Hope and ‘relief’ for Burnett farmers
SOUTH BURNETT farmer Glen Unverzagt has already benefited from Hope Dairies' investment in the South Burnett.
He has sold two properties to the company in which Gina Rinehart holds a majority share, and leased another.
Mrs Rinehart has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the State Government to invest $500 million in a baby formula plant near Gympie and enough land to accommodate a massive dairy herd in the South Burnett.
Hope Dairies has already bought 4000ha of land in the South Burnett for cropping.
While Mr Unverzagt's day-to-day life has not changed dramatically, he says he can rest a little easier when he closes his eyes at night.
"The biggest change is financial security," he said.
"I no longer have to worry so much about my financial inputs and whether I will be going backwards or turning a profit at the end of the season."
Mr Unverzagt is one of three South Burnett producers growing corn as cattle fodder for Hope Dairies.
He said the new job was a relief after five hard years in a row.
"I am not so much at the mercy of the rain gods anymore," he said.
The company approached Mr Unverzagt about his land at Kumbia and the chance was too good to pass up.
"I'm working for them, doing the same thing I was doing before but now I get paid (a steady income)," he said.
Three representatives from Hope Dairies recently made the trip to Kumbia to inspect the crops being grown by Mr Unverzagt. When asked "why the South Burnett?", Hope Dairies' Dave Garcia replied "why not?".
"What better place than here among the rich red soil, in a place with a history of dairying," Mr Garcia said.
Hope Dairies hopes to produce 150 million litres of milk each year to export 300,000 tonnes of infant formula to China.
It plans to start producing next year.
About a quarter of the milk will be sourced from local dairy farmers.