Honest farming

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Honest Farming Principles

Extensive Farming

Extensive farming is about using as much of the natural assets as possible in the farming process. By using more of the natural assets, Extensive Farming reduces the need for artificial intervention and over farming of the land.

Fertile Plains

Forbes, a rich land bank of fertile farming plains, provides the perfect setting to practice Extensive Farming. The practice of Extensive Farming involves leaving pastures fallow to rejuvenate the soil. It allows a farmer to run a minimum number of animals on the land freeing animals to be grass fed, free range and comfortable.

The fertile soils and abundant pastures mean that while Forbes Honest Farms are extensive, they are also highly productive. At settlement for Forbes the average size of a farm was much smaller than today. The significant increase in size of farms not only allows Extensive Farming but also brings economies of scale and economic sustainability to Honest Farming.

Low intervention

Honest Farming uses a lot less chemicals than more intensive farming. The affordability of land means Australian farmers do not need to work the farm as much as their European colleagues allowing them to use nature to restore and rejuvenate the land back into a fertile and productive condition.

Natural Management methods

By using natural management methods farmers can successfully use little to no chemicals on their produce. Farmers practicing Honest Farming identify and record an inventory of all potential pollutant materials on the farm to safely store and handle farming materials and manage their risk to the environment. Honest Farmers are aware of the potential pollutants to the water and soil and work within a set of safe guidelines to maintain the purity and integrity of the food.

Honest Farmers are committed to a light use of chemicals and turn to nature first to keep the farm's ecosystem healthy and pristine. Honest Farmers work together to reduce the amount of chemical required. A Forbes grape grower uses her neighbour's sheep to eat the weeds from the ground rather than chemical intervention. Stock routes are regularly used to supplement feed in drought times allowing the land to replenish itself.

Natural wheat farming

Wheat farmers use pesticides sparingly, if at all. Wheat farmers know that pesticides can kill the good bugs which benefit the farm. Good bugs are the Honest Farmer's friend. Good bugs not only eat the bad bugs but they break down the stubble in the ground. The natural degeneration of stubble by the good bugs requires less mechanical and chemical intervention.

It is only in those rare instances when the bad bugs outnumber the good bugs would the Honest Famer need to use a pesticide. Wheat farmers have chosen a chemical called Glysophate, a safe herbicide, to keep their soils weed free. Wheat farmers use Glysophate in quantities which research has shown is not harmful to people or the environment.

Less chemicals than overseas fruit producers

Forbes Honest Farmers use at least half the amount of chemicals of overseas fruit growers. Despite Australia's high standards overseas farmers are not always compliant with our standards. Australia's current levels of inspections of imported fruit and vegetables allows the majority of imported fruits and vegetables into Australia unchecked. This means the fruit from Forbes Honest Farmers is the best choice for clean, affordable nutrition for Australian families.

Peach farmers of Forbes work in a close partnership with nature. To keep Forbes peaches free from fruit fly Forbes Peach farmers spray them with carbon dioxide, a natural part of the air we breathe, leaving the peaches pest and toxin free. Wool farmers are Honest Farmers. Wool is a pure, environmentally friendly fibre, naturally grown with no chemical elements in the manufacturing process. The pure natural wool of Forbes is spun into comfortable, 100% Australian pure merino garments by local Forbes manufacturer, Woolerina.

Environmental purity

Clean air, water conservation, water quality and water management are key to the environmental purity of the Lachlan Valley, the home of Forbes Honest Farming. 30 metre deep alluvial flood plains, the rich red and black soils, the absence of environmentally damaging industries place Forbes in the top five percent of the world's most environmentally pure farming land.

Back soils come from the flood plains of the Lachlan River. The black colour is derived from the breakdown of organic matter such as weeds, native grasses, bush and trees. Red soils are formed from the erosion of iron rich rock. The highly fertile properties of red soil mean that, despite often arid conditions, the red soil is capable of sustaining large cattle farms. The salt bush of the red soils is a super food for cattle helping them grow strong and healthy. The great Red Kangaroo, the giant of Kangaroos reaching over two metres tall, co habits with cattle on the red soil farms of Forbes.

The Forbes rainfall is untainted by industry pollutants falling in a pristine state on Forbes Honest Farms. Honest Farmers capture the rainwaters of Forbes in tanks and dams for use at home and on the farm. The huge open skies of Forbes are the perfect venue for cloud gazers. In Forbes horizons are so big visitors can watch a storm cloud travel across the sky, raining on one farm and missing another.

Catch & Release Murray Cod

Nutritious Farming

Certain farming practices contribute to better health and well-being outcomes. The low level of pollutants and chemicals in the farming practices means purer food. The fertility of the soil and quality of feed and fertilisers also make a significant contribution to the nutritional value of the food. The local produce from Forbes Honest Farms offer Australian families the very best of affordable nutrition. The principles of Honest Farming balance nutrition, environmental integrity and economic outcomes.


Innovation is an ongoing process in Honest Farming and every year the levels of productivity reach new highs. To stay in production as a farmer, innovation must be an everyday farming practice. Farmers are constantly experimenting with configurations of their farms by altering the time and spacing on machines or by trying different rows. Farmers take the time to learn from each other. Those who do not innovate soon find they are not able to compete and leave the land.

Sustainable Farming

Honest Farmers work within a set of sustainability guidelines to ensure the productivity and natural integrity of the land abounds for generations to come. Honest Farmers see themselves as guardians of the local environment and ecosystems. Wherever possible they seek to maintain and regenerate the natural environment linking the health of their farm to that of the purity of the land.

The Honest Farmer sustainability guidelines cover soil and water management practices and the management of climatic extremes such as flood, frost, heat wave and drought. The sustainability guidelines also incorporate natural disease management to keep local produce disease free. Producers and many wool graziers have switched to the more lucrative fat lamb market. Those Honest Farmers who have chosen to remain wool graziers in Forbes have taken a long term view believing, beyond the current market fluctuations, wool will return to better prices as consumer tastes for natural products increases year on year.

Water Management

The Lachlan Valley surrounding Forbes is a green oasis lying on the fringes of outback NSW. The people of Forbes call the Lachlan River its lifeblood, cherishing its contribution to the green abundant beauty of the Lachlan Valley and the economic livelihood of the Forbes farming community.

The cycle of droughts have given Forbes people a great reverence for water. From this reverence has grown a world leading mastery in water management. Honest Farmers are always on an unrelenting search for new ways to utilize the precious resource. The constant research into breakthroughs in water management have continued to lift Forbes to new highs of productivity.

Dams use spring water which draw from the Great Artesian Basin or rain water which fills dams in the wetter months. Dam water is used for cattle and sheep and Forbes Honest Farmers will typically have more than one dam on their property.

Farmers in Forbes have harnessed the flow of water to recycle it for multiple use.   Channels are used to carry the water around the farm. The use of water changes with each farm type. In orchards they will use spray farming to keep fruit trees moist and healthy while wheat farmers use it for controlled irrigation.

Animal Welfare

Forbes farmers are reputed for their world class practices in animal welfare. Forbes Honest Farmers excellence in animal health and husbandry practices minimize the health risk and trauma to the animals in their care. The Forbes Central West Livestock Exchange, the largest in the southern hemisphere was built on the highest principles of animal welfare. The non bruise paneling and soft flooring in the pens has been chosen to deliver minimal stress on the cattle. Animal welfare ultimately impacts on the quality of the meat-minimal stress from good animal welfare creates tender meat. When you buy meat from Honest Farmers using the Forbes Central West Livestock Exchange, you will be buying free range meat that has been raised based on respect for the animals needs for comfort, nourishment and safety.