Innovative NSW producers have been highlighted in the annual NAB Agribusiness calendar.
The selected farmers were chosen for having achieved extraordinary growth and results in their agribusinesses.
NSW producers highlighted in the calendar include:
Ross and Dimity Thompson, Millah Murrah Angus
Meticulous genetic research and an encyclopaedic knowledge of his herd have seen second-generation cattle farmer Ross Thompson transform his family farm on the NSW Central Tablelands into one of Australia’s premier Angus studs.
Millah Murrah produces 400 registered calves and 300 embryos each year and its genetics are used globally, from New Zealand to Europe and South America. The stud has set a slew of records in the past decade, including raising the Angus breed average bull sale price five times. It has also raised the average cow sale price for any beef breed twice, as well as selling the highest priced Angus bull and the highest priced female of any breed in October 2017.
With ‘front-pen-quality bulls in the back pen’ as his mantra, Thompson focuses on ‘visioning and blending’ individual animals – setting eyes on animals personally before he mates them to create the ideal phenotype, or overall physical appearance. It’s an objective that sees him regularly travelling throughout Australia, New Zealand and the US, where he can see potential new sires for his breeding program in situ, and ultimately create the ideal Angus phenotype – ‘an animal with more length, depth and width than most’.
Furniture maker and Portuguese immigrant Armenio Bento began breeding game from an aviary in his Bondi Junction backyard in 1973 as a hobby.
After a devastating fire that destroyed his entire furniture warehouse, he decided to build his game hobby into big business and by 1986 Bento had created Australia’s first fully automated game bird processing plant.
It was a gamble that paid off: Game Farm has grown into one of the southern hemisphere’s biggest game bird producers. Now, with Bento’s son-in-law Scott Evans as CEO, the company’s biggest innovation has been travelling the world to build a global alliance through which members share best practice to create global benchmarks, improving efficiency and quality.
In 2019, Game Farm will launch a state-of-the art production facility in Mandalong, NSW, boosting growth through technology that aims to improve hatchability by up to 20 per cent.
Brett Kelly, Oz Group Co-Op
When Coffs Harbour farmers gave up on bananas en masse, some left the land while others took a chance on blueberries. These family farmers established Oz Group Co-op for efficient processing and packaging of their exotic crop.
Today, the Oz Group juggernaut is intent on supplying Australia, and soon Asia, with consistently priced fresh berries all year round. By coming together, Oz Group’s members have made sure they have the capacity and quality to supply large supermarket contracts, build stateof- the-art packing facilities and form alliances with international players to ensure the latest genetics (and world-class logistics) are available to them.
It’s all paying off, and with turnover growing to $130 million, it’s not bad for a group of ‘mum and- dad’ farmers.
Ed Fagan, Mulyan
While salad crops were a good fit for the Mulyan farming company, there was a definite downside; salad crops tend to be the most expensive to grow and you can’t delay picking to get a better price. Mulyan Company Director Ed Fagan knew he had to find a way to sell everything he grew.
Looking for something that could use up all the out-of-spec cucumbers and beetroot, Fagan installed a processing facility and started producing beetroot relish for Three Threes condiment company. For his cucumbers, he struck a deal to be the US-based McClure’s pickle manufacturer for Australasia. Fagan has also convinced McClure’s to stock his pickled beetroot and jalapenos and he hopes to be introducing the delights of beetroot-on-a burger to the US in the not too distant future.