We believe there is a need to develop a multispecies export abattoir, which will significantly increase economic potential of the region. For farmers the benefit is obvious. The leverage benefit to the region is profound.
Currently the nearest
abattoir is Moruya in NSW or Orbost in Vic, neither of which are export ready. Teys and Swifts are licenced export processors but are located in Wagga Wagga and Melbourne, both a considerable distance from Canberra. Both are working at capacity.
There is a three month waiting list. They will only accept large consignments. In a sentence. It is a complicated process. The biggest problem with long haul transportation of live animals is the negative impact of stress hormones on meat quality.
As a region, we are looking down the barrel of unprecedented opportunity. The Australian brand is highly trusted in Asia. In the very near future the Asian middleclass will number 600million. People with money to spend. People with an
insatiable appetite for among other things, animal protein. Canberra is now an international airport thus opening our region not only to international tourism but also the opportunity to export our grass fed clean green locally grown beef, lamb, pork, goat
We have the resource and a ready market. Without an abattoir we have no product.
We will remain observers who will sit on the sidelines and watch opportunity pass us by.
My problem is that I am a farmer.
I don’t know how to write a proper business plan, negotiate a deal, raise funds, or indeed build and operate something as complex as an abattoir. I know how to regenerate soil, grow nutrient dense biodiverse pastures without the aid of any fertilizers
or pesticides. Pastures located in our pristine unspoilt environment that can turnoff grass fed beef cattle of the very best quality.
The Bega Valley Shire is being exposed to significant market forces that are game changers. It would be
wise for all players to work together because there is enormous synergy in doing so. There is an absolute need to develop a Bega “Love Brand”.
From our perspective as beef producers, the expected influx of international tourists
will be people with money to spend and an insatiable appetite for animal protein. It makes sense that we do all we can to develop a branded Bega Protein. Served right beside the Bega Cheese, local wine, veggies, oysters and other local delights. “Love”
is an emotion of the heart. We must always remember that “the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach”
Having tasted our unique brand here they will seek it out again back home in Asia. It would be very wise for us to make
Up until now it has been left to we farmers to pursue this objective. It’s as if farmers would be the only beneficiaries. At a practical level, if those driving this economic revival think farmers are clamouring to have their
beef exported, just know that they are not. For them it is just another good idea. After 30 years of dashed hopes, dreadful saleyard prices and extreme economic hardship, they are currently just grateful for the recent improvement at the farm gate.
The last thing on the mind of the average Cocky is a desire to build and perhaps run an abattoir. Farmers are worn out. The average age is 58yrs. They are thinking about retiring or maybe taking a holiday. There are no youngsters returning to work the land,
because they can’t make a living.
Those commissioned to develop our region economically should be falling over themselves to provide not only the burgeoning tourism market with our own Bega “Love Brand” of beef, lamb, pork
and chicken, they should put in place systems that allow for wide distribution of our produce.
A local abattoir has so much to offer us in our quest to drive our community economic growth incentive.
King Island recently
commissioned a small abattoir. 35,000 carcass capacity per year. From what I read it cost around $30million to build and create 100 new jobs.
28 April 2017
Since starting this post on building an export abattoir, much
has happened. Clearly government has come to appreciate the economic importance of agriculture to GDP and the significance of exporting our clean green grass fed beef. I serve on a committee known as The Farmers Network. We have been approached by government
who are providing funding and professional help to draw up a feasibility study designed to develop a local farmers co-op. The reason for this is to make it possible to put in an application for $1million grant to build a micro abattoir, coolroom and deboning
facility. A micro abattoir will process about 2000 carcasses and generate around $6million each year. it will also provide 20 new jobs. This is the stepping stone to begin the process of developing our own "Bega Love Brand" and testing our model in the
domestic market. It will also give a big boost to local beef producers by paying a premium to those who contribute their animals.
Step Two will be to progress to export status. By then we will have gained some experience in the meat processing business.
We are also examining the feasibility of using the deep water Port of Eden. The Port of Eden is a local harbour that is very underutilized. It has the potential to ship chilled and frozen meat into Asia.
THE LESSON IN THIS IS TO DREAM BIG AND
WORK HARD. IN WINSTON CHURCHILL'S WORDS: "NEVER EVER GIVE UP".