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Michael and Alex Hicks

Mini abbattoir allows farmers to go 'paddock to plate'

The NSW Government-backed Jobs for NSW is supporting a Central West farmer to develop a mobile abattoir to allow farmers to process their own stock ‘paddock to plate’.

Dubbo farmer Michael Hicks hopes to change the way livestock farmers operate, with his invention which was developed with a $25,000 Minimum Viable Product grant from Jobs for NSW.

“There’s a new generation of young farmers eager to create profitable farms and this portable abattoir aims to help them set up great businesses.

“This fantastic product will help regional farmers swap commodity markets for retail markets – to go from being ‘price takers’ to ‘price makers’,” Mr Hicks said.

Mr Hicks, who runs free range pork operation Extraordinary Pork, said his portable abattoir has been designed to process multiple smaller species including pigs, sheep, chickens, goats and even emus.

“We have converted a shipping container into a multi-purpose facility with three rooms that can be used as an abattoir, a butcher’s room and a cool room.

“There’s a trend towards fewer large scale abattoirs - meaning many farmers have to transport their stock long distances for processing. This increases costs, puts stress on the animals, and reduces farmers’ ability to add value to their produce.

“More consumers want free range meat and to know the provenance of their food and our portable abattoir will allow farmers to take control of the supply chain.

"Farmers will able to process and market their products to new customer bases, helping them to grow their business, increase their income, control their brand and create jobs. They can also sell extra items like hides, horns and offal that abattoirs currently keep,” he said.

Jobs for NSW Ag-Tech Cluster Champion Chris Celovic said Jobs for NSW was investing $190 million over four years in startups and fast growing SMEs with at least 30 per cent of funding going to regional NSW.

“We have some fantastic startup talent in regional NSW and through Jobs for NSW we’re providing grants, loans and loan guarantees, including an interest-free Regional Growth Loan, to help develop new technologies and grow jobs,” Mr Celovic said.

To find out more about how Jobs for NSW can assist businesses visit www.jobsfornsw.com.au