Gloucester, NSW, dairyfarmer, Graham Forbes is looking to build a new dairy, a project this region hasn’t seen in 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 little sooner.
“It’s been a long-term project and the AGL funding was certainly an incentive,” Mr Forbes said.
The overall project will cost about $1.5 million and that the legacy funds provided were proportional to the number of jobs the project would 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 that may suit school leavers or school-based trainees transitioning into employment.
Graham’s son, Adam said the existing dairy supported school-based trainees, as well as a TAFE student working toward a Certificate III in Agriculture, with a TAFE teacher visiting regularly.
This project had scope to possibly increase this capacity.
It would 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 about 400 dairy farms in the Gloucester region in the 1960s compared to about 15 now.
Things were continually changing in the industry and sometimes farmers had 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.
Adam said the existing dairy was overcapacity and was not working efficiently.
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 new, semi-automated dairy on the side without one, meaning the cows on that side of the river would no longer have to make the journey to be milked.
This would reduce the dairy’s environmental impact and the physical strain on the animals, in turn boosting productivity.
Graham currently runs the dairy business in partnership with his wife, Kathy.
Adam has recently returned to the family farm after completing his university degree.