Cross-border organic dairy farmer joins the board of Australian Organic as new director

By Dairy News Australia

Organic dairy farmer Jane Campbell has been appointed to the Australian Organic board as its new director.

Ms Campbell will assume the position in an interim capacity from previous board director Leo Watling.

Ms Campbell has more than 20 years’ organic dairy farming experience and divides her time between the two operations she runs with her husband Ian – Barambah Organics, in Goondiwindi, Queensland, and East Coast Sustainable Dairy in Raleigh on the mid-north coast of NSW.

She also oversees the production facilities in Darra, Brisbane.

The Campbells have been successfully exporting their organic products including milk, cheese, cream and yoghurt to numerous countries since 2012 and have won many national and international awards for their produce.

Ms Campbell, who recently completed a law degree through the University of New England, specialising in Australian consumer law, environmental law and animal law, said she was looking forward to taking on the role of board director.

“I’ve always been a passionate advocate for farmers rights given how familiar I am with the numerous challenges of organic farming,” she said.

“I also believe in upholding the integrity of the organic industry.

“Ensuring that consumers recognise the certified organic Bud logo and only look for certified organic products is a vital part of that.”

Last August the Campbells expanded into NSW with new venture, East Coast Sustainable Dairy, which like Barambah, produces a full range of dairy products.

“We have 1060 acres in Raleigh, 15 km south of Coffs Harbour, and have really been embraced by the Bellingen community, who are very environmentally conscious,” Ms Campbell said.

“We’re really excited to be farming in the area.

“Ian, who is a qualified rural scientist, has been doing a lot of soil tests in the paddocks, which have revealed that the soils have a high storage of carbon at 6.5 per cent, which is due to zero till and treading gently on the land.

“Ian is also focused on adding nutrients back into the soil and allowing the soils to regenerate.

“We have also been very careful to not overstock the farm as we are very mindful of animal welfare and are co-existing very well with an oyster farm right on our doorstep.

“The area is ideal for organic farming and we hope to expand the business over time and employ more locals.”

Committed to sustainability, the business does “green packaging” with its bladder boxes made of cardboard, which has a thin plastic liner, as opposed to using 210 g of plastic, across two-litre plastic bottles.

This is a work in progress, with Barambah looking at other liner bags.

Barambah also encourages people to bring their own glass bottles to stores for milk refills.

“We have also bought 250,000 one-litre refillable glass bottles, since we started their Goodwill Glass Return Project in October 2018,” Ms Campbell said.

“COVID-19 has caused a disruption to the bottles being returned, but we are hoping these beauties will make their way back sometime soon.”

Australian Organic chief executive officer Niki Ford said she was looking forward to the dairy industry experience that Ms Campbell would bring to the board.

“The Australian organic dairy sector is a significant part of the industry, so Jane’s expertise will be invaluable,” Ms Ford said.

“Leo has been a fantastic board director over the past year, however, as the founder of retailer Apples and Sage, he has had to temporarily step back from the position due to the extra business demands COVID-19 has brought about.

“He intends to return to the board as soon as he is able to.”