Reef certification an easy choice for mac grower

More than 50 growers in the queue for Hort360 Reef Certification

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NATURAL: MacField Farms managing director Henrik Christiansen says the decision to obtain Hort360 certification was a natural business progression.

NATURAL: MacField Farms managing director Henrik Christiansen says the decision to obtain Hort360 certification was a natural business progression.

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Hort360 Reef Certification is finding value among Queensland growers.

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THE rollout of Hort360 Reef Certification is trucking along with more than 55 growers now in the process to obtain the best practice and environmental badge.

Launched in August last year, Hort360 Reef Certification is a key component of the Hort360 Great Barrier Reef Best Management Practice program.

The program is funded through the Queensland government's Reef Water Quality Program and hopes to change the way growers manage soil, pesticides and nutrients impacting the reef's water quality.

Macadamia farm Fitzroy River Plantation is the most recent operation to receive reef certification with MacField Farms managing director Henrik Christiansen saying the decision to obtain certification was a natural business progression.

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"We're right on the Fitzroy River, and the river is a very important part of our operation. We wanted to make sure we are doing the best we could to not impact the reef going forward," he said.

"Reef certification is a starting point for our sustainability goals. We know there is going to be more regulation in the next few years and we wanted to make sure we were ahead of the curve."

"Through reef certification we've had a health check on where the farm is at and what we need to improve on to ensure best practice, while maintaining the reef."

The 330 hectare macadamia farm has direct frontage to the Fitzroy River and relies on the water system for irrigation.

Through the independently audited certification, Fitzroy River Plantation can now demonstrate they are meeting best practice standards and improving the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef.

CHECK: The MacField Farms team are one of three reef certified farms.

CHECK: The MacField Farms team are one of three reef certified farms.

Mr Christiansen said getting reef certification aligned with the business' values and their "system-based approach".

"We have a good system of record keeping and already have food safety accreditation, so reef certification adding a few things on top of our practice has been a simple process," he said.

"There is also the feel good environmental side to the regulation. A lot of the stuff we do isn't because of regulation, it's because it is the right way to farm."

Three growers including Mr Christiansen have been audited and received their reef certification and Hort360 manager Scott Wallace said there are now 55 growers going through the certification process.

"It's a good number, everyone is at different stages of the process with two or three growers ready to go to audit in the next couple of weeks," he said.

"Things are starting to pick up, our aim is to get 140 growers certified in the next 14 months.

Mr Wallace congratulated Mr Christiansen for going through the process and welcomed the industry stewardship.

"Stewardship is our main aim, growers like Henrik show that they want to better demonstrate sustainability and best practice," he said.

"We can slowly see others influenced by examples like MacField Farms, demonstrating industry stewardship."

Hort360 has online resources for growers to assist them managing risks and threats at www.hort360.com.au

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The story Reef certification an easy choice for mac grower first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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