Tribute to Organic Pioneer: Ian Sloan
Ian Sloan was a trailblazer and pioneer of organics in New Zealand. He sadly passed away recently and we would like to pay tribute to Ian for his contributions to organics and his achievements throughout his life.
Ian began managing his farm organically in 1972, before any certification agencies or standards had been set up in New Zealand.
Ian and Jenny became BioGro certified in 1989, one of the first farms in the Southland region to do so. Undeniably they were very much 'before their time.'
Ian has made huge and numerous contributions to New Zealand’s organics sector. He spearheaded advisory boards and discussion groups and was instrumental in setting up the Southern Biological Producers and Consumers Society.
He was one of several experienced pastoral farmers that volunteered to be mentors in the Rural Mentor Programme. Both organic and conventional farmers learnt from Ian’s many experiences. He was always very giving of his skills and knowledge to farm workers and owners looking to transition into organics.
The Sloan’s have been living and breathing organics for almost 40 years. For Ian, although organic dairy farmers do not gain a premium for their supplies, the benefits of organics are still significant especially when it comes to human health, animal welfare and looking after the land for the next generation. The early pioneers of organics certainly weren’t in it for the dollar signs.
Ian always felt strongly that animal welfare is at the heart of the organic farming system. He worked closely alongside BioGro’s former CEO Mark Levick to write and develop our Livestock Production Standard, which is still proudly used by organic farmers throughout the country today.