Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Saving seed in Tasmania … and a multinational company …

*Pic: Me … and my supposedly sinister silver beet plant.

First published December 15

The thin edge of the wedge has arrived in Whitemore, Tasmania.

I got a letter in the mail the other day from the international seed company, Bejo, asking me not to save my own vegetable seeds – specifically beetroot and silver beet.

What the shit? Bejo say that they are growing beetroots for seed somewhere in Tasmania – they say not where.

Apparently these plants produce pollen which can spread by wind for up to 10 km and the seeds that I save in my garden (I currently have one plant being saved for seed) could stuff things up for them by cross-pollinating with their plants.

It seems that I could possibly, single-handedly with my one plant, destroy an industry worth millions. Well best of luck with that one. I am currently trying to word a letter that tells Bejo to basically go and get stuffed.

I don’t know much about Bejo but they seem to have a whiff of Monsanto about them. Apparently Bejo are part of the Dutch company Bejo Zaden.

There also seems to be some information that their head office is actually in USA … so it is hard to tell. They are a private company and they don’t seem to list their directors or who actually owns the operation (or if they do I can’t find it).

They claim to be the third biggest vegetable seed company in the world and are active in 30 different countries. According to our ABC rural news department they are moving into Tasmania in a big way because of climate change.

They ask “that you please cut off, at ground level, any plants which are presently flowering in your garden”. Ah, well actually, no, I don’t intend to.

They didn’t offer to supply me with free vegetable seed by way of compensation and I would also greatly appreciate it they stopped spraying their crops with insecticides that could adversely affect my bees.

We were never consulted on this, just being requested to fall into line for the sake of the profits of an extraordinarily wealthy multi-national company – I don’t think so.

It is actually a bit hard to tell if Bejo are goodies or baddies because they seem to employ some extraordinarily capable spin doctors – as does Monsanto.

They continually throw in impressive (but meaningless) motherhood statements like “we stay close to nature” and “exploring nature never stops”. They also seem to be using the power of association by trying to ride on the back of the organic movement by producing some organic seeds. They don’t say how much.

So far I have only come up with one line for my letter of reply, “you are possibly a villain masquerading as one of the good guys”. I may substitute bully for villain – haven’t decided yet. It’s a start.

Steven French is a retired farmer, writer, photographer and publisher. He lives on a farm at Whitemore where his family (seven generations) have been since 1865. Steven’s 2010 book, Hand Made in Tasmania, was on the state’s best seller list for several weeks and his short story, Arthur, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2008 Tasmanian Living Writers Week. Steven is a former publisher/editor of Tasmanian Life Magazine and more recently the Editor of Tasmania Plus Magazine. Currently he is editor of Australian Sheep Magazine.

• Michael Anderson in Comments: In the US, where I live, it has taken the form of expensive lawsuits aimed at private citizens (farmers or just regular Joes) who grow heirloom crops and/or save seeds. The culprits are Dow, Monsanto, and Archer-Daniels-Midland. You can fully expect your politicians to take their side as these multinationals are bribing them hand over fist. Money talks and b———t walks. Their GMO plants can’t grow without petroleum-derived chemicals to keep them alive, but they can make your plants sterile. They – Don’t – Care.



  1. TGC

    December 14, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    At least 40 years ago an Apple/Pear orchard at Legana – Peter Cundall territory – contacted householders nearby seeking to encourage them to remove their own fruit trees – and the orchard would supply them all the fruit they wanted on the basis that these ‘home brand’ fruits, poorly cared for in some cases, created health issues for the orchard’s crops. Not sure how it all panned out.

  2. Russell

    December 14, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Tell them to go and get you know whated!

    Else they had better send a letter out to every second household in Australia and the world.

  3. Tony Stone

    December 14, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    It’ll be GM beetroot and silver beet soon, if not already. You can bet their seed will be sterile hybrid and when grown, won’t produce productive seed.

    They don’t want their crap plants to be contaminated with real productive plants. Their plants will require their fertilisers and chemical sprays. Every year the growers will have to buy their seed under contract or be forced out of business.

    It may be a front for Monsanto or some other conglomerate, hence the demand to stop growing your own food.

