ORGANIC sheep farmers in WA are close to setting up a formal organisation for their industry that will consolidate supplies and work at establishing a market for their products.
About 25 South West farmers run certified organic and biodynamic sheep with an estimated total annual turn off of 5000 to 6000 head.
The move to create the sheep meat organisation comes after 15 South West beef producers who supply certified products to the domestic market formed an organic and biodynamic meat co-operative in October.
Agriculture Department organic food and farming development officer and WA Organic Growers Association executive officer Steven McCoy said it was difficult for individual farmers to establish markets.
“Producers are too busy being producers and often don’t have the time or expertise to develop their own market,” Mr McCoy said.
“It can be frustrating for these farmers that have put all the efforts into getting certification and producing organic and biodynamic animals, only to have to sell them into the conventional system.”
Mr McCoy said he had first focussed on creating the beef co-operative because there were several certified growers close to the Dardanup Butchery Company's abattoirs which could process organic and biodynamic cattle meats.
The co-operative allowed growers to collectively provide a sufficient volume and continuity of supplies to service the mainstream retail sector.
A co-ordinator had been employed to manage sales, administration, marketing and supply and Co-operatives WA had provided assistance to set up the system.