In a win for common-sense, Queensland farmers now have clear right to create composts and other organic products on their own farms.
After a three-year review of the regulated waste classification and the waste-related Environmentally Relevant Activity frameworks, the Department of Environment and Science has finally amended legislation to allow farmers to legally manufacture organic composts on-farms.
The decision follows continued advocacy by the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF), of which Growcom is a member, on behalf of peak state and national agriculture industry organisations.
While most growers may not have even realised they were potentially breaking the law with something as beneficial as composting (if producing more than 200 tonnes per year), it took significant effort from QFF to get this issue resolved after a Growcom member was threatened with a fine for composting without an Environmental Authority from the state government.
The horticulture industry recognises the need to improve soil structure and supply organic nutrients to grow a healthy crop. For years farmers have been amending their soils and improving soil quality through the application of their own manufactured quality compost products. However, the sector has never had a clear exemption for the manufacture of these composts on-farm until now.
Composts and organic products can help farmers to meet sustainability outcomes associated with best management practice. They help to build natural soil fertility which can lead to a reduction in the use of inorganic fertilisers. They are a win-win for farmers and the environment, reducing input costs and minimising the use of chemicals.
Because of this, Growcom welcomes the new farm compost exemption as the obvious answer to what is a common-sense activity.
In particular, we thank QFF for leading the charge in advocacy to amend the legislation so farmers can legally manufacture compost for use on their own farms.