    It would be interesting to know what the pollies, council GMs and bureaucracy know about this. Wouldn’t be surprised if they back the company up when it starts getting heavy.

  4. Pete Godfrey

    December 14, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    What a hide. The company comes along and says to people well, we are here we want to grow our crops bugger off and stop growing yours.
    I have a wonderful volunteer garden, we let our lettuce, kale, carrots, broccoli etc go to seed. Then all we have to do is a bit of weeding and watering an presto, magical crops of beautiful organic food.
    I stand with you Steven, I too would tell them to bugger off.
    I would also not want their sprays on my place.

  5. John Biggs

    December 15, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    These are shocking tactics. Similar things happened in Canada under NAFTA but here we don’t have any free trade agreement (although Turnbull is doing his destructive best to get one going) that might be relevant in your case, Steve.

    I am outraged by this and urge that this be taken up at the highest level. Another one for Rebecca, Greens and Jackie Lambie Network which I’m sure would all back a ban on this muscling in from outside and bullying.

  6. Michael Anderson

    December 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    In the U.S, where I live, it has taken the form of expensive lawsuits aimed at private citizens (farmers or just regular Joes) who grow heirloom crops and/or save seeds. The culprits are Dow, Monsanto, and Archer-Daniels-Midland.

    You can fully expect your politicians to take their side as these multinationals are bribing them hand over fist. Money talks and b——t walks.

    Their GMO plants can’t grow without petroleum-derived chemicals to keep them alive, but they can make your plants sterile. They – Don’t – Care.

  7. Isla MacGregor

    December 15, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Small holder’s rights to grow their own vegetable seeds now needs to become a state election issue in 2018 – no question here.

    As a vegetable grower and seed saver for over 4 decades it is clear to me that Bejo’s actions against you are outrageous.

  8. Clive Stott

    December 16, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Is it April Fools Day where these people come from?

    So Stephen why should you go it alone on this matter?
    I guess what we all do now is grow beetroot and silver beet flat out and let it go to seed, well until the plants go sterile that is.

    PS: I got so excited today when I saw a lonely bee. Not sure who/what killed most of them off.

  9. derbytas

    December 16, 2017 at 4:18 am

    Bejo they did nothing more than ask their neighbours to chop down any seeding plants that might cross with their beetroot. No pressure, and I am sure they understand a few gardeners will totally ignore their request. I am sure they can live with that because each of their seven plots has probably somewhere between 4-5 million plants. Compared to the few plants gardeners will leave to go to seed it is minuscule problem for them.

    On the other hand backyard gardeners will be swamped by the air laden with pollen from the Bejo plots.
    In this case the family of Steven French has been saving seed from their silverbbeet for 4 generations. He lives on a farm away from town and in the past has probably had very little genetic impact from neighbours.

    This year his silverbeet will be modified owing to the huge impact from the neighbouring Bejo beetroots. This will destroy any uniqueness that his seed has developed over 4 genrations.

    Bejo have known for nearly a year that this situation would arise. Not once did they contact Mr French to make him aware of what was going to happen. For them his lone silverbeet plant is no real problem. But they knew that their crop would have a major impact on his seed saving if they had bothered to find out that he was going to attempt to save seed.
    What if he had been going to sell some of his seed to a small local company. This beetroot crop would have destroyed that idea.

    There is no law dealing with issues such as these in regard to tresspass by farmers on neighbours.
    Back in the seventies when chemical spraying concerns came into prominence farmers were protected from neighbour complaints because pretty well everyone was splashing the stuff around.

    As concerns grew and as the Organic farming Industry gained more strength Chemical Tresspass events grew in number successive State governments have done much to silence criticism when an event arises.

    Never has a chemical register been mooted in Tasmania. The state government has absolutely no idea of what chemicals are imported into Tasmania, nor how much is used , nor where and when.

    If a register was in existence and each farmer was compelled to notify the department of what chemical the farmer had used and how much and where and when then when a chemical tresspass event did occur then it would be much easier to track down the likely culprit.

    Whilst chemicals are not the issue here; the issue is about tresspass from genetic material in the form of pollen.
    Is the seed that Bejo are growing subject to PBR protection?
    In all likelyhood it is, so what is the legal status of the seed Mr French might collect?
    What rights does he have to protect his property from being inundated by this unwanted genetic material?

