Leading Australian retailer, Country Road has launched a new initiative, with leading technology company Oritain that traces every cotton fibre from their Heritage Sweats back to an Australian farm.
The partnership is the first of its kind in the Australian retail landscape. Through the initiative, Country Road is encouraging support for Australian farmers as they continue to manage the worst drought on record.
Through the campaign, Country Road is looking to raise the profile of Australian-grown cotton and the farmers behind.
Country Road recently visited one of the farms from which they source cotton near Narrabri, in New South Wales to gain a better understanding the process of harvesting cotton.
Farm Manager Adam, said the farm currently employed about 18 people, all of whom were local and that the actual processing of cotton side of the business employed an additional 10 local people.
“For every job created here on the farm there’s a multiplier effect in town,” Adam said.
“The cotton farming process really begins at the end of the season that we’ve just had.
“We grow a rotation crop in between our summer crops. On conclusion of harvest of the previous cotton crop, we analyse all the data that’s come off a particular field.”
Australia is renowned for producing some of the highest quality agricultural goods in the world.
Adam said Australian cotton was unique in that farmers were able to maintain locally sourced products and crops.
“From very early on we’ve developed varieties that are specific to Australia’s production zones.
“We haven’t brought in varieties from other production countries, we’ve really specialised our breeding on a local level. That means we grow some of the world’s highest quality cotton with equally high yields.”
Recent researched commissioned by the National Farmers’ Federation found that 63% of Australians feel disconnected with rural Australia and agriculture.
“Social media has shrunk the world a lot, and people are accountable now,” Adam said.
“People want to know that food or fibre is being produced responsibly.
“We open our farms to anyone who’s interested – they see how we’re producing the crop, they see it’s done in an environmentally friendly and responsible way.
“We’re seeing improvements in our yields on soil that’s been cropped for the past 60-70 years; the fact that we’re seeing those year-on-year improvements means our soil health is improving.”