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Another round of successful Coles Nurture Fund applicants announced


Goulburn Valley fruit grower Rocky Varapodio.

In the first half of FY18, Coles announced the successful applicants from round four of the Coles Nurture Fund. These included farmers from Coolac (New South Wales), Goulburn Valley (Victoria), Ovens Valley (Victoria), Gippsland (Victoria), Ringarooma (Tasmania), Launceston (Tasmania) and Kununurra (Western Australia) as well as a manufacturer in Sydney.

Coolac farmer Michael Crowe will use a $400,000 grant from the Coles Nurture Fund to build unique facilities to manufacture highly-nutritious animal fodder, allowing him to produce grass-fed beef year round. The new facilities will achieve significant water savings, facilitate a more efficient farming process and will not be impacted by climatic conditions.

Goulburn Valley fruit grower Rocky Varapodio will inject new innovation in the horticulture industry by using a $500,000 grant to introduce a new pear variety to Australia, while Ovens Valley farmer Nigel Stephens will use a $134,000 grant for a new irrigation system which will reduce water use and cut electricity costs while also reducing his farm’s greenhouse emissions.

At Nar Nar Goon in Victoria, potato growers Red Gem Growers and Packers received a $365,000 loan to introduce new technology into the Australian potato industry that enables X-ray sorting by weight and quality of fresh brushed potatoes, resulting in higher quality produce and production efficiencies.

Dairy farmer Geoff Cox from Naturale at Ringarooma in Tasmania received a $481,000 grant from the Coles Nurture Fund to assist in the production of omega-3 enriched milk, a product that has less saturated fat without compromising on its taste, texture or flavour. Naturale supplies the enriched milk to fellow Tasmanian business, Westhaven Dairy, which has created an omega-3 yoghurt with the product and was also a Coles Nurture Fund recipient in round four, having received a $375,410 loan.

In Western Australia, Kununurra farmer Stewart Dobson and his family will expand their banana growing operations, helping to diversify banana production in Australia, which is primarily concentrated in northern Queensland. They are using latest technologies to meet the challenging conditions of growing fruit in semi-arid land.

Archie Rose Distilling Co. will use a $500,000 interest-free loan to invest in energy efficient equipment to reduce its environmental impact.