Director, Kalfresh Pty Ltd - KALBAR QLD
Rob Hinrichsen’s family have been farming in the Kalbar district for more than 30 years, growing a mix of vegetables through their venture Kalfresh. Rob’s motto is “to keep farmers farming” and through his passion for soil health and sustainability, Rob has earned himself a worthy nomination in the Sustainability category.
When Rob started out in the industry, the fruit and vegetable industries were experiencing intense consolidation. This experience and a recognition that if their small family farm was going to survive, prosper and remain sustainable, Rob and his father, Barry, needed to form Kalfresh – a co-operative of local growers, growing, packing and marketing produce under a single brand.
This uniting of smaller family farms afforded the Kalfresh business an economy of scale allowing them to invest in technology in the paddock and in the packing shed that would allow them to become not just more productive, but produce better products and allow them to expand their markets, domestically and overseas.
While the success of Kalfresh is due in no small part to an innovative, strategic vision and a strong business and marketing focus, its future and sustainability is built on a foundation of good agronomy, specifically soil health – a subject Rob is very passionate about.
Over the past decade Rob has researched and travelled extensively to better understand his soils, as well as exploring practices and techniques to improve soil health and productivity. He has applied his learnings directly on farm through four main practices including introducing controlled traffic; composting; cover crops; and using biologicals to manage soil health and diseases.
Rob’s passion for soil health and sustainability saw him invited as a keynote speaker at the AusVeg Horticulture Conference 2016, where he later went on to be awarded the 2016 Grower of the Year.