    In the future we will see many more events where neighbours come to disagreement over who has right of way regarding genetic wind and insect borne material.
    Is it the backyard gardener whose family has been saving seeds for generations or the Multinational who stands to make a million dollars or so.

    What is the commercial potential for heirloom seed? and should it be protected?
    I guess we will never know now because Bejo have put a stop to all that.

  10. mike seabrook

    December 16, 2017 at 5:46 am

    pure gm loaded – tax haven or china involvement??

  11. mike seabrook

    December 16, 2017 at 5:50 am

    betta do something about those triffids before they cause real problems – where is john wyndham??

  12. John Bignell Thorpe Farm

    December 16, 2017 at 9:44 am

    What a beat up.

    I would have thought that with his farming genes, Steven French might have had a bit more empathy/support for his fellow Tasmanian farmers.
    Vegetable seed production is a significant industry in Tasmania.

    As was pointed-out by TGC in #1, this type of issue has been around for decades, if not centuries – long before the bogey-monster multinationals started taking over the world.
    Apart from poorly managed apple trees, those of us trying to make a living from the land (and sea) face numerous threats from the activities of inconsiderate neighbours – be it lice and worm infested sheep getting through poorly maintained fences, weed seeds blowing in the wind, bee diseases from back-yard hives or sewerage and urban runoff polluting oyster leases.

    I haven’t seen the letter Steven French received, but did hear the local manager of Bejo (a Tasmanian) provide an explanation on the Country Hour. All very reasonable I thought. Hardly a demand from an aggressive multinational.

    I certainly have seeding silverbeet in my garden that doesn’t need to be there. I’d happily remove it if any farmer was growing beets for seed locally.

    As an aside, I’d bet a year’s supply of fresh silverbeet that the latest variety release from Bejo will out perform Steven’s home-saved heirloom plant on any criteria except perhaps ” warm fuzzy glow”.

  13. John Bignell

    December 16, 2017 at 10:43 am

    I should have said — ” what a beet-up”

  14. John Biggs

    December 16, 2017 at 10:48 am

    #12 … You have missed the point. We are not talking who has got the best silver beet but about the rights of a farmer to grow vegetables on his/her own land.

    If an interloper or a neighbour (some neighbour) doesn’t like that, then that person must take steps themselves to protect whatever it is they want to protect. is their right, too.

  15. Tony Stone

    December 16, 2017 at 11:27 am

    #12 … “As an aside, I’d bet a year’s supply of fresh silverbeet that the latest variety release from Bejo will out perform Steven’s home-saved heirloom plant on any criteria except perhaps ‘warm fuzzy glow’.”

    Of course, vested interests will always support the unsupportable. It’s always the same, the environmental destroyers and money grabbers must do all in their power to destroy people’s lives and force them into the hands of the corporate world purely for profit growth and never for good environmental and human health.

    Commercially grown produce always taste like crap compared to organically home grown foods. Attempts to monopolise food production is the realm of the greedy and typical of those incapable of forward, logical thinking and sustainable futures.

    Companies which demand people change their approach to life to suit corporate morons should be thrown out of the state. The best future plan for food growing in Tas should be the banning of chemical and inorganic fertilisers along with labeling all produce that has been in touch with chemicals of any kind as dangerous to health.

    It should be the same for the GM crops grown here, especially poppies, which we should throw out of the state and replace with seed oil crops.

    Seed oil crops will provide very long term security for farmers without the use of chemicals or poisonous fertilisers. Residue would be excellent composting fertilisation material. No dead bees or other necessary insects, just natural soils and produce.

    Not only are poppy growers destroying the land with GM chemically saturated crops, they are aiding in the destruction of life around the globe with the growing world wide opioid epidemic.

    Sadly but understandably, it’s those locked into the past with their chemically destructive practices who are the problem in Tas, not those growing their own food at home.

    In fact we should be encouraging everyone who can, to grow their own foods. Then we could export large amounts of commercially grown organic produce to the world while expanding our economic growth and protecting the environment and people’s lives.

    First we need to get rid of those destructive companies which increasingly are desperately trying to monopolise food production in Tas.

