Bio-Integrity Growers Australia are a family owned & directed farming company with a holistic focus on restoring plant and animal ecosystems, producing premium food and optimising human health. We are working to develop a greater awareness of ethical, sustainable farming practices by educating growers and consumers about the benefits of food produced through biological means. We also provide strategic partnerships and education for farmers interested in converting from conventional to sustainable farming practices. For more information about our Bio-Integrity Growers Australia please watch our video!
When I was a boy growing up on a farm, I spent a lot of time with my grandfather, while my father and mother worked. We spent countless hours walking through the fields and up into the hills and woods, looking for life in the trees, under rocks, in the soil and anywhere we could find it. Exploring and enjoying all that nature had to offer. As I grew up this always stayed with me. He passed away and I went to school then onto university, to be educated in these things I so much loved as a boy.
However upon leaving university as a man, I was concerned even daunted at the proposition of implementing an industrial type approach heavily reliant on toxic chemicals and synthetic fertilisers, upon the land that I loved so much and was full of so much life. For years I had been taught that this was the best way to be a good farmer.
I just had this gut feeling deep down inside me that to do this was not the best way, but that there was a better way. So I followed my intuition and learnt to respect life, the environment, and to listen to its subtle signs to know exactly what it needs. These things I was never taught at school or university but then, as time went by I began to find different teachers. Teachers who knew about the way landscapes function and the importance of its connection to life. So then My “REAL” educational journey began.
Now I’m married and with a family of my own. I have learnt a lot about lifecycles and landscapes and it’s my turn to apply this knowledge and give it to those that are interested. Producers and consumers alike. For the hope of setting the foundations of a better future for all, for generations to come. And most importantly for our planet earth.
Ian and Di Haggerty
Whilst coming from long family backgrounds of farmers neither Ian nor Di were fortunate enough to inherit a farm and purchased their own 660ha of land in 1994 next door to Di’s parents. It was in the years immediately prior to purchasing their farm whilst owning and operating a roadhouse in the Kimberley of WA that Ian and Di were exposed to some interesting ideas on land management through their contact and friendship with Robyn Tredwell of Birdwood Downs Station (Robyn was the 1995 ABC Rural woman of the year). Her views on using livestock as tools to “Feed, Seed and Weed” the land, along with knowledge supported by information and guidance from Jane Hinge penetrated deeply into Ian and Di’s psyche even though not involved with a rural enterprise at the time.
Purchasing a farm took all the young couple’s capital reserves so for the first few years they share-farmed their land with Di’s father and worked in return for use of machinery to grow their crops.
Whilst successfully farming conventionally in the 1990’s and slowly beginning to piece together a working plant, it didn’t take long for them to realize that moisture in the soil was king for profitability and that hanging onto that moisture was critical to make a viable crop out of a poor spring. This fact along with a questioning mind and noticing that there were discrepancies between their soil test and tissue test results, sparked a drive for real answers. Observing increased risk margins with increasing input costs and unreliable seasons, they knew it was change that was needed.
Ian and Di then embarked on learning how to improve soil health in the cropping program. Dr Elaine Ingham’s message of the miracle work of soil microbiological communities in providing optimum balanced nutrition to plants and prevention of disease and insect attack through soil health resonated with Ian and Di.
In 2009 and 2010 Ian and Di were privileged to be introduced to Dr Christine Jones and Dr Maarten Stapper who had considerable knowledge on working soil health principles into Australian agricultural environments. Dr Jones’ “liquid carbon pathway” answered many questions of what was happening within the soil to improve its friability and moisture holding capacity. This was confirmed with deep soil carbon testing in 2012 that confirmed observations with numbers. It was this knowledge along with an interest in utilizing livestock better to “feed, seed and weed” that first triggered Ian and Di to embark on what has become a life-long passion to farm, hand-in-hand with natural processes as best possible, whilst maintaining a profitable farm business and improving natural capital.
Arden Andersen’s message of the direct link between soil health and human health outcomes rang alarm bells to Dianne as an Occupational therapist practising Early Intervention Paediatric and Aged Care Occupational therapy as the preventative model of health care was firmly entrenched. This was the beginning of an intense learning curve where Ian and Di pursued the knowledge of many other international and national scientists, leaders in the field of soil health and in particular its relationship to animal, human and environmental/global health.
Bio-Integrity Growers Australia are award winning farmers. In 2010 Ian and Di Haggerty were the recipients for the A&K Hill Green Agriculture Innovation Award, an award founded by Dr Christine Jones that recognises outstanding leadership in the adoption of farming practices that build carbon-rich top soils, foster secure and resilient agricultural production and improve food quality.
In 2012 the Haggerty’s also received the National Carbon Cocky Award for Industry Development awarded in Dubbo, New South Wales by Carbon Farmers of Australia.
In 2015 the Haggerty’s received an inaugural Soil Restoration Leadership award, presented in Dongara, Western Australia by award patron Rhonda Willson.