CARROLL COTTON COMPANY

When Scott Davies lost his father, his mother was left with 40 shipping containers of cotton ginning equipment heading her way from America. She wasn’t deterred, building the Carroll Cotton Company on her own.

She ran it until 2007, when Scott and his wife Trudy took over. Neither knew much about cotton. Scott, who had been in his last year of school when his father died, went straight into the wine industry and worked there for 12 years.

Trudy worked in communications. Help was at hand to learn ginning, with everyone from neighbours to agronomists sharing their knowledge.

The couple learned an important lesson – the higher the ginning quality, the better their customers’ return and now, as they build a new plant, Scott is working with US manufacturers to tailor equipment to local growing conditions.

As for the future, Scott explains that, with advances in technology and strains of cotton driving demand for the company’s product, he expects their new facility to double original output to the equivalent of 800 million pairs of socks a year.

CONNEMARA FARMS

A lifetime’s labour has seen Forbes farmers Matthew and Jacinta Passmore transform 200 hectares and 10 head of cattle into a 3000-hectare aggregation of holdings that turns off 1000 pure-bred shorthorns a year. Son Gabriel left the land for a corporate career but, in 2018, witnessing his parents’ battle to keep the herd alive during the driest conditions in a century, put his job and life in Sydney on hold to return home.

He spent the next year helping them cart 50,000 litres of water a day and masterminding a $500,000 plan to drought-proof the New South Wales property with a new bore, storage tanks, troughs and 25km network of polyethylene pipes.

It was a significant investment for the Passmores, at an uncertain time, but it positioned Connemara Farms for a rapid recovery when the rains finally came. Further investment in fodder infrastructure is now on the agenda, to ensure the property is even better prepared to withstand the next big dry.

TRISCO FOODS

Mike Tristram describes Trisco Foods as “a family, and a families” firm.  His father and mother are chairman and company secretary respectively and he is a fifth generation CEO. Plus, there are multiple generations of local families in the business.

Founded in 1875, the Queensland-based company began using local sugar to manufacture soft drinks before expanding into toppings, bakery fillings and sauces. Then, in 2010, Trisco invested heavily in research and development into the health and wellness segment. Their key innovation has been Precise Thick-N INSTANT, a liquid that enables people with swallowing difficulties to enjoy their favourite drinks. That product quickly snatched significant market share from traditional powder products.

Precise has now opened a manufacturing facility in Colorado Springs to service US demand and support international expansion plans. Mike identified aged care nutrition as a significant niche area that’s growing globally. And, while acknowledging that it might sound like a cliché, he says the company’s success really is the result of a genuine team commitment to innovation and growth.

WINDRIDGE FARMS

Fifth-generation farmer Andree Rowntree is proud that she and husband Andrew produce enough pork – around 7.5 million kilograms a year – to feed

every Australian for a day. But she’s even prouder that Windridge Farms, their mixed cropping and livestock operation outside Young in New South Wales, has become an exemplar for sustainable agriculture.

Consisting of three farms totalling 5,100 hectares of pasture and crop, Windridge is home to over 50,000 pigs, 1,000 head of cattle and more than 8,000 breeding ewes producing meat and wool. For Andree, improving reproduction, growth rates and feed conversion are the key to sustainability. And being able to measure the results of that sustainability is vital.

Their methane plant, powered by pig effluent, produces around 2.4 million kilowatts of electricity annually, most of which powers the feed mill and provides heating and cooling for the mother pigs. Andree’s father Dugald Walker was the driving force behind both pig farming and sustainable power production. “He was persistent and made things happen,” she says.

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