WHEN the Biloela region was running out of water two decades ago a group of farmers came together to find a solution.
Fast forward twenty years, and you’ll find Paul and Kim Stringer, Lynaura, Biloela, who farm 140 hectares of organic herbs and hay – and it all began because of the drought.
Mr Stringer said a group of farmers in the region turned to herbs so long ago with trials – and what began small, has grown into a large company, CD Herbs, which he and Mrs Stringer run.
At the moment the Stringers have coriander and parsley in the ground; but it is an ever-changing rotation, with crops grown in a matter of weeks, not months.
The farmers work together for the company, and contract to Gourmet Garden – producing herb pastes for consumers.
Organics came into the mix nine years ago.
Mr Stringer said planting and harvesting happened on a weekly basis, and at the moment each of the six local farmers are cutting about 15 tonnes per week to meet the contracts.
As with all industries – growing herbs comes with its own set of challenges.
“The weather is a challenge like it is for everyone, but we've got our systems pretty well sorted out now - but that's taken 20 years,” Mr Stringer said.
“Labour is a challenge - it's all machine harvested, it's all planted and cultivated on GPS, but we still have to hand weed where the row is.
“So there's about 5500 metres of bed in a hectare and there's four rows on a bed, so there's a lot of metres of weeding to be done.”
He said after they were flooded before Easter on the back of Tropical Cyclone Debbie, there was a “bit of a spanner in the works”, but eventually they did catch up to fill the contracts.
“It's all contracted, so we know what we have to supply and when at the start of the year,” he said.
Mr and Mrs Stringer met 11 years ago through a mutual friend, and have six children between them.
They also own an organic coffee shop in Biloela.