Wellington’s strong agricultural industry is embracing niche producers.
Bryan and Kim Kiss
Kim and Bryan’s journey toward sustainable and ethical farming practices on their property ‘Meramie’ resulted in a broadening of their business plan and the creation of Grassland Poultry. Bravely guarded by their Maremma’s Chomp and Rosie, the chickens thrive foraging on open range pastures while regenerating the soil for their cattle and sheep grazing enterprise.
As one of five registered breeders of the rare Sommerlad Heritage Chickens in Australia and the only located in New South Wales, Kim and Bryan have driven the development of their brand since its inception in 2015. As active participants in Regional Platters, a business development program developed and implemented by Dubbo Regional Council, they continue to grow their business.
Kim attributes the proactive assistance of Council’s Economic Development Services Team in supporting them with the identification of risks within their business and the subsequent solutions. The Regional Platter workshops “Identified that risk of having to rely on someone else to get our day olds in. Actually, taking on the breeding side of it, has added security to the business. And that was our biggest concern and now that risk is gone.”
Currently, Kim and Bryan supply two wholesalers in Sydney who are “both really keen on direct supply to their shops, the farmer’s story and the health aspect of the food.” The program has also allowed them to identify future expansion plans. “Its certainly got to a stage now that we need to expand to keep up with supply. We’ve got to make a few investments to supply more” into Sydney and with enquiries from Brisbane and Melbourne too, Grassland Poultry is taking on the big poultry producers and winning. Nominated by Victor Churchill butchery in Woollahra, Sommerlad Chickens were named State Winners in the 2018 delicious Awards. It’s quite an achievement for a first time entrant who now move through to the national judging phase for their dedication, passion and knowledge.
However, Kim and Bryan haven’t forgotten their grass roots as they continue to service the local area. Kim believes that there is a “connectedness between Dubbo and Wellington” and as a business, they always shop locally. “Wellington is a part of the Dubbo community and what services we aren’t able to source here we can in Dubbo.”
"Wellington has a great diversity within its agricultural community and it’s supportive of each other. It’s not hard to start something new, people are always interested in what you are doing. There’s no negativity around it and I think the agricultural community of Wellington does support niche markets. Before we were grazing with sheep and cattle, we’ve just added a new enterprise using the same land. Actually benefiting the soil for the other grazing enterprise. Normally, if you want to expand in the grazing industry you have to add more land by lease or purchase. Grassland Poultry has allowed us to utilise the land we’ve got."