CQ producers sell organic beef first time from paddock to plate
PADDOCK to plate doesn't get much more direct than the Alexanders' farm.
Producing organic santa angus droughtmaster cross organic beef, Mick and his wife Noela have decided to sell directly from their farm to consumers.
In the works for several years, the operation is something Mick is excited to see finally come to fruition.
In 2013, Mick and Noela established the family property, Bindaree, in Garnant as an organic enterprise with the goal of demonstrating how to grow chemical-free beef.
Mick also knew first-hand the harm harsh chemicals could cause and didn't want his children growing up around them.
"I actually was sick when I was very young from an overdose of chemicals and I've seen so many other families get sick because of the same problems, and we didn't want to put our kids through it," he said.
Working on a 1456ha farm, about a 40 minute drive out of Rocky, Mick and his wife found interest as their operation grew quickly.
"As we started the change, we found there were so many people looking for quality meat," he said.
"Over the last couple of years, people have been asking when are we going to sell it.
"There are many brands of beef around the region, but none that are certified organic and so proven to be free of chemicals, hormones and antibiotics."
Initially the family was selling their organic meat to other producers and direct to the meatworks, but they made the decision this year to process some of the cattle themselves and send them directly to customers.
Although it costs Mick 30-40% more to produce organic beef, he says it doesn't make that much of a difference because he needs less cattle as they are generally healthier.
"We see our cattle nearly every day as they are moved between paddocks and so are quite contented and happy," he said.
"All of the organic animals we are selling are born and bred on our property - they are raised from birth to processing."
With 74 paddocks on their property, Mick and Noela move cattle every two to three days.
"We're shifting them every three days at the moment because it is right at the end of the dry season," he said.
Mick said the past few years had been an exciting time for his family as they established their new business.
"It's been an exciting project for the whole family - eliminating chemicals, establishing a planned rotational grazing program and improving animal health by balancing nutrition to produce a quality product," he said.
"I have been educating other farmers about grazing best practice for nearly 20 years and could see organics as the ideal strategy for ourselves and the community."
Mick and Noela Alexander will be delivering their first direct-to-consumer orders of CQ Organic Beef early in November to the Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast regions.
For full costings and delivery times, phone 0749 383 919 or 0438 395 255, or visit the CQ Organics Facebook page.