Introducing Anthony Kumnick and his family from Greenvale Homestead in the Grampians Region of Victoria. Their story is number 29 in my quest to feature 52 farmer’s in 52 weeks in celebration of the Australian Year of the Farmer.
Summary of our farming enterprise:
Greenvale Homestead is an 1100 acre property just outside the town of Willaura in the Grampians Region and part of a 2000 acre family enterprise that comprise cereal cropping, fat lambs and beef cattle.
Returning to Australia four years ago, Anthony from an Information Technology business with wife Amanda and two young children began identifying areas of the business that could benefit from value-adding and direct sales.
As such the Greenvale Farm brand of meat was conceived where existing beef and lamb were sold directly to the consumers locally and into Melbourne and at farmers markets.
Soon after Rare Breed Free Range pork was added to the product range and is now the showcase product of Greenvale Farm along with the value added bacons, hams, and a growing range of smallgoods.
Greenvale Farm has received a number of awards and recognitions since inception and continue to grow product range, livestock and distribution and can be found on the menu at some of Victoria’s premium restaurants.
For you, what is the best lifestyle factor you enjoy as a farmer?
There is nothing better than being out in the open, fresh air and just taking in your surroundings. Being able to take your kids out to work even though jobs with them generally take much longer than if you?d done it alone. There is also a level of satisfaction you get from living in and being part of a rural community. There tends to be a strong rural bond where communities pull together in difficult times and rejoice the prosperous ones. You know all your neighbours and help each other out in times of need.
Our neighbours in Toronto where we lived for 10 years were rarely seen and they slept within 5 meters of our bedroom in our high-rise apartment complex. In a rural community you are not just a farmer, there are Kindergarten committees, School councils, a myriad of other local committees that build community to participate in and one we love promoting and help building in the Grampians Produce Group. We love the satisfaction derived from taking a product we have grown, fed and nurtured and delivering it to the consumer or our chefs and talking about it at length and having the level of satisfaction knowing that our consumers and chefs will be lovingly preparing and enjoying the fruits of our labour, a far cry from simply dropping an animal at a livestock market.
What do you foresee as your biggest as the biggest short term and long term challenges in farming?
Farmers have had to deal with a whole host of challenges in the past including fire, drought, floods, its becoming increasingly difficult with a now more global economy, chemical companies being opportunistic in good years, the duopoly of the supermarkets keeping prices low while all other costs continue to rise and as such the farmer having to wear all cost increases.
At the end of the day farmers are a resilient race most of the time having to do more with less – this being one of the main reasons for the decline of rural towns. Farms having consolidated and the evolution of machinery and technology means that more can be done with less at the expense of farm hands. Those farm hands had children who once attended the local school, purchased from local stores and dated and married into other farming families. Farmers that are able to diversify, value add and find niche markets have the possibility of being more sustainable and viable, being able to employ more resources to participate in marketing, selling and running a value adding/diversified enterprise consequently helping to rebuild a rural community.
What do you wish non-farmers/city people and the Australian Government understood about farming?
We believe that governments are far from in tune with the agricultural scene in Australia. Grants are given to encourage companies to elongate the supply chain and all that does is shrink the amount available to the farmer and increase the price of the final product. Focus need to be on shrinking the supply chain getting more return to the farmers pockets and if grants are to be given, they need to be directed at farmers to help make their operations sustainable and viable and to help bring more resources back to the rural environment.
What message would you like to put on a billboard in Collins Street?
Try for a day not eating, using or wearing any product a farmer has produced….. Farmers they are more important than you think…
Contact Greenvale Homestead : http://www.greenvale-homestead.com.au