TIME TO START ROLLING: Stephen Schmidt stands on his Victoria Hill property, as phase one of his sheep feedlot, kicks into action, thanks to state funding.
TIME TO START ROLLING: Stephen Schmidt stands on his Victoria Hill property, as phase one of his sheep feedlot, kicks into action, thanks to state funding.

New feedlot brings ‘economic certainty’ to industry

THE development of a Southern Downs feedlot could offer up to 150 jobs in the region, securing a promising financial future for the agricultural industry.

The Victoria Hill Lamb Feedlot, west of Allora, will be built by Schmidt Grazing Enterprises, over three phases. By the third phase, the feedlot will be able to hold 16,200 head.

The development was secured thanks to a Rural Economic Development grant of $250,000 from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Schmidt Grazing Enterprises owner Stephen Schmidt said the funding was crucial in kickstarting phase one construction which began two months ago.

“We were over the moon,” Mr Schmidt said.

“It was a big relief for us. We put a lot of work into the application and the whole project and it is certainly worth it.”

Mr Schmidt acquired the land in May last year, drawn to the region’s strong connection the sheep industry.

“In the Southern Downs and Warwick, we have the only operating sheep saleyard which is obviously a positive to the business because it gives us somewhere to source and sell sheep,” he said.

“We’re also close to the southern processors which is where the sheep are more likely to end up.”

The feedlot’s benefits would be felt throughout the industry, including grain farmers and freight companies.

McDougall and Sons stock agent Ross Ellis said the economic injection would bolster the Southern Downs in the eyes of a national market.

“We’ve traditionally been an Merino area, but we’re now moving into the food area, and it’s because of things like this that we’re able bring money into the town,” Mr Ellis said.

“It will give some economic certainty to be able to offload at a reasonable rate and gives us an advantage because a consistency of supply (is) always hardest for anyone to achieve.

“From here, you can see easily see the emergence of a bigger industry.”

OVER THE MOON: Stephen Schmidt on his Victoria Hill property as development begins on an eventual 16,200 head feedlot.
OVER THE MOON: Stephen Schmidt on his Victoria Hill property as development begins on an eventual 16,200 head feedlot.

Mr Schmidt said sourcing local had been a conscious decision.

“Being able to use local contractors helps us too because it ensures the money stays within the Southern Downs area,” he said.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said on the back of coronavirus, job creation was priceless.

“This project will create jobs that directly and indirectly support the development of the sheep industry in Queensland,” he said.

“We know the Covid-19 pandemic has made it tough for a lot of businesses and communities, so these additional jobs will be most welcome.”

Fourteen businesses have received $3.34 million under the second round of funding for the RED Grants program, creating more than 600 jobs.

Funding for the third round of the grants will be announced later this year.

For more information about the RED Grant scheme visit www.qrida.qld.gov.au



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