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Local producers prove diverse, adaptable and successful

South coast producers are proving they are diverse, adaptable and successful in meeting the challenges of local, national and international markets.

The 2016 South Coast Primary Industries Dinner, organised by South East Local Land Services, was held last Thursday at Crooked River Wines, Gerringong.

The dinner involved speakers from local, family-owned businesses, that are thriving despite the challenges facing them.

Senior Land Services Officer Jason Cason said the dinner, now in its third year, had established itself as an invaluable event, connecting producers, allowing them to learn from each other.

"By sharing success stories, innovative ideas and common concerns local producers can develop, diversify and adapt their businesses," Mr Carson said.

Jo-Anne Fahey of Glenbernie Orchard told the 100 plus audience that challenges were not insurmountable and were actually opportunities.

“We have increased the brands we sell, expanded our value-added products and at the same time explore opportunities on our farm, locally and offshore,” Ms Fahey said.

“Trying to tie all these things together is quite challenging, but it’s also about spreading our risk.”

Michael McNamara runs Percora Dairy (Robertson), which combines a sheep dairy and cheese making.

“We didn’t realise the technical difficulties of the enterprise we were embarking on, and only now are we just on top of our production systems and cheese making,” Mr McNamara said.

The effort has paid off with a gold medal at the Sydney Royal Easter Show and collaborations with chefs such as Jamie Oliver.

Sarah Lewis from Maxwells Treats told the story of her family’s multi-generational business and how it has changed over the decades, particularly the work in years setting up and their retail presence in the Treat Factory in Berry.

“We are not on the main street of Berry but that has been a blessing as we have worked hard to make it a tourist destination,” Ms Lewis said.

Goodie Felice of Crooked River Wines said exploiting the potential of tourism is the key for South Coast producers.

“What we have here is second to none and we need to let people know about it,” Mr Felice said.

Mr Felice said events such as the South Coast Primary Industries Dinner were invaluable as an opportunity for producers to network and collaborate.

Funding for the event was provided by South East Local Land Services and the Australian Government through its National Landcare Program.

Those producers unable to attend the 2016 South Coast Primary Industries Dinner can still sign up to networking opportunities through South East Local Land Services. For further information, contact Jason Carson on 02 4877 3210 or