It’s a project that has been on the cards for a while and now it’s gaining some traction.
Gloucester dairy farmer, Graham Forbes is looking to build a brand new dairy, a project this region hasn’t seen in a many years.
A financial boost from the AGL Gloucester Independent Community Legacy Fund has allowed him to put the wheels in motion and start construction a littler sooner.
“It’s been a long term project and the AGL funding was certainly an incentive,” Graham said.
He explained how the overall project will cost around 1.5 million dollars and that the legacy funds provided are proportional to the number of jobs the project will create.
The Kywong Flat Dairy Project is aiming to create five full time, long term jobs; one specialist position with dairying experience and four entry level positions which may suit school leavers or school-based trainees transitioning into employment.
Graham’s son, Adam said the existing dairy supports school-based trainees, as well as, a TAFE student working toward a Certificate III in Agricultural, with a TAFE teacher visiting regularly; this project has scope to possibility increase this capacity. It will also provide for some temporary positions to transition into full time employment and the opportunity for further development of staff.
“The ability to develop our staff will help keep people in Gloucester, instead of them having to leave town to progress,” Adam said.
Graham said there were around 400 diary farms in the Gloucester region in the 1960s compared to around 15 now.
He explained how things are continually changing in the industry and sometimes farmers have to grow bigger to keep productive.
“When I returned to the family farm after university in the 1980s, we had 60 cows,” he said.
“Now we have around 800 and the milk production has doubled.”
“The existing dairy is over capacity and isn’t working efficiently,” Adam explained.
At the moment the Forbes dairy runs across the Barrington River and cattle grazing on one side need to be walked across the river to the side with the existing dairy.
The Kywong Flat Dairy Project involves the construction of a brand new, semi-automated dairy on the side without one, meaning the cows on that side of the river will no longer have to make the journey to be milked.
This will reduce the dairy’s environmental impact and the physical strain on the animals, inturn boosting productivity.
Graham currently runs the diary business in partnership with his wife, Kathy. Adam has recently returned to the family farm after completing his university degree.