Meat industry champion leads regional co-op push

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Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
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Fourth-generation farmer Peter Trefort has been named ambassador for a farming co-operative in the Great Southern.

The Stirling to Coast Farmers group is behind the drive to establish a new farmer-led co-operative in the region and formally announced Mr Trefort’s appointment on October 11.

Mr Trefort co-founded the Q Lamb brand and marketed premium lamb products into domestic and international markets, having also previously run a mixed farming and meat processing enterprise in Narrogin.

SCF chairman Derek Curwen welcomed Mr Trefort’s support for the initiative. “We are delighted that Peter has agreed to be an ambassador for us,” he said.

“He is a strong campaigner for agriculture and it’s a great honour to have him onboard our team,

“As a co-operative, farmers can create scale by working together and open up value adding opportunities that they would not be able to achieve on their own and Peter has a lot of first-hand knowledge about the benefits of collaboration.”

The SCF-driven initiative was granted $635,000 from the Commonwealth and State Governments in August to hold a feasibility study.

Mr Curwen said the region’s prime position for farming made the co-operative a smart move for the future of the industry.

“We are in a superb po-sition here in the Great Southern, with reliable rainfall and good transport routes to market to secure a strong future and new markets for our local products,” he said.

“This could have mul-tiple flow-on benefits for our region with new jobs, services and products needed to support new agricultural industries.

“Our next step is to ensure there is a robust and open public debate about whether the co-op should go ahead.”

Farmer forums were held on October 17, 19 and 20 in Jerramungup, Cranbrook, Mt Barker and South Stirling to discuss the proposed co-operative.

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