Top hort operators become calendar boys

NAB calendar features top horticulture growers

Horticulture
TOP GROWER: Banana grower turned blueberry producer, Brett Kelly, CEO, Oz Group Co-Op, features in the new NAB Agribusiness calendar.

TOP GROWER: Banana grower turned blueberry producer, Brett Kelly, CEO, Oz Group Co-Op, features in the new NAB Agribusiness calendar.

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NAB Agribusiness's new calendar puts the spotlight on top hort growers.

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INNOVATIVE horticulture producers have been highlighted in the 2019 National Australia Bank Agribusiness Calendar, launched in Toowoomba last week. 

The businesses were selected for having achieved extraordinary growth and results in their agribusinesses, according to NAB Agribusiness.

The calendar is given out to NAB’s agribusiness customers each year.

The growers highlighted include: 

Brett Kelly, CEO, Oz Group Co-Op 

WHEN Coffs Harbour farmers gave up on bananas en masse, some left the land while others took a chance on blueberries. 

These family farmers established Oz Group Co-op for efficient processing and packaging of their exotic crop. 

Today, the Oz Group is intent on supplying Australia, and soon Asia, with consistently priced fresh berries all year round. 

By coming together, Oz Group’s members have made sure they have the capacity and quality to supply large supermarket contracts, build state-of- the-art packing facilities and form alliances with international players to ensure the latest genetics (and world-class logistics) are available to them. 

The group now has a turnover growing to $130 million.

Ed Fagan, company director, Mulyan

WHILE salad crops were a good fit for the Mulyan farming company, there was a definite downside; salad crops tend to be the most expensive to grow and you can’t delay picking to get a better price. 

Mulyan company director, Ed Fagan, knew he had to find a way to sell everything he grew.

IDEAS: Vegetable grower, Ed Fagan, company director, Mulyan.

IDEAS: Vegetable grower, Ed Fagan, company director, Mulyan.

Looking for something that could use up all the out-of-spec cucumbers and beetroot, Mr Fagan installed a processing facility and started producing beetroot relish for Three Threes condiment company. 

For his cucumbers, he struck a deal to be the US-based McClure’s pickle manufacturer for Australasia. 

Mr Fagan has also convinced McClure’s to stock his pickled beetroot and jalapenos and he hopes to be introducing the delights of beetroot-on-a burger to the US in the not too distant future.

Stephen Creese, owner, Creese North East 

TASMANIAN farmer, Stephen Creese, has taken the term "mixed farming" to another level by building an empire using an unusual mix of business structures and partnerships. 

Some farms Mr Creese owns and runs himself, while on others he is a contract grower or joint venture partner. He manages still more for overseas-based owners.

“My background made me realise there’s nothing wrong in going into business with people,” he said.

DIVERSE: Mixed farming businessman, Stephen Creese, owner, Creese North East.

DIVERSE: Mixed farming businessman, Stephen Creese, owner, Creese North East.

“I’ve always been open to opportunities and adding value to the land rather than the product.”

Irrigating underperforming farms to turn them into highly efficient commodity producers has earned Mr Creese an international reputation. 

Today, he oversees farms with diverse mixes of business structure and produce. 

These include mixes of potatoes, prime lamb, beef and dairy cattle, while others produce broadacre or seed crops such as wheat, clover, grass and carrots.

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The story Top hort operators become calendar boys first appeared on Good Fruit & Vegetables.

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