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Coles Nurture Fund: Round 4 recipients

Beef farmer Nigel Stephens standing in front of a herd of cows at his farm

Nigel Stephens, Ovens Valley, Victoria

Nigel Stephens

Ovens Valley, Victoria

Nigel Stephens used a $134,000 grant to introduce a new irrigation system to reduce water use and cut electricity costs, allowing him to produce grass-fed beef year round. The Nurture Fund has helped fund a centre pivot irrigation system, replacing the farm’s outdated and less sustainable system and reducing his farm’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Oakmoor Orchards

Goulburn Valley, Victoria

Oakmoor Orchards is introducing a new pear variety in Australia with help from the Coles Nurture Fund. The $500,000 grant has allowed Rocky and Carolyn Varapodio to establish a 13 hectare orchard for the Honey Belle pear variety. The Honey Belle originates from Europe and it is expected the first Australian harvest will be 2021. Oakmoor Orchards is helping to diversify the horticulture industry and expanding the fruit varieties available at Coles.

Michael Crowe

Coolac, New South Wales

Cattle farmer Michael Crowe received a $400,000 grant to build facilities to manufacture a highly-nutritious animal fodder, allowing him to produce grass-fed beef year round. Producing the high protein fodder on a daily basis will provide Michael’s farm with significant water savings, facilitate a more efficient farming process and ensure fodder production is unaffected by climate. The Crowes are passionate about innovation in the farming and food sector and hope the facility will be a blueprint for cattle farmers around Australia.

Kimberley Produce

Kununurra, Western Australia

With a $500,000 grant from the Coles Nurture Fund, Kimberley Produce will exponentially expand its banana growing operations. Expecting to yield an extra 5 million bananas, Kimberley Produce are dedicated to bringing Western Australians more locally-grown fruit, with the majority of bananas currently on the market coming from northern Queensland.

Based in semi-arid Kununurra, Stewart and Rosalie Dobson, along with their sons, Lachlan and Craig are using the Coles Nurture Fund grant to introduce the latest technologies to meet the challenges of growing fruit in the dry region.

Red Gem

Nar Nar Goon, Victoria

Family business Red Gem has used a $350,000 interest-free loan to be the first in Australia to introduce X-ray vision to bring better spuds to Aussie plates. The new equipment, which is powered entirely by solar panels, can scan, sort and size potatoes and identify any common internal defects such as insect holes, hollow heart and growth cracks.