Big boost for local dairy industry

Maleny Dairies' Ross Hopper (left) and local farmer Jason Rozynski have partnered up to boost the local dairy industry
Maleny Dairies' Ross Hopper (left) and local farmer Jason Rozynski have partnered up to boost the local dairy industry Scott Kovacevic

THE Mary Valley dairy industry has received a huge boost with the re-opening of a farm previously closed during the State Government's buy-back for the Traveston Crossing Dam project.

Maleny Dairies have partnered with the Rozynski family to breathe new life into the farm, which stood empty and unused for more than five years.

Mr Rozynski is a third generation farmer, with his grandparents operating their original home farm - located near Borumba dam - since 1946.

He started out running the home farm in partnership with his father before taking over operations in 2008.

With the help of his wife, Lisa, the Rozynski's efforts grew were successful enough to force them to make a choice about the farm's future direction.

"The home farm we've just expanded over the years… we got to the point where we had a good surplus herd," he said.

"We decided we can either sell them or milk them, so we decided to do the second dairy to lower our costs because the more cows we milk at the home farm we needed to truck a lot more feed," he said.

Mr Rozynski said he's invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into the new farm.

It's a decision he hopes will lead to greater things for his family ahead.

"(We want) to grow it and be as efficient as we can, and hopefully get it to a point where if my young fella wants to take over and be the fourth generation there's an option for him if he wants to," he said.

Maleny Dairies' owner Ross Hopper said he is thrilled with the farm's re-opening and hopes the farm's re-opening heralds the beginning of a reinvigoration of the industry.

He said the industry had been decimated by the continued closure of farms over the last two decades, making the industry unstable for everyone.

"They didn't know what the future was going to be after they got bought out and shut down," he said.

"There was 1500 dairy farms in Queensland in 2000, and now there's 420-something. So that gives you an idea of the decline."

He added it's been particularly hard on the Mary Valley region, with the number of operating farms plummeting from 33 to 11.

The Rozynski's farm is the ninth one for Maleny Dairies which has been running for 16 years.

With a distribution stretching all the way from Byron Bay to Noosa and west towards Toowoomba, Mr Hopper said community support has been vital to their survival.

Like the Rozynski's farms, Maleny Dairies is a family run business, owned and operated by Mr Hopper and his wife Sally.

With the financial hardships wracking industry, it took a great deal of effort and dedication to make the business a success.

"It was a bit hard to start with," he said.

"We've got a couple of other things on the go and those businesses were propping it up for five years or so before it actually turned around."

The willingness of the community to buy local products played a huge role in turning Maleny Dairies fortune around, a sentiment Mr Rozynski echoed.

"It's been very challenging since deregulation, and the Coles dollar a litre milk," Mr Rozynski said

The 177 acre farm will play host to a herd of around 200, and Mr Rozynksi is hoping will produce more than one million litres of milk every year.

Topics:  dairy farm farmer industry milk

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