400 Acres has been certified organic for more than 15 years supplying Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia. Irrigating more than 400 acres in North East Victoria, Doug Fehring of 400 Acres runs an organic dairy operation which shares some of its acreage with a pair of young brothers running a free-range egg enterprise. The painted ‘wheeled henhouse’ engages the principles of sustainability by travelling in the wake of a grazing organic dairy herd. Each day the chooks feast on the grubs growing in the cow pats, scratching the soil and spreading their own brand of goodness on the pasture as they go.
Starting out as conventional farmers, the Fehring’s had developed a “more on” mentality until more on didn’t work any more! This drove the quest to find out more about soil biology and ecology, which led to the discovery of how biological farming could improve both soil health and the overall health of the farming ecosystem. Experimentation with organic agricultural techniques finally led to organic certification.
The Fehring’s have employed a young girl that loves cows and is enthusiastically learning how to work in conjunction with nature rather than trying to control nature across the four seasons. Under the Fehring’s guidance, this young farmhand is learning how to be proactive and resilient, circumventing potential future issues through good ecological management in the present.
400 Acres joined the Organic Dairy Farmers Cooperative while it was still in its infancy nearly 15 years ago. “Since joining we have continually received a premium over and above conventional milk price and have never had a step down in price.”
“I like the concept of a ORICoop and can see that there is a need for a better connection between the end user of organic products and the producers of the products.”
By Doug Fehring, Edited by Eva Perroni