  16. Russell

    December 16, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Re #12
    As I understand it GM/GE crops and the use of HGPs are still prohibited in Tasmania at least until 2019, so if BEJO are planting GE/GM crops I suggest they should be taken to court and sued for compensation.


    Regarding your ‘farmers’ rights’ over the right s of other citizens, why should we have to put up with your chemically-laden poisonous crops, and what makes you think you have more rights over everyone else regarding their food?

    You have none. It is everyone’s right to access safe foods.

    In the ‘decades’ you say ‘this issue has been around’ the occurrence of diseases and allergies has skyrocketed and I believe the chemical and GM/GE seed companies are largely responsible for them.

    “Lice and worm infested sheep” are the product of poor stock management and nutrition, not the lack of chemicals pumped into them which the pests are immune to.

    “Poorly maintained fences” are the property owners’ responsibility.

    “Weed seeds blowing in the wind” are ALSO the property owners’ responsibility.

    Bees dying from introduced mites and chemicals are the result of poor national quarantine procedures/standards, poor/irresponsible pest management procedures/standards and toxic chemicals.

    Most of the problems with oysters are also a result of poor land farm and forestry practices with chemical over/incorrect use which pollute the land and waterways. The other problems with oysters are the introduced pests which came with the introduced exotic and feral Pacific Oysters.

    Most Tasmanian farmers I know won’t eat the crops they grow, and grow their own family’s food in a separate patch far away from the chemical crops that the industry agronomists force the farmers to overspray with poisons.

    If you’ve done any agricultural Certificates, like I have, you will know that in the Integrated Pest Management section of the course the lecturers read out the obligatory “chemicals should only be used as a last resort” spiel then continue with nothing else than “what chemical do you use for this problem or that problem?”

  17. Steve

    December 16, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    #12; I am not sure of the validity of your argument John. The examples of inconsiderate neighbours that you cite, are all examples where there exists a legal remedy. They are all situations that were dealt with years ago.
    I would agree with you that weeds migrating in from neighbouring properties is very much a problem. In many instances, the neighbouring property is crown land, which is why councils are very reluctant to pursue private land owners over weed control.
    With regard to the “beet up”, there’s nothing wrong with a company asking. The concern is when they move beyond asking and start to apply pressure. It’s happened elsewhere and there’s nothing about our Government that assures me it couldn’t happen here.

  18. TGC

    December 16, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    #16 … Rights! “You have none. It is everyone’s right to access safe foods” It is? a UN declaration … or something you think sounds impressive?. So “everyone has rights” except for those who don’t.

    Add to your “ag Certificate” a law degree. How many Tasmanian ‘farmers’ consume of their livestock- is there a difference between sheep/beef. beetroot?

  19. Wining Pom

    December 16, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Bloody POMS. Come over here, kill our oysters …

  20. Simon Warriner

    December 16, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    Fascinating discussion.

    The drift of pollen goes all over the place. Those whinging about the letter might stop to consider the possibility that had the letter not been sent they would probably never have known, and their precious heirloom variety might have been contaminated by pollen from the commercial crop. How would they ever know?

    Now they know and so they can contain their heirloom varieties to keep their pollen to themselves and to protect the virginity of their promiscuous plants. A win for both sides, perhaps?

  21. John Bignell Thorpe Farm

    December 17, 2017 at 8:38 am

    #17 … Steven, you state that “there is nothing wrong with a company asking. The concern is when they move beyond asking and start to apply pressure”.

    So did they move beyond asking and start to apply pressure?

    If not, why did you choose to besmirch a company which by your own admission, ” I don’t know much about ….”
    Suggestions of ” a whiff of Monsanto” and mysterious unknown directors have done little more than stir up the standard ill-informed “looney” anti -farmer sentiments typified in #15 and #16 ( there are no GM poppies grown in Tasmania – more’s the pity )

    Bejo has been operating in Tasmania for many years, providing a very welcome cropping option for many Tasmanian farming families. The local staff and management are actually locals, well known and respected in the Tasmanian farming community. I understand you even have family members working with them.

    So I repeat my questions: so did they start to apply pressure and why did you choose to besmirch Bejo and, by association, the Tasmanian farming community?

  22. Russell

    December 17, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Re #18
    Take a bex and have a good long lie down.

