The Golden Plains Food Production Precinct's new 18km water pipeline is fuelling investment in intensive agriculture in Golden Plains Shire.
Impressive take-up rates have seen 75 mega litres of water already committed for use by the agriculture sector, with the poultry industry the main user.
The first stage of the pipeline was completed in mid-2016 as part of an $11.78M partnership project between the Federal Government ($4.17M), State Government ($2.94M), Golden Plains Shire Council ($1.23M) and Barwon Water ($3.44M).
Access to a reliable water supply has seen an increase in investment, particularly from free range egg producers. Existing operations are expanding, and new players are establishing within the Precinct, with two planning permits already approved for free range egg facilities.
The Macpherson family is one of the first new free range egg operators to get up and running, after last month completing construction of two large sheds which are now home to around 40,000 chickens.
'The new water pipeline has enabled us to diversify our family business from wool and fat lamb production, to include a reliable income stream with the addition of free range eggs,' said Cheryl Macpherson.
'Our project will be completed over a couple of stages, with a further two sheds planned for the future' explained Cheryl.
John and Cheryl Macpherson, along with son Colin, farm 600 acres near Lethbridge. Their new enterprise is planned to provide employment for more farm workers as egg supply ramps up.
'We're proud to be among the first to connect to the new water pipeline and help create jobs in the region. Up to 15 tradespeople have been working on site during construction, many from within the region,' said John.
Mayor of Golden Plains Shire, Cr Des Phelan, welcomed the increase in investment and congratulated the Macphersons on their investment.
'This project is a great example of what we set out to achieve with the creation of the Golden Plains Food Production Precinct. The new water pipeline has given a family run farm the ability to diversify into intensive agriculture, creating jobs and stimulating investment in the region,' said Cr Phelan.
'The Precinct is unique in that it has been established specifically to encourage investment in intensive agriculture. It has all the infrastructure required to help the sector flourish - access to water, power, roads and an abundance of suitable land,' stated Cr Phelan.
Barwon Water has committed $3.44M in additional building infrastructure, to meet future demands, when precinct water usage reaches a certain level.
For more information on the Precinct and investment opportunities contact Golden Plains Shire Council's economic development team on 5220 7111 or visit https://www.goldenplains.vic.gov.au/business/major-projects/golden-plains-food-production-precinct.