Australian farmers have hit pay dirt in a new contract to be signed with a major cosmetic chain to collect the top 2 inches of top soil of over 10,000 acres to support a new cosmetic range.
While vast areas of Queensland and New South Wales are being stressed by the ongoing drought, this new contract has the potential to replace gas exploration as an additional income source for many farmers.
According to Eric Crosby, head of supply for the new joint venture Real Earth, “we have enough raw materials to meet Australian and overseas demand with just our first supply agreements. We’ll be looking to add additional landowners in the next few months to the supply register once the first products complete final approvals. Our soils are rich in minerals and we have an abundance of soil so instead of it blowing away or drying up, we can now get a return on an item we don’t need to spend a great deal on to develop.”
The new joint venture between farmers and a Swiss cosmetics giant will have its headquarters in Brisbane. The venture is hopeful of receiving an innovation grant of $500,000 and will employ 100 people when the plant is fully operational. The joint venture also hopes to win an upcoming tender to supply the Queensland government with cosmetics for hospitals and government offices as part of the Buy Queensland first policy.
Kent Morris a farmer from Mitchell in western Queensland is excited about the potential. “Alternative sources of income are a must for farmers these days and if we can utilise our land in other ways without affecting water tables and vegetation then it’s surely a winner. My 72 year old mother and I have been looking at affordable ways to diversify and we believe this could save many farmers in the current climate. It just could be our last hope.”
As the dawn breaks on another day, Eric and Kent wake up on their respective properties to the reality that the sun will rise, cattle still need to be fed and fences repaired amongst other things, their two inches of topsoil aren’t going anywhere anytime soon except blown away if a howler comes along. But they continue to dream of better times.
The reality for thousands of farmers and their communities is that drought and the dairy crisis continue to have effect and our farmers will take years to recover if ever. This Christmas, show your support of our farmers through the Rural Aid Christmas appeal. Donate, Buy a hamper for a farmer, or register to volunteer for a Farm Rescue trip, donate to our Farm Rescue project providing a bedroom for farmers son in Victoria.