Home > Young Farmer of the Year Award nominee adds value to family farm business

Young Farmer of the Year Award nominee adds value to family farm business

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article image Jim Maitland has been nominated for this year’s Young Farmer of the Year award for establishing an innovative sideline business on his farm

One of this year’s Young Farmer of the Year Award nominees has set up an innovative sideline business to add value to existing farm outputs.  

Jim Maitland, a 27-year-old fifth generation family farmer joined the family farm in the Clare Valley, South Australia in 2007 after finishing a three-year Diploma in Farm Business Management at Marcus Oldham College. The total extent of 2,600 hectares includes the 1,200-hectare family farm along with leased land and a share farming operation based in nearby Auburn. The farm grows hard wheat, durum, canola, faba beans and oaten hay in rotation for the export market.  

Jim, along with family members set up a new business venture, Pangkarra Pty Ltd to produce a range of value added products including premium wholegrain dry pasta and stone milled wholegrain durum flour made from durum wheat grown on the family farm. Jim explained that the new business was established in an effort to diversify their current business beyond primary production and utilise the skill sets of family members.  

The idea for the business came from the increasing consumer awareness of the health benefits of wholegrain foods. The premium wholegrain pasta also filled a gap in the market.  

This business venture has earned Jim a nomination for the Young Farmer of the Year Award, sponsored by Dow AgroSciences in keeping with the company’s commitment to attracting and retaining young people in the agriculture industry. This award is one of the Kondinin Group’s Australian Farmer of the Year Awards.  

Pangkarra Foods has a current output of 12 tonnes of pasta and flour per annum with a target of 50 tonnes per annum in the next two years. Jim expects the business to play a pivotal role as a risk management tool against the ever fluctuating commodity prices.  

Jim employs sustainable farming methods on his farm with the dedicated Pangkarra cropping program receiving chicken litter prior to sowing. The wheat crop is grown on the back of a legume crop, which increases the nitrogen levels in the soil.  

The grain is stored chemical-free in vertical, airtight, temperature controlled silos on the property and then sent to a miller in South Australia where traditional stone milling methods are used to grind the grain, enhancing health benefits by ensuring the flour retains the wheat germ, the endosperm and the bran. Jim markets the produce to gourmet retail shops and restaurants.  

Jim believes that awards such as the Young Farmer of the Year play an important role in promoting careers in agriculture to more young people. The award would help provide a great opportunity for him to promote the business.  

According to Dr Matt Cahill, Research and Development leader from Dow AgroSciences Australia , sponsoring the award is in keeping with their organisation’s long term goals of providing the industry with advanced technology for faster, better and more efficient agriculture long-term, to feed the world’s growing population.  

The Young Farmer of the Year award is open to all farmers aged between 18 and 35, with the winning applicant being recognised by their peers for their efforts to build a sustainable and viable farming future.  

Nominations for the award are open until Friday August 3.

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