Success Stories in Greater Shepparton

Invergordon attracts young farmers
2012/06/02 | Sophie Bruns

Availability of irrigation water, good climate, fertile land and a central location are what attracted Brendan and Karina Glass to Invergordon. The couple and their daughter Jess purchased an 80 ha farm and began milking 180 cows last June. It has been only 10 months but the couple have already purchased an additional run off block and expansion is firmly on their minds. Originally from the Kiewa valley Brendan grew up on a family dairy farm. When he was 16 he left school and wasn’t interested in dairying but some 11 years later that is exactly what he is doing. He had tried his hand at a few different jobs over the years but the lifestyle of the dairying industry and the ability to make your own decisions and be your own boss held more appeal than a 9-5 job. The property appealed to Brendan because it was perfectly lasered and a third of the pasture was planted to lucerne. “My uncle lives here and the value of land and availability of water really appealed to us. We have moved here to build up our asset base and get some cash behind us so we can eventually farm back at Kiewa,” Brendan said. The 16 swing over dairy with Christopher stall gates is located close to the house which makes things easier with young daughter Jessica in toe. Both Karina and Brendan milk, but the shed can easily be managed by a single operator. Boxer dog Sarge helps out at times with babysitting duties and keeps a keen eye on Jess if she is at the dairy. He is pretty quick to let Brendan or Karina know if she is about to get into any mischief. The purchased of an additional 36ha run off block will help them grow more fodder for the milking herd. The cows are fed around 6kgs of mixed grain in the bail and are according to Brendan ‘mostly grass fed.’ The couple are looking to expand their operation and are hoping to calve down around 250-270 cows this spring. “I am happy to milk extra cows to pay for a full time worker so I can spend some more time with my family down the track,” Brendan said. While Karina doesn’t come from a farming back ground she has embraced the lifestyle and is looking to continually improve her dairying knowledge. She was successful in obtaining a Gardiner Foundation scholarship which she is using to get her Diploma of Agriculture. She is also heading off on the MG Young Supplier Study Farm Tour to New Zealand in June. “I love the lifestyle the industry offers. We can farm with Jess and spend time with her- we don’t have to put her in day care while we work and that’s a real bonus,” Karina said.

Vineyard is rejuvinated
2012/03/02 | Sophie Bruns

Situated just a stones throw from the towering gums of the Goulburn River, Longleat Winery at Murchison has been transformed from a once rundown cellar door to a thriving business. Owners Guido and Sandra Vazzoler have spent the last eight years working hard to improve the 16 hectare winery, tending to the shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, Semillon, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay varieties, some of which are over 30 years old. The couple produce intense and full bodied reds and crisp fresh whites and the installation of a processing plant has meant they can also process wine for other wineries. The couple have for the last three years processed around 150 tonnes of grapes just from their own vines, which is pretty much the limit for this hardworking couple. Their wine is exported to China and their vintages have even found their way on to the tables of many restaurants both in Victoria and NSW. “When we purchased Longleat it was pretty rundown and there was an oversupply of wine on the market, we couldn’t have done it at a worse time,” Sandra laughed. “The first weekend we opened the cellar door our only customer was a brown snake and I thought oh no what have we done, but we backed ourselves and with a lot of hard work, a strong marriage and a sense of humour, we are where we are today.” The cellar door features great food and cheese made by Sandra. Sandra bases the menu on fresh ingredients, sourced from her own garden or locally. Her foray into cheese making began after a visit to the Veneto region of Italy. She has established “Vazzoler Cheese,” a range which includes two year old cheddar, a white mould, a blue and fetta. The cheese is made from milk supplied Tatura Milk. Value adding and creating as many income streams as possible has been one of the keys to the success of the business for this couple. They are heavily involved in their industry on a local and regional scale and are firm believers in getting in and having a go. They are not content to sit by and wait for their next opportunity to pop up - they are continually on the lookout for what they can do to improve their business. “In the future we won’t be sitting still. We will still be looking at developing our export market and we will never say no to any new market opportunities.”  