  23. Russell

    December 17, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Re #21
    Try reading and understanding my #16 post properly. I have stated nothing but facts.

    Try answering my question, John, “what makes you as a ‘farmer’ think you have more rights over everyone else regarding their food?”.

    I am a primary producer, but a responsible one. There are no valid reasons to use chemicals if you have enough biodiversity on your farm and good land and animal management procedures.

    There are also no valid reasons to grow GE/GM crops if you care about what you eat or produce to feed others.

    There is no ‘outside the industry’ proof that GE/GM crops provide any advantage to growers whether that be in yield or market share, or any benefit to anyone but the seed and chemical supplier.

    In the last few decades of intensive spraying and the introduction of GE/GM crops, the occurrence of diseases and food allergies has skyrocketed.

    Do you go into a supermarket and specifically pick out the GE/GM products to eat, John?

    As I stated “most Tasmanian farmers I know won’t eat the crops they grow, and grow their own family’s food in a separate patch far away from the chemical crops that the industry agronomists force the farmers to overspray with poisons.”

  24. TGC

    December 17, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    #23 “I am a primary producer, but a responsible one’

  25. Tony Stone

    December 18, 2017 at 8:45 am

    “Suggestions of ” a whiff of Monsanto” and mysterious unknown directors have done little more than stir up the standard ill-informed “looney” anti -farmer sentiments typified in #15 and #16 ( there are no GM poppies grown in Tasmania – more’s the pity )”

    Of course there are no GM crops in Tas, that’s why GSK Australia’s Tasmanian division, now owned by an Indian pharmaceutical company. Provides GM seed to their growers in Victoria and you may find they have the right to conduct pilot gm seed programs in Tas.

    ‘So I repeat my questions: so did they start to apply pressure and why did you choose to besmirch Bejo and, by association, the Tasmanian farming community?’

    That’s what you and others are doing, by supporting this destructive industry. When we could be really supporting our farmers with very long term solutions, that will never require chemicals, won’t destroy the environment and are easy to grow.

    I’ve been advocating this for years, but everyone is totally deaf to the reality and can only concentrate on the past and their desperate fear of change.

    Seed oils, are the future of long term farming and Europe is already buying our canola for biodiesel and other commodities. We can produce many things from it without destroying the environment, including plastics, graphene, lubricants and many other commodities.


    We could have a huge advantage, as canola has a low oil content, low energy producing seed oil, compared to some other plants. Like wild radish which has almost double the oil content of canola and can be grown just about anywhere.

    I’m a supporter of very long term security for our farming industry, not short term profit growth and monopolisation. That is destroying the environment and minds of people around the planet.

    We need to go entirely organic, to be able to capture world markets and get the prices we want. To be the only truly organic producing island on the planet, would give us a non destructive long term economic future.

    Bejo produces the opposite to organic and we should remove all inorganic production from tas as soon as possible. For economic environmental and social stability.

  26. Russell

    December 18, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Re #25
    Unfortunately, most canola (Canada Oil, rapeseed) in Australia is GE/GM.

  27. John Bignell. Thorpe Farm

    December 18, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    #25 … Great idea Tony, I don’t know why someone didn’t think of this before.

    For the benefit of the readers, can you please tell us where in Tasmania you are going to obtain the plant nutrients required to replace those shipped overseas in your produce?
    In the case of an oilseed such as Canola, this is:
    – phosphorous. 6.5 kg per tonne
    – potassium 9.2 kg per tonne
    The latter is considerably higher than most other crops

    Wheat crops are now yielding up to 16 tonnes per Ha. That’s more raw elemental nutrients removed per Ha that you could fit in a wheelbarrow.
    You can harvest nitrogen from the air, but not the other macro and micro nutrients.
    Don’t tell me seaweed is organic unless you cart it home in the wheelbarrow.
    Likewise, how are you planning to plant, harvest and ship all this oil-seed without the use of that organic hydrocarbon known as diesel?
    Don’t tell me bio-diesel please – see first question.

    If only reality wasn’t so complicated !

  28. Russell

    December 18, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Re #24
    “Naturally” Got it in one Trevvy.

    Re #26
    Seaweed is much more organic than the salts you’re advocating.

