Dubbo's Ben Furney Flour Mills is pushing ahead with a priority and multimillion-project to expand production and create new opportunities for it and local farmers.
Fresh from winning Western NSW Business of the Year, chief executive officer Sarah Furney said the company's immediate focus in the next 12 months was bringing its extrusion project to fruition, and its growth in value-added and alternate markets.
The family-run enterprise secured a $1 million federal grant in 2020 to help purchase and install modern equipment to manufacture textured vegetable protein (TVP) and bread crumb products. Explaining the project's significance at the time, Ms Furney said the company was the only manufacturer of TVP for resale in Australia and beyond.
The new equipment would lead to the production of a new range, increasing capacity and allowing the business to supply new markets in both Australia and overseas, with the potential to replace about 500 tonnes per year of imported product in the expanding plant-based proteins market, she said.
From modelling by REMPLAN about the project and ongoing increase in production, it was estimated $1.7 million would be injected back into the local economy, Ms Furney reported.
This week the CEO said the "extrusion project" was tracking well.
We are excited to be bringing this technology to the region, to make the most of our natural advantages in agriculture...Ben Furney Flour Mills CEO Sarah Furney
"Considerable effort has gone into the design of plant and equipment," she said.
"The equipment is now in build phase with shipment to Australia due in March 2022."
The plant will be commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2022, reports the CEO of the company that has for more than a century and three generations operated farming enterprises and specialty milling at Dubbo.
It would mean instead of exporting grain, farmers would have the opportunity to be involved with the company in a value-adding process locally in the region, Ms Furney said.
"We are excited to be bringing this technology to the region, to make the most of our natural advantages in agriculture, by adding as much value as we can to our local raw materials through manufacturing," she said.
"It's an exciting time for Australian agriculture and food industries with a growing global appetite for Australian-made products."