Adding extra value to your products can prove an innovative way of opening new markets for small businesses. For farmers, who must battle weather, fluctuating global markets and multinationals, it can be a game changer – as it was for KFC Milling.
Hi, my name is Clay Maher, my business is KFC Milling, and we're based out Bungunya, in Queensland. We're a family owned farm that's expanded into manufacturing.
Since I left school I've never written a resume in my life, so I've been my own boss the whole time. I love it; I wouldn't do anything else.
We've got 3 employees, 2 guys in the Depot Produce Store in Toowoomba, and 1 guy managing the mill at home.
We've had a few small business grants through the Government. We actually got a lady in from Brissie that helped; she did a lot of paperwork and just chasing things down that we couldn't. We were only a 2 man operation at that stage. We knew nothing; we went into this blind and, yeah, jumped right in the deep end and tried to work out where we were going.
I'll take advice from anyone; I'm not bashful. If I can see something good out of it, I'll take it and run with it.
In 2015, the Maher family of Kingