods to local retailers. Rex also grows organic Gala, Fuji and Pink Lady apples in his orchard, with many of his apples found in Woolworths Macro Organic ranges. The cooler European climate provides perfect growing conditions for the fruit and Tasmania is often known as “prime apple growing country.”

Established around 30 years ago as an organic certifying body in Tasmania, TOP merged with what was then known as Australian Certified Organic (now Australian Organic Ltd) in April 2015, providing auditing under the ACOS. The merger aimed to both support, strengthen and offer greater opportunities for organic producers in Tasmania, as well as supporting producers wanting to make the switch to organic. From then, TOP no longer provided certification services but continued to support the organic industry in the state.

Today, TOP is sadly coming to an end. After over 30 years of supporting the industry in Tasmania, TOP will most certainly not be forgotten.


Hopping back into the city, Niki visited the Tasmanian Agricultural Minister’s office and met with Vanessa Pinto, Chief of Staff for the Hon. Guy Barnett MP, and Jo Crisp, Manager of Agricultural Development and Policy at Agrigrowth Tasmania.

Niki reported that there was, “an encouraging and positive discussion around the value of the organic industry in Tasmania,” with both staff members showing support for Australian Organic’s vision of Domestic Regulation for 2020 – highlighting that smaller growers would also need to be considered in any future discussions.

Tasmania is the only state in Australia with a GMO Moratorium (i.e. a total legal ban of GMO) which has recently been extended for a further ten years. This provides a beneficial and unique selling point for Tasmanian growers, especially within the organic export markets.

The Tasmanian Government has also developed the Organics Industry Development grant – a $230,000 grant to assist farmers, producers and agri-food businesses interested in transitioning to organic production methods and market development. This State Government-based grant is the only one of its kind in Australia, and further solidifies the Tasmanian Government’s support for organic growers in the region.


Niki caught up with Alexandra Mitchell, Agricultural Analyst at Agrigrowth Tasmania (DPIPWE), over a coffee to talk about the organic industry and provide an update surrounding Australian Organic’s activities. They were also able to discuss how the organic industry can be better supported in Australia, including the potential for Australian Organic to host a forum surrounding the veterinary care update. Alex commented that Australian Organic’s holistic approach was ‘refreshing’.

Alexandra has had a long-standing career in agriculture and forestry since graduating from University in 1992. She worked with CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products for several years, specialising in population and molecular genetics – studying native Australian species and the commercialisation of seeds for forestry use. She then moved to the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture in 2001 to work in industry development programs, including grants for education and training. Alex joined the DPIPWE in 2005 as a Policy Analyst for the primary industries sector, which included work surround organic industry policy and development of the first domestic organic and biodynamic Standard with Standards Australia (AS 6000). Today, Alex works as an Agricultural Analyst within DPIPWE’S AgriGrowth Tasmania Division, providing expertise in agricultural and rural sectors.


Biofarms Tasmania is owned and run by the Benson brothers – Mark, Chris and David – who welcomed Niki to a tour of their farm and their operation. Located near the small village of Forth, just outside of Devonport, Biofarms Tasmania produces a variety of certified organic produce suitable to the cooler Tasmanian climate, including potatoes, carrots, onions, pumpkin and brassicas. Alongside conventional non-organic produce, Biofarms Tasmania produces a large number of certified organic products within their range, with some still in-conversion. The majority of their produce goes to the mainland, supplying retailers and distributors.

Early this year, Biofarms Tasmania became a beneficiary of the $30 million Woolworths Organic Growth Fund – established in partnership with Heritage Bank to help Australian farmers meet the growing consumer demand for organic fruit and vegetables (read more here).

The Benson’s said they will use the $500,000 interest-free loan to improve productivity and efficiency on their 300-acre farm by purchasing new machinery and equipment, and upgrade their current irrigation system to support their organic operation. The funds will also be put towards new packaging equipment which will help to provide sustainable packaging – a large investment for organic producers and operators. Holistically, the Bensons aim to use the funds to help facilitate the increase in demand for certified organic product as well as the ability to implement more environmentally-friendly production methods.

Biofarms Australia expect to begin supplying Woolworths with organic vegetables from spring 2020.

Other posts you may like...

We chat to two certified organic members, who share their stories and how you can support them as they begin to rebuild.
The school year is well and truly here and we’ve got some great healthy lunch box snack ideas for school kids! For variety and nutritional value, we’ve got you covered.
This International Women’s Day, we are celebrating the achievement of women in the organic industry in Australia by sharing female-led certified organic brands.
Bean Alliance produce award winning organic and fair trade coffees in their bean ground and drunk and Fair Coffee ranges.
Australia’s number 1 Certified Organic wine brand, Angove Organic, has continued to grow throughout 2021 as consumers switch to healthier wine, more care for the environment and a strong trust in the brand.
Kialla Pure Organics produce high-quality flours and wholefoods using the best grains from organic farmers. Their new range of innovative products can help you bake up organic treats in no time at all!
Inglewood Organic is Australia's leading producer of Organic Free-Range chicken and are dedicated to rearing premium quality chicken using strict Certified Organic farming methods.
Enviroganic Farm is Australia’s leading Organic chicken and turkey producer. Being the longest established producers in the industry, they have a commitment to providing the highest possible quality and sustainability through their certified produce.
Treat yourself during Australian Organic Awareness Month with delicious Jalna organic yoghurt. Made with whole milk from Certified Organic Australian dairy farms that employ ethical and sustainable farming practices, they’re good for the environment and great on practically any dish you can think of.
For most Australian eaters these days, food is still considered 'out of touch'. Dr Sarah Lantz discusses why we should take a little more time to consider what we include in our carnal appetite.
Learn more about what might be affecting your immune system and how to boost it with some tips from Organic Merchant.
The change in season can get you out of sorts. Here are our 7 favourite tips to combat the winter blues and boost health and wellness this winter season.
Made from meat and fish bones, vegetables and herbs, broths have been used as a homemade remedy across centuries and cultures. Learn more about the benefits of bone broth with Dr Sarah Lantz.
Do you know what your Mum really wants this Mother's Day? Dr Sarah Lantz lets us in on her top tips to keep Mum happy on this special day.
Find out how you can get involved in Organic Earth Week from 22-27 March, because healthy soil makes for a healthy planet!
Kehoe’s Kitchen is proudly Australia’s first certified organic producer of fermented vegetables, cashew dips and spreads. We caught up with founders Brenden and Katrina to learn more about their inspiring journey.
Despite 2020 being the year that we all want to forget, we did learn some valuable lessons along the way!
We've put together some handy tips on carving your pumpkin and how to keep your Halloween organic and eco-friendly.
This Spring, why not make the most of the cooler weather and get your kids involved in some fun activities to learn more about plants - the organic way!
How often do you set time aside to wind down and relax? Self-care should be part of your daily routine, for very good reasons!
The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has this week launched its #BackOnTrack campaign which aims to highlight the important role our farmers play in the nation’s recovery from COVID-19.
With gardeners new and old wanting to grow their own food, Helen McKerral goes through the basics of setting up a vegie garden, including easy crops to start with. Article from ABC Organic Gardener.
The Spring issue is all about Australian Organic Awareness Month and includes articles about the importance of looking for certification marks, an interview with Woolworths Paul Turner, and an exclusive chat with our 2020 ambassador Lincoln Lewis.
As we head into Spring, find out what's organic and in season this September with an update from the team at United Organics.
The valuable work of Australian organic producers will once more be highlighted throughout September during Australian Organic Awareness Month (AOAM).
This month doesn’t show much in the way of change, but we’re certainly another month closer to Spring and to warmer and brighter times.
Australian Organic Awareness Month Lincoln Lewis goes behind the scenes to meet certified organic producers and learn more about their businesses.
United Organics take us through what's organic, fresh and in season this July.
Dr Sarah Lantz is a writer, author, mother, advocate for healthy living and fermentation and a regular contributor to Bud Organic Club.
With record low temperatures hard on the heels of a buying boom, expect pretty much everything to be short in June.
FREE Brewing Co founder and Head of Beer, Ash Truscott, tells us more about his business and how they've been...
