Elders positions for growth in Tasmania
Elders is taking bold steps to strengthen its position in Tasmania, through a number of strategic moves including the opening of its new Winnaleah branch, building its capability in the dairy market and boosting its local staff by more than 60 per cent.
In little more than six months, the company has expanded its geographic coverage and strengthened its farm supplies, livestock agency and real estate businesses in Tasmania, and there’s plenty more to come.
The rebuilding of Elders in Tasmania after a somewhat chequered past is in line with the company’s Eight Point Plan to become a pure play agribusiness.
Leading the growth are James Cornish as Elders State Manager and Shane Walker, Business Development and Operations Manager, who both bring impressive credentials in managing rural businesses to their roles.
Both men are born and bred ‘locals’ with deep insights into Tasmania’s rural communities, giving them an edge as they seek to strengthen Elders’ business in the state and build long-term partnerships with its farmer clients.
“Our team of nearly 100 employees here in Tasmania share a common objective to partner with our clients over the long term,” Mr Cornish said.
“It was one of the main reasons I joined Elders in August 2015 – because we are all committed to being far more than a service provider for one or two transactions. We are working to building partnerships with our farmer clients over years and generations,” he said.
Mr Cornish has overseen the rapid expansion of the company’s footprint in Tasmania over the past six months.
In the first phase of this expansion, Elders took a major stake in the state’s burgeoning dairy sector with the addition of a dairy agency business and its employees from a competitor.
This has put Elders in the box seat to source and sell young dairy cattle for herd improvement and new dairy businesses, as well as giving it another entry platform in the Chinese market through the supply of dairy heifers.
With the support of the state government, Tasmania is poised to become a major agricultural exporter of primary products.
“Tasmania’s agricultural industry will grow significantly in the future as a result of huge investments in dams, irrigation and water infrastructure,” Mr Cornish said.
“In fact, the Tasmanian government is planning to help grow the state’s agricultural sector from gross revenue of $1.1 billion today to $10 billion by 2050.
“That’s a tenfold increase in 35 years, all built on developing water infrastructure for 55,000 hectares of farmland with 95 per cent security, so we are keen to capitalise on these opportunities for Elders.”
In the second phase of development, Elders strengthened its retail presence in the north-east by adding the Winnaleah operation to its existing stores in Scottsdale and Launceston.
“The Winnaleah store brings us closer to local clients in line with our commitment to build long-term partnerships with them,” Mr Cornish said.
This latest move also gives Elders six retail stores in key farming areas of Tasmania – Launceston, Scottsdale, Winnaleah, Devonport, King Island and Bothwell.
Mr Cornish described Elders’ return to Bothwell in the heartland of the Derwent Valley after several years at Bridgewater as a ‘masterstroke’, once again reinforcing the company’s commitment to building a visible presence and partnering with local communities.
The company is also building its footprint in real estate by acquiring an established family business in Launceston called Towns Shearing and rebranding it as Elders Towns Shearing.
“We are addressing the mistakes of the past and rolling out our strategic plan to build all aspects of our business in the key regions of Tasmania, in the south, the north-east and north-west,” Mr Cornish said.
“We have also appointed a Relationship Manager, Chris Durrant, to help our sales team and add another level of professionalism to building our business with farmer clients.
“And there are several new developments to be announced in coming months, as we expand our geographical coverage, agency services and retail offer in farm supplies and fertilisers.”
“As Tasmanian agriculture continues to grow, we want to ensure we’re providing a high level of support to the farmers who are making it happen,” he said.