    Never wondered why the Bothwell region is so nutrient deficient?

    Firstly, the removal of all the trees from the area within the first 50 years of colonisation, but mostly from overgrazing with exotic introduced pest animals like sheep which even uproot what grasses were there, cattle trample it in, and goats eat everything else.

    There were miles upon hundreds of miles of cultivated grasses with much higher seed yields already in Australia. Please educate yourself and read “The Biggest Estate on Earth” by Bill Gammage.

    Problem has been colonial whitey superior thinking has been “this isn’t like back ‘ome, let’s rip it oop and start again.” But as you said “where in Tasmania you are going to obtain the plant nutrients?”

    Why not learn from the land and grow the food plants and animal stock that belongs here?

    No extra costs with fertilisers, chemical pesticides/herbicides/fungicides, no problem with feed or water for the animals, and the kangaroos and wallabies even organise there gestation around the currently prevailing conditions.

    Before the colonials invaded there were no hard-hooved animals and the ground was soft and fertile for what belonged.

    Endemic native foods are also much higher in vitamins, nutrients and get a much higher dollar return than rubbish like canola and wheat.

    By the time the consumer gets their canola and wheat derived products it’s basically rubbish because of the manipulation and over-processing and even poisonous because the phytic acid which surrounds most grains, seeds and nuts hasn’t been removed (by soaking in water), so the human body can’t even digest most of it.

    Reality is only as complicated as you make it, John.

    Why are we trying to ‘feed the world’ when all we are doing is swapping like for like at a huge cost to ourselves and the environment? How many of the foods in the supermarket used to be grown here but now come from China, etc.? It’s ridiculous.

    Don’t cry poor bugger me when you’re creating your own demise.

  29. Russell

    December 18, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Re #26
    Oh! And seaweed is a food which has hundreds of times more nutrients than land vegetables so why not grow some, firstly by not polluting the rivers and seas with chemiclas fertilisers, etc.?

  30. Wining Pom

    December 18, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Yes John, organic farming with the population of the planet is like saying the aircraft industry should be gliders.

    If you want to be organic, fine. But it’s a small market.

  31. Tony Stone

    December 18, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    #26 … I have already dismissed canola, as stated in my post, which you appear to either not read, or ignored, as it doesn’t suit your agenda.

    Canola/rape seed oil and other food oils are useless for fuels as they require specific growing conditions and chemical fertilisers.

    There are many seed oil plants that produce much more oil from their seeds than rape seed plants without the need for chemical support.

    In case you haven’t noticed, seed oils are already used for driving diesel engines and there is no reason why we can’t run our ferries on them. Along with every diesel engine in Tas, saving billions each year when exporting our money to overseas multinationals.

    Biodiesel is now fueling aircraft, large haulage vehicles, but it requires processing which increases costs and in my opinion, is suitable for starting engines. You seem to be living somewhere way back in the last century, or even before that.

    I run all my diesel engines on straight seed oils which includes 15.5 m motor sailer (671GM), 12 m converted bus (Isuzu turbo) two turbo landcruisers, Fuso tip truck, backhoe, tractors, generators.

    Have done so for decades and as a result, have virtually no fuel costs, yet travel round Aus by road and sometimes by sea.

    As an example, drove to the last Wangaratta jazz festival, fuel cost for the 1987 kms, $4.50. Forgot to take enough starter fuel, so had to buy 3 ltr of diesel in the bush.

    Wild radish provides about 50% of of its content in oil, canola 28%. Wild radish requires no chemical or fertiliser support, it grows just about anywhere prolifically and there are many other seed oil plants suitable and don’t require crap to grow.

    Reality is not complicated when you are abreast of it. It’s deluded ideological fantasy that is complicated because it’s not sustainable in evolutionary reality and we are seeing the results of that approach raising its ugly head across the planet.

  32. Russell

    December 18, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    Re #27
    Wrong, and what a stupid analogy.

    Those of us organically farming can’t keep up with demand adn name our own price, while those non-organically farming are at the whim of their contracting company.

    Just ask any Tasmanian non-organic farmer if he’s happy with what he’s being paid for his contracted potatoes, poppies, peas, milk, etc.

