A WESTERN Darling Downs (QLD) farming family’s new infrastructure project will boost the supply of its sheep meat to domestic and international markets while creating 15 new local jobs.
Fifth-generation family enterprise Coggan Farms is building a new sheep feedlot and dual-purpose quarantine shed with the help of a Rural Agricultural Development Grant.
The $500,000 project is being funded by a $200,000 RAD Grant under round one of the program and a $300,000 co-contribution from Coggan Farms.
The Queensland State Government backed RAD program supports projects that help grow the sheep and goat industries while creating jobs, as part of the government’s strategy to double the value of sheep and goat production in the state.
Coggan Farms is one of ten sheep and goat enterprises across rural and regional Queensland that collectively received just over $1.8 million in funding under round one of the RAD Grant program.
With the enterprise’s sheep stock more than tripling over the past decade, Coggan Farms logistics and operations manager Tom Coggan said the business’s second lamb feedlot shed will allow it to increase its stock handling capabilities.
“Our new feedlot facilities will help us to further improve the capacity of our sheep operations and take us to the next step in management of our stock and sustainability across our enterprise,” he said.
“The larger lamb quantities will enable us to fulfil an influx of domestic sales contracts.”
The added capacity will also help the enterprise reduce its CO2 emissions by reducing time taken to reach slaughter weights, while increasing Coggan Farms drought resilience.
“We can already see another drought coming, so the funding has come at the right time because additional feedlot facilities will not only help us with our drought mitigation, but also provide locals the option to offload during dry conditions if they can’t afford to keep weaners on their paddocks,” Mr Coggan said.
The quarantine facility, which can alternate between production feeding of lambs, is designed to meet the export protocols for potential live export trade deals with Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, which will help Australia’s closest neighbours to improve the genetics of their own sheep herds.
“The Pacific Islands and Middle East are also looking to improve their sheep meat quality and grow their flocks, but they just don’t have the stock over there,” he said.
In the domestic market, the increased capacity will mean Coggan Farms’ branded lamb can be sold to more Queensland butchers and food service customers.
The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) administers the Rural Agricultural Development Grant Scheme on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.