A GROUP of enterprising grain growers in the Central Highlands of Victoria will investigate the potential of converting industry waste – such as farm stubble and straw – into bio-energy fuel and other value-adding products.
Backed with $60,000 in funding from the Victorian Government’s Food Source Victoria Program, the project will involve a feasibility study and business case that may result in a $3 million Straw Pellet Plant being built in the region.
The project focuses on developing a potentially lucrative new market for cereal stubble and straw – waste products that are usually mulched or burnt by grain growers.
Converting straw to energy already occurs in Europe so the project will assess whether it is possible to do something similar under Australian conditions.
If it does prove feasible, developing this hidden resource may provide additional income for grain growers and create new jobs in the region.
In addition to the Government funding, the project is also supported by local organisations including a grower’s consortium, Cultivate Agribusiness Central Highlands, the Pyrenees Shire Council and the City of Ballarat.
Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria Danielle Green said the study was a great example of the collaboration between industry, government and local communities for the economic growth of the Central Highlands region and all of regional Victoria.
“Encouraging regional innovation is essential to ensure local industry goes from strength to strength, jobs are created and local communities continue to be great places to work and live,” she said.
“Through Food Source Victoria, we’re helping our primary producers reach their full potential and maximise their export potential.”
Food Source Victoria’s scholarship program helps individuals develop skills to meet the growing global demand for Victoria’s premium food products.The $20 million Food Source Victoria Program supports regional Victorians working in agriculture and food production to enhance their business and export skills through training and professional development.
The program is open for applications. People working in the food and fibre sector looking to collaborate and create new business opportunities are encouraged to contact [email protected] or visit www.vic.gov.au/foodsource.
Source: Victoria Government