Canowindra farmer takes out inaugural NSW organics gong

Sam Statham, an organic farmer from Canowindra in the State’s central west, has taken out the inaugural 2012 NSW Organic Pioneers Award.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Acting Director Skills and Communities, John Newcombe, presented the award at the opening of Sydney’s SUSTAIN Show at Moore Park.

“Sam first started growing grapes and olives organically in 1997 and is now widely respected in organic industry circles right across Australia,” Mr Newcombe said.

His family business, ‘Rosnay’ is a certified organic farm from which they produce wine grapes, olives and figs.

Mr Statham also sells many value added products such as wine, olives in brine, olive paste, figs is syrup, fig preserve and fig syrup.

The farm, near Canowindra, has been an organic enterprise since 1997 when the family moved from another property in northern NSW.

Mr Statham developed an appreciation for organic farming after spending time in New Zealand learning about the industry and the value that it has.

“If it wasn’t for organic farming, we’d be having a lot of trouble surviving in the wine industry, Mr Statham said, the quality is superior.”

Mr Statham explained that being an organic farm has been an advantage from a marketing perspective with more and more consumers seeking organic food products.

“I do really think you get a better quality

product – if you get it right.

“You feel better about farming organically.”

“Congratulations to all entrants in particular our other finalists, the strength of the entries is a clear indication of how the sector has grown and transformed into a sophisticated $504 million industry nationally.

Over one million hectares of land in NSW is now certified as organic and the industry employs an estimated 25,000 people nationally. NSW has the largest number of organic producers and is home to 43 per cent of Australia’s organic vegetable farmers and 37 per cent of Australia’s fruit producers.” Mr Newcombe said.

Judges of the award were Professor Stuart Hill (Uni of Western Sydney), Andre Leu (Chair of the Organic Federation of Australia OFA) and David Mason (DPI Urban Agriculture Leader).

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