Norco is celebrating its 125th anniversary and in this final story of our three-part series we meet Chris and Ann Eggert who are part of the Norco "family".
A decision taken two decades ago to convert the Eggert farming practices at Redbank to organic was more evolution than revolution.
Chris and wife Ann - along with their three children Lachie, Jimmy and Billy- are the latest in the long line of Eggerts involved in dairying around the Wauchope area.
Chris's parents Paul and Jenny are still very active and keen participants in the day to day farm tasks.
Their lineage can be traced to the first European woman to live in Wauchope - Granny Eggert - while Chris's grandfather the legendary Jack was a guiding hand for the industry for many years.
Paul was also heavily involved within the local industry, following Jack onto the board of the Hastings Co-operative Ltd.
Around 2000, the Co-op decided to encourage dairy farmers to embrace organics with Chris and Ann among the first to test the water.
But it wasn't a simple or easy process, according to Chris.
"It was pretty hard - really difficult for the first three years," he said.
"And that's what a of people say to you: it's too hard.
"But I liken to playing sport. You don't just turn up and play first grade footy. You have to train and be committed to playing.
"We've been certified organic since then and haven't looked back."
Their decision was further tested when the Co-op moved out of milk production, leaving the couple unsure about the future.
But Norco purchased the organic brand of the business and Chris and Ann moved with them. That was about 15 years ago and they haven't looked back.
"I know everyone is different in how they manage their farms.
"However, Norco is now wanting more farmers to get involved in organic farming, so there must be a realisation that this is a bloody great way to farm.
"It is hard to change from traditional farming methods to organics - to change those thought processes. But if anyone is interested they should go for it.
"It has been great for our family.
"When we were first talking about it it did test the boundaries within the family, particularly from a generational perspective.
"Now everyone is onboard.
"I think our children can see the opportunities available to them. They know that this is not necessarily about making a big profit and it is more about doing some good for the planet.
"I'd like to see the children take on the farm. But I don't think I need to pass on anything to them because they already understand what we are doing."
Being a farmer means you are in control of your destiny, says Chris.
"I am really fortunate. I don't want to compare dairy farming to other jobs but I just think farming is so good.
"We have worked really hard but it is worth it.
"I believe that the public is getting more aware of what they are eating. They are looking for a change.
"I don't hammer anyone about eating organics or not; people need to get the knowledge themselves," he said.
"We are pretty passionate about what we are doing."
Chris says Norco has made a point of promoting its organic milk and is now encouraging more farmers to consider the transition.
He says there is more information available for farmers now to change direction for their farms.
"Norco provides support for farmers with human resource support and expertise," he said.
"They have also handled the drought and the cheap milk campaign and lower pricing really well.
"We are just bloody lucky to have them here on the coast.
The strong ties Chris feels for the industry is also helping push ahead for better on-farm practices and discovering innovative ways to farm more efficiently and effectively.
This has been aided by the family's history of dairying.
"As a family we've done all the different types of farming and I've been lucky to have grown up on this farm within the industry," he said.
"I think as I get older I tend to appreciate that a bit more.
"Where we live - the area we live in - we are very fortunate and that motivates me to look after the landscape and look after the pastures for future generations.
"We need less of a focus on high production and more emphasis on sustainable production and quality production.
"It is our aim to provide healthy produce for people (as consumers) and at the same time preserving the quality of our landscape.
"Where it starts for me is where we are standing right now - in the middle of a paddock. We have to look after it microbe by microbe, worm by worm - that's what it is really about," he said.
"If we look after these soils, our river systems are going to be better, our air quality is going to be better and our health is going to be better."
He says farming is not about driving big tractors around your farm and digging up things all day; it's about understanding the rest periods for pastures and using animals to improve pastures.
The Eggerts are now producing their own fertiliser compost, which is regularly spread over their pastures.
Another practice involves the creation of mobile pig and chicken rearing and production pens. These are shifted every day.
There are three egg laying pens with several food production pens.
Chris describes the pens as low cost infrastructure that is portable.
Because the pens are moved daily they are getting an even spread of use and rest periods.
"Once we move the pens, the grasses regenerate pretty quickly," Chris says. "And they are fertilising the ground as we go.
"It is more labor intensive but we think it is worth the time and effort."
The other aspect of these mobile production pens is that there is no smell - not even with their on-farm produced fertiliser compost.
The Eggerts farm around 250 to 300 acres of prime land on the riverflats on the north side of the Hastings River opposite Wauchope.
They currently have around 200 cows but ideally would like to increase that to around 240 head.
Reducing their stock load was another way the couple decided to handle the recent drought period.
"We decided to offload some stock so as not to over-graze our pastures," Chris said.
"Our plan - which worked - was to try and keep enough ground cover so that when it rained - and eventually it did - that rainfall wouldn't simply run off. It would soak into the soil.
"We will slowly bring our stock numbers back up at an appropriate time in the future."
Chris says the family's farming philosophy is to not push for high production. They accept that this means a slower growing rate but the final product is always better.
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