Small-scale meat processing facility on KI would be viable

KI STUDY: Livestock producer Mitch Willson, AgKI chairman Rick Morris, KI mayor Michael Pengilly, livestock producer Ros Willson, Minister Tim Whetstone, Dudley Wines owner Jeff Howard and Tourism KI chairman Pierre Gregor at the study launch.
KI STUDY: Livestock producer Mitch Willson, AgKI chairman Rick Morris, KI mayor Michael Pengilly, livestock producer Ros Willson, Minister Tim Whetstone, Dudley Wines owner Jeff Howard and Tourism KI chairman Pierre Gregor at the study launch.

The Kangaroo Island agricultural community is excited that a study has found a small-scale meat processing facility would be viable on the Island.

The independent feasibility study, commissioned by the SA Government and Livestock SA, followed initial community consultation regarding options for small-scale meat processing on the island.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Tim Whetstone on Tuesday, August 6 released the study's findings at Dudley Wines, which was among those providing supportive feedback to the process.

AgKI chairman Rick Morris.

AgKI chairman Rick Morris.

The study found there is significant community support and this was echoed by AgKI chairman Rick Morris.

"The study showed that a small to medium scale, multi-species kill facility would be viable, which is great news that we are all very excited about," Mr Morris said.

His view was that it would be most likely be an existing mainland meat processing business capable of opening a facility on Island, rather than a consortium of farmers or a local start-up business.

He praised the State Government for honouring its election promise of looking into Island meat processing.

Mayor Michael Pengilly also said he thought a KI meat processing would be great venture for an established mainland business.

"This if successful in finding an operator would be a huge boost for KI producers and food outlets that want KI meat etc. There was a very positive vibe at the release on Tuesday," he said.

Another possibility would be for a mobile meat processing operation that could serve both the Island and the southern Fleurieu Peninsula, where the Normanville abattoir had closed recently.

"The KI farming community would need to change their attitude and operations to provide lamb, mutton and beef year round, possibly through feedlotting," he said.

Minister Whetstone said the BDO Econsearch found all hospitality venues and supermarkets surveyed wanted to source and use KI meat products as they are an expected part of the meat offering on the Island.

"The Marshall Liberal Government has delivered on an election commitment to assess the feasibility of artisan meat processing on Kangaroo Island," he said.

"The results of the study show there are sufficient livestock numbers on the Island to sustain a small multi-species processing facility for a majority of the year.

"Furthermore there is community support for this concept to enable Kangaroo Island produced, processed and packaged meat.

"In fact, there has already been interest in investing in an artisan meat processing facility on the Island.

"As it currently stands local farmers are forced to send their produce to the mainland to be processed and a local facility would not only save farmers costs but offer an opportunity to brand local meat as a premium product.

"BDO EconSearch, as part of its assessment, consulted with industry stakeholders, industry associations, the Kangaroo Island Council, potential providers, butchers, restaurants and hotels on the island.

"As a next step, the State Government would welcome interest from any industry and interested stakeholders who may wish to pursue options to develop a small processing facility."

Livestock SA Chief Executive Officer Andrew Curtis said the feasibility study would be a valuable resource for the industry.

"Having clear pathways to consumers is important for livestock producers across the state," Mr Curtis said.

"This report provides some valuable information for those producers keen to explore premium markets that recognise Kangaroo Island's unique attributes."

For a full copy of the study visit https://www.pir.sa.gov.au/artisan-meat

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