The state government’s Rural Economic Development grant has been the «straw that broke the camel’s back», turning Sunshine Coast Kenilworth Dairies’ bottling plant into a success.
The project has created 24 new jobs in the region, and helped deliver Kenilworth’s line of local milk, cheese, mousse and ice cream across Australia.
Some 12,000 litres of milk are processed each day at the plant, and Kenilworth Dairies owner John Cochrane said the company was looking to grow off the back of the RED grant.
«We’ve been in the market for a couple of months and we’ve been doing pasteurised-only milk, and now there’s a demand for homogenised milk – so we’ll be going into that as soon as we can,» he said.
«It’s been a help for sure, it’s been the straw that breaks the camels back. Their input has allowed us to do what we’re doing.»
John Cochrane and his family took over Kenilworth Dairies in 2017, and have since become a prominent name in homecraft dairy.
The success has allowed Kenilworth Dairies to add a fourth family farm to its supply chain, Mr Cochrane said he appreciated being able to assist the challenged industry.
«It’s extremely difficult to grow, unless you’re providing for a niche market it’s pretty tough. Economies of scale will beat you and not everybody can put in their own bottling plant,» he said.
«People need to understand that farming is a profession, and farmers are professional farmers. They’re not marketers, they’re not processors.
«It’s a big job to go from farming to processing and marketing, not only with ability but finance as well.»
Mr Cochrane said the expansion had met consumer appetite, with shoppers becoming more aware of the challenges facing Queensland’s dairy industry and looking to give back to local producers.
«There’s definitely a desire from consumers to know where their product is coming from. There is a big demand for local produce and consumers are prepared to support local businesses.
«There is an understanding of the freshness and quality that local products offer – which is great.»
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said Kenilworth Dairies was one of 43 businesses in Queensland to receive a Rural Economic Development grant to help fund the expansion of their business.
«Kenilworth Dairies is a well-known local dairy producer in the Sunshine Coast area with a strong reputation for producing high-quality dairy products,» he said.
«The government’s RED grant offered a $250,000 co-contribution to purchase equipment to pasteurise their milk as well as set up a laboratory to monitor their products for quality and safety purposes.»
«Five people were employed to build the new plant and now that it’s complete, another 24 locals will get ongoing work here at the dairy.»
Local Member for Nicklin, Rob Skelton said backing agribusiness was one of the Palaszczuk government’s top priorities in its post-COVID economic recovery.
«By supporting businesses like Kenilworth Dairies, we’re giving them the confidence to invest and importantly that leads to more jobs in the local community,» he said.
«Through the Market Diversification and Resilience Grants and our $12.5 million agriculture industry package, the Palaszczuk government is helping farmers and fishers find new export markets, develop new products and improve biosecurity along the supply chain.»