    How much is he being paid per Kg or litre compared to what consumers (who bare no risk) pay in the supermarket?

    Much of the rubbish that’s in the supermarket comes from overseas as well.

    The only farmers doing well are those who value add or sell direct to the public themselves. The rest are working for the mortgagees.

    Once the hemp industry is up and running everyone will be jumping on board because there are very few pests to speak of and they don’t need watering with their deep tap root. And hopefully they will be paid well. They should form a grower’s co-op to make sure and NOT let it be run by non-farmers as has been the disastrous case with the other Tasmanian ag industries where the farmers have been sold out.

  33. Russell

    December 18, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Re #28
    Tony, do you have your own bio-diesel kit? Did you make it yourself or buy it? Are there plans out there somewhere which handle ~200litre batches?

  34. John Bignell. Thorpe Farm

    December 19, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Tony and Russell …

    Do you really believe there is any plant or animal, be it wild radish, hemp or kangaroo, that can be grown and consumed in perpetuity from the same patch of soil without removing any nutrients? If you believe that, then you must also believe in perpetual motion and the magic pudding.

    If not, then please answer my question (it’s not an analogy): Where are you going to get the replacement nutrients, be they organic or otherwise?

    Spare me any other lectures, just try answering this basic question on the facts of life.

  35. Tony Stone

    December 19, 2017 at 9:37 am

    #33 Russell, … I made my own bio-diesel processor from scrap very easily and cheaply using a centrifuge to treat my seed oil and an inline filter on engines as a safety precaution. Spend a bit more for a better processing filtration system and would be no need for inline filter.

    Hemp and seed oils would be a massive benefit economically and environmentally and give the farming community long term security, as well as move them to organic growing.

    My farm is totally organic, almost self sufficient in energy, fuels and foods.

    Use a two tank system, bio-diesel, or diesel starts the engine from a small 6 lt tank. As it warms up it switches to veggie oil and at the end of the day, switches back to the starter fuel to flush the fuel system of veggie oil.

    Engines runs smoother, quieter, emit 80% less pollutants than fossil fuels and the byproducts are all good compost and bio-diesel by products produce soaps and other good things.

    When you add we can now make Graphene from seed oils without heating or chemical processes we have the opportunity to turn our state around in every way.

    Biodiesel costs between 35-40 cents a lt to make, straight seed oils cost 1-2 cents a litre to process from used vegetable oils and new oil, a bit more for growing costs.

    Using straight seed oils, transport and farming costs would drop by 80-90% whilst using bio-diesel would drop them 30-50%.

    I have developed a working business plan which would drop the costs even more and give businesses using vegetable oils for cooking a 50% reduction in the cost of their oils. It would all be locally grown instead of now all imported from Aus at great expense.

    Like you, I see organics as the only way for Tas to go – and that would give us a unique position in the world and also the most envied.

    I also see seed oils as a transitional fuel until we can go electric totally. This would again reduce costs and open up more long term sustainable economic growth without any damage to the environment.

    Then our seed oils can be used for many other 21st century technologies like lubricants, hydraulic oils and building materials.

    We already have the first solar powered train service in Aus, so my ideas of going electric for all our transport is already being proven.

  36. Russell

    December 21, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Re #34
    Again I suggest you read “The Biggest Estate on Earth” by Bill Gammage. The answers to your question is in there.

    Why can’t you answer my questions?

    Native plants and animals thrived and were consumed here in perpetuity for thousands of years before colonisation without any need for outside supplies of nutrients.

    Traditional farming ALSO survived in perpetuity for thousands of years before synthetic chemicals were used and the land and animals were much healthier. They used crop rotation and animals to provide all the nutrients required, as do organic farmers today.

    Again I say, if you need to use chemicals on your crop or animals you have a nutritional bio-diversity problem.

    Many of us use no chemicals and produce top quality foods which fetch a premium price. We leave the land in as good if not better condition than we find it.

    Those who trap themselves into contract mortgage farming do so at their peril and the detriment of the land and their future income.

    You can’t keep putting chemicals and salts into your land and expect to farm very long, as proved by so much of Australia’s arable land already being affected by salinity. You may as well grow it on a petri dish.

    You also can’t make a living growing the same crop as everyone else to supply one or two companies.

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