INSPIRATION can spring from life’s darkest corners and Matt Carter’s came in a hospital emergency department.
The year was 2003 and the father of four was in the trenches fighting a mystery illness – gnawing fatigue, a barrage of nosebleeds and a rash that stretched from head to toe.
It was after his third visit to hospital – and yet another failed diagnosis – that Mr Carter decided to look beyond traditional medicine.
On the advice of a friend, he visited a naturopath and was subjected to an intense detox and a series of tests. The results were shocking – Mr Carter’s own farm was making him sick.
“I was overloaded with chemicals,” the fourth-generation farmer said.
“It had got to the point where my liver couldn’t handle the amount of chemicals so my body was trying to flush them out through my skin.”
Mr Carter, who runs a 6800-acre beef and lamb farm west of Manilla, was left with an agonising decision, sell the property his great-grandfather established a century ago or become a chemical-free farmer.
“I thought I had to give organic farming a go before I sold up. It was tough; I thought organic farming was bit boutique and yuppie,” he said.
What followed was a dramatic transformation of his farm business and his life.
“I had to change the way I managed everything,” he said.
“Instead of relying on chemicals to keep the animals healthy, I had to look at licks, minerals, grazing management and other homeopathic options.”
Now in his fifth year as a certified organic farmer, Mr Carter speaks about chemical-free farming with a convert’s zeal. His meat is sold online and shipped all over the state and his passion for organic meat saw him bag last year’s Australian Livestock Producer of the Year award.
“We believe we have some of the healthiest beef and lamb in Australia,” Mr Carter said.
His cattle is 100 per cent grass fed and he uses only spring and rain water.
Mr Carter will showcase his meat at a stall during the Tamworth Taste Festival, which starts next week.
He will be selling beef and lamb packages at Taste in the Park on April 6 at Bicentennial Park and will also run a continuous barbecue.