We believe organic farming is about achieving harmony with the environment. Peter Randall started organic farming in 1989 on his farm in Murrami, NSW (Located between from Griffith and Leeton).
Peter whilst still working with his father Tom Randall, he minimised chemical use in the years up to certification. Both father and son developed a disliked for using harmful chemicals in farming because of the health problems caused by them.
The Rice Industry
Leeton is located in the Murrumbidgee irrigation area (MIA); the main rice producing area in Australia. The region produced close to 1.3 million tonnes in 2013 the largest amount in it's history. But due to the high amounts of chemical pesticides and insecticides used for conventional rice farming and other crops, some of the residents are worried about the high numbers of people dying of cancer.
Peter lost a close friend to lymphoma at age 18, and has lost many friends to cancer since, fuelling his concern for the health of his young family. Peter had heard about organic farming and agreed with its philosophy and became certified, well ahead of the current trend.
Over the years Peter has been doing things differently and has observed the improved ecology between his and conventionally grown crops. Ancient looking crustaceans, fish and birds all grow and thrive in organically farmed rice, as it provides habitat for native animals making it a more ecologically powerful use of the water from the Murrumbidgee River.
Peter's next dream was to sell his own organic rice. But this was not legal under Australian rice marketing law; the NSW rice marketing board controlled all rice grown in NSW. Peter could have had his rice confiscated if he attempted to sell his produce at the price he wanted and to whom he wanted. He did receive a small premium on his rice but well below what he believed the market would pay. This slowed the Randall’s farm progress.
The Millennium Drought
Then the drought hit. Beginning around 2001 rain levels over the catchment and the Murrumbidgee irrigation area itself dropped to record low levels for 10 years. Peter only planted one organic rice crop during this 10 year period "the millennium drought", the family survived on raising and selling dorper lambs and doing some work off the farm.
The irrigation system kept water in the Murrumbidgee River unlike the previous bad drought in which the Murrumbidgee dried up. It provided water for pastures to feed livestock, other crops and some rice was grown in the area.
The return of the unpredictable weather
Just after the youngest son of the Randall family moved away to study, clouds began to form and the drought broke in 2011!
The area came alive again and rice farming is flourishing. Also NSW government abolished the domestic marketing law, freeing farmers to sell their rice within Australia after obtaining a licence. This was our chance to get a head and make a difference.
Since 2011 the MIA has experienced very wet years in 2012 and 2016 and 2020 has been a great year for rainfall!
It had been over 20 years since Peter began dreaming of starting his own rice enterprise. Finally, Randall Organic Rice was launched. Financial conditions were still dubious; a small mill was built with the first bag being sold in mid-2011, 22 years after becoming organic.
We are very thankful we have been able to be recognised by our local community as sustainability leaders, and achieve dozens of great rice and oat crops over the years. We are also very thankful for our state and national Delicious "From the earth" produce awards.
Our other goals include; recruiting new farm managers, expanding the upgrade to our milling facility, a straw bale construction, and incorporating more renewable energy and permaculture systems. A creating a place for a relaxation, for those who have not had a holiday in a long time.
Randall Organic is now in a transition phase.
See more information on our next chapter here.
Thank you for visiting our website and we are truly grateful for our wonderful customers. We love to hear from you and share the same values of wholesome natural food and environmental responsibility.
Updated: 31st March 2021