BioGro No. 4669
Jersey Girl Organics was founded in 2014, but the Vosper family have been farming Jersey cows in Matamata for more than 100 years. Filling a unique market niche for premium certified organic, not only is the milk solely produced from Jersey cows, but the milk is also A2. Organic practice fitted the way Jersey Girls wanted to farm, as they have used this method since 2003 and achieved BioGro certification in 2006.
With 85 ha of land and 250 cows all with their own personal names - when compared to your modern dairy farm this can be viewed as quite small. Success comes with the Vospers creative approach to their business, with the aim of making it sustainable for the next generation.
As a family business involving three generations, we work together to produce high quality milk that we sell at farmers markets across 5 locations (Parnell, Grey Lynn, Hamilton, Cambridge and Tauranga). We are strong supporters of providing good quality local food and letting our customers connect with their producers by selling at these markets – meeting with our happy customers is always satisfying and it’s always beneficial to receive constructive criticism.
“We enjoy connecting with customers and talking about the benefits of good quality milk and organic farming”
We have been under organic management since 2003, which has been quite challenging at times and we learned a lot from local members of the ‘Organic Dairy and Pastoral Group’. Initially we used a lot of compost, worm castings and seaweed as a fertiliser, with compost now being our main fertiliser.
Animal health has also been a challenge, and we place much more emphasis on selecting bulls with traits suited to organic systems. Initially we used biodynamic preparations and homeopathy, but since son Michael took over we have mainly been using herbal remedies.
We are aware of the criticism placed around dairy farming and we continuously strive to create more sustainable methods of farming. Organic farming contributes to improved water quality, and we are always thinking of new ways to prevent polluting our water ways – we are currently planning to plant wetlands at the edge of the stream which is currently fenced off, this is to capture sediment and the phosphorus it carries before it makes its way into the river.
“When you grow the organic matter and biological activity in soil, soils soak up minerals and release them at a slower rate, resulting in less nutrient leaching into waterways”
We are still in the build-up stage of the business, and we haven’t yet reached the volume of sales necessary to break even – we do have our challenges but the best medicine is customer feedback at our farmers market, and based on this we know that our customers are very happy.
- Based on an article by Alice Bulmer, published in Organic NZ (Sept/Oct 2017), www.organicnz.org.nz