Vegan B&B takes off at Katandra.
2012/02/29 | Sophie Bruns

When Scott and Nikki Medwell’s desire for more land drove them to purchase five acres at Katandra West, they had no idea their dream would lead them to opening the first vegan bed and breakfast in Australia. The couple were hoping their bed and breakfast accommodation would be booked out some weekends but since opening in November, they have been inundated with guests who have flocked to the aptly named Bed and Broccoli. The food is of course a major attraction, but so is the accommodation- a renovated dairy which the Medwell’s spent six months renovating. The self contained dairy includes a spacious bedroom, lounge room, fully equipped kitchenette and all the mod cons which make it a comfortable place to stay. Nikki does all the cooking and she reckons there is nothing she can’t do- from roasts to barbecue’s to cheesecakes and mud cakes- the list is endless and the food is scrumptious. Nicci has even developed a Bed and Broccoli food line which includes relishes, jams and vegan dog biscuits. "We thought a B and B would be the perfect way to share our love of Vegan food with others,” Nicci said. “We didn't expect to have so many bookings so early. I guess they love the atmosphere we offer and the accommodation style - a renovated dairy - makes it a really unique product. “We point out many places of interest to our guests to visit in the area but we have found the majority just stay at the property and don’t move.” The attraction of swimming in the dam of patting one of the many animals that reside on the property from cows to dogs to chooks appears to keep the guests quite amused. The B and B is open for business seven days a week and while the guests so far have mostly been vegan or ethical eaters, the accommodation is open to anyone. Greater Shepparton's Business Development Officer Lonnie O'Dwyer said she was really pleased to hear of the couple's success. "We had an opportunity to assist Nikki with advice,"Ms O’Dwyer said. Nikki attended our seminars, and took part in our mentor program. She really showed determination and was destined to succeed. Nikki has a vision and could see the end product. "We recognise that different people have different approaches to how they go about achieving their goals when starting out. It is very important though to have a comprehensive business plan in case you need direction as you build the business, which is where we can help." Ms O'Dwyer said there were a number of programs available that were supportive of entrepreneurial thinking. For more information contact Lonnie on 5832 1100 or email \n This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Over 4000 visitors attend IDW.
2012/03/02 | Sophie Bruns

International Dairy Week (IDW) 2012 has again proved to be a winning formula with over 4000 visitors attending the event this year. Visitors travelled from across Australia and from 20 countries overseas to see the very best of Australian dairy cattle, machinery, products and innovations. Day one saw many teenagers and children alike flock to the ABS Australia Youth Show. Cattle were expertly prepared by these keen young strappers who were quick to showcase their leading and grooming skills. The Grand Champion Heifer - Carisma Gibson Cathy, was presented by Emma Castle. The six prominent Australian dairy breeds - Holstein, Jersey, Illawarra, Ayrshire, Guernsey and Brown Swiss were all well presented, with the Jersey field particularly strong this year. Australian Grand Champion honors went to Jersey cow Willow Dell Fancy 512, exhibited by Ross and Robyn Griffith from Blighty. She was the only cow the family bought to the show and son Ian only found someone to present her a couple of days before the show. Judge Warren Ferguson from New Zealand couldn’t get over the seven year old. “She is just so correct, she has so much dairyness about her – she is the kind of cow we all want to have in our herds.” The Holstein Semex Spectacular Sale attracted a lot of interest with top lot Miss Sanchez Missy selling for $19000 to the Jennings Family from Chappel Vale in Victoria. In the Jersey sale, the top priced lot was Adadale Action Passion who sold for $13000.00 to David Weel from. Timboon This was the first time a machinery field day was held in conjunction with the cattle show and it generated a lot of interest. Over 50 companies displayed the latest and greatest machinery, technology, innovation, products and services, all designed specifically for the dairy industry. International Dairy Week is the largest annual dairy cattle show and sale in the Southern Hemisphere and is amongst the top five shows in the world.

Newsletter provides business information
2011/09/07 | Sophie Bruns

The business community in the Shepparton region will be kept up to date with a new newsletter - Greater Shepparton Greater Business.

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