Located on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, QCamel is a certified organic camel dairy - the first of its kind in Australia. Learn more about QCamel and Director Lauren Brisbane's passion for camels.
In January 2020, Australian Organic visited certified organic producers in Far North Queensland to learn more about their operations and how their businesses have been affect by the floods.
Enjoy the last month of Autumn and remember to eat all of your colours!
Ever thought about keeping your own backyard chooks? Well, now is the perfect time! Keeping chickens is rewarding, educational, and gives you fresh eggs everyday!
Who doesn't love a good pickle? Dr Sarah Lantz shows us just how easy it is to make this deliciously tangy snack at home, with just a few simple ingredients.
We've put together some fun activities to get your kids playing outdoors and staying occupied during the Easter holidays.
Read our tips on how to talk to your children about COVID-19 and help to comfort them during this time.
In all the doom and gloom, let's look on the bright side of self-isolation! Here's our 10 ways to stay sane and survive the lockdown. You're welcome!
Australian Organic's Rhonda Vohland tells us how, in the Year of the Plant, there's so much we can learn from our leafy friends.
Clemence Organics take us through the different ways that stress can affect your skin and how you can combat it, naturally.
Happy Flame wanted to let you know that they are busy hand-making candles to keep up with your orders for candle light.
Dr Sarah Lantz gives us a lesson in choosing the best quality, ethical chocolate this Easter - it's so worth it!
Organic delivery box company Organic Angels give us their top tips on how to properly store fresh organic produce.
Kialla matriarch Rob Kennedy shares her simply delicious Anzac Biscuits recipe - a staple for every Aussie household!
Autumn is officially here! Read on to find out what's the best organic fresh produce to buy this April.
These indulgent chocolate truffles are made from quality ingredients and make a great Easter gift. Recipe by Dr Sarah Lantz.
Tamburlaine's holistic approach to grape growing and winemaking are based on modern scientific practices.
Angove Family Winemakers have a steep history in winemaking in Australia. Angove are offering 25% discount to Bud Club members during this tough time.
Pure Vision's range of certified organic wines are made the way wines should be!
This delicious Avo & Ginger slice recipe from Absolute Organic is ideal for St. Patrick's Day and what's more, it can be enjoyed without the guilt!
Feeling under the weather? Warm your soul with this whole-hearted Organic Turmeric Chicken Zoodle Soup recipe courtesy of Changing Habits.
This delicious green salad makes the most of what's in season this March; kale, avocado and broccoli - the three super greens!
Check out the freshest organic fruit and veggies available this March, courtesy of United Organics.
This delicious rabbit pie made with Kalleske Clarry's GSM is the perfect accompaniment to St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
Dr. Sarah Lantz reminds us of the importance of home cooked meals enjoyed around the family table.
Learn how to make a simple and delicious beet kvass with this easy recipe from Dr. Sarah Lantz.
The new year is the perfect excuse to declutter, reorganise and detox your home. Here's .. simple steps to get you started!
Got a question about fermentation and making your own fermented bevvies? We might just have the answer!
How many unread messages, texts and emails are on your device? Too many? Maybe it's time to start your digital detox! Here's some simple tips to get started.
Eco-Farms is Australia’s biggest organic distributor offering fresh organic fruit and veg, as well as over 600 organic grocery lines. Their Carole Park location is a central hub servicing both Queensland and Northern NSW.
In January, Australian Organic volunteered their morning to pack food hampers at Foodbank Queensland - an operation that provides food relief to over 249,000 Queenslanders each month.
It's difficult enough to get your kids to eat healthy at home, never mind at school! These easy, healthy and delicious lunchbox ideas will help to keep your kids feeling full of energy and ready to take on the day.
We've put together a list of some schoolbag essentials with a downloadable checklist to help your busy mornings get a little easier!
These 5 busy brekkie recipes are perfect for a quick and healthy meal on-the-go, because who has the time?!
No more fussy eaters! Dr Sarah Lantz lets you in on her top tricks to raise your kids to become happy and healthy eaters.
Dr. Sarah Lantz debunks some of the myths surrounding those little critters that are a normal part of every childhood - nits!
Australian Organic CEO Niki Ford will be hosting a seminar surrounding an organic approach to beauty at Beauty Melbourne 2020.
As scary as it sounds, this Fire Cider Tonic is packed full of immune-boosting properties & can easily be added to teas, juices or salads.
Make your very own kombucha at home with this simple recipe from Dr. Sarah Lantz.
Say goodbye to sugary drinks and say hello to fermented bevvies and the revival of everyday fermentation.
You made the switch to an organic lifestyle for yourself and your family, but did you ever think about your pets? Learn why they deserve organic too!
The winners have been announced for the 6th Annual Australian Organic Industry Awards 2019, celebrating the best of the organic industry over the past 12 months.
This seemingly simple yet expensive extract can be made with just a few simple ingredients at home. Recipe by Dr. Sarah Lantz.
Try our top 7 staples to make up your organic pantry, for easy, healthy recipes whenever you need them!
Dr. Sarah Lantz shares her experiences and tips on sourcing delicious, wild food via urban foraging.
Did I hear you say ice-cream floats? That's right! Our favourite summer drink just got a whole lot healthier.
Australian Organic is proud to present the Annual Award finalists and their outstanding contribution to the nation's organic industry throughout the year.
The Australian Organic awards will celebrate the outstanding and innovative contributions members of the organic industry have made over the past year.
Australian Organic were up bright and early on Sunday morning to welcome visitors at the Northey Street City Farm Organic Markets in Windsor, Brisbane, QLD.
Finalists have been announced for the 2019 Australian Organic 6th Annual Industry Awards.
We've compiled our top 10 Instagram accounts you should be following when it comes to the certified organic sector in Australia.
Spring is the perfect excuse to clean and freshen up your home. See our easy top 10 tips to Spring clean your home, naturally!
To celebrate Australian Organic Awareness Month, leading industry body Australian Organic hosted a lunchtime BBQ at Parliament House, Canberra, on 19 September 2019.
As part of Australian Organic Awareness Month, Australian Organic CEO Niki Ford was recently interviewed by SBS as part of a special Small Business Secrets segment.
Learn more about how UK leading food and farming charity and organic certification body, the Soil Association, is celebrating Organic September.
A recent study published in scientific journal Frontiers in Microbiology shows that organic apples are far more beneficial for your health than conventional ones.
Australian Organic hosted its AOAM launch event in the stunning La Porte Space in Rosebery, Sydney to celebrate the nation's certified organic industry.
One of her favourite spring-time recipes, Elle Halliwell shares her sweet potato cakes with guacamole.
Thought eating organic was expensive? Try our 7 budget-friendly tips to help you eat organic on a budget.
Australian Organic ambassador and media personality Elle Halliwell will be sharing her story during Organic Awareness Month on how a cancer diagnosis prompted her to embrace an all-organic lifestyle.
We've put together some easy ways you can be more sustainable in your everyday life. Even the little things can make a big difference!
Members of Australian Organic were proudly representing the certified organic industry at Regional Flavours 2019 in Brisbane.
G&M Cosmetics launch their exciting new Native Australian range with highly concentrated formulations and Australia's most effective natural 100% organic oils.
Supermarkets in Asia have invented an ingenious solution to combat the growing plastic problem.
Top experts share their thoughts on the top 3 food trends for 2019 including the growing demand for organic products.
A recent study by the University of Helsinki has revealed that organic land benefits biodiversity by increasing bird numbers in agricultural areas.
At the forefront of the 'war on plastics', France has taken a vow to abolish non-recyclable plastics by 2025.
With the launch of Endoprime, Sumitomo have increased their range of Organic Certified Allowed Inputs to 10 with more in the pipeline.
Developed with some of Australia's most experienced skincare experts, BE.ST Organic is a truly organic range with effective formulations for sensitive skin.
The UAE's most prestigiously known airline carrier Etihad Airways has become the first airline in the Gulf region to conduct a flight without any single-use plastics on board. The decision to fly single-use plastic free was a clever bid to raise awareness around pollution, a smart move by the air carrier giant.
Can kindness be captured in a photo? Get your cameras READY, SET and GO to win! The challenge closes on 30 April, and the winning entry will receive a $2,000 donation for the Queensland charity of their choice and a $500 prize for the photographer.
Australian Organic is thrilled to announce popular media identities Luke Hines and Elle Halliwell as their ambassadors for 2019. Returning...
Woolworths Group announces the launch of the $30 million Woolworths Organic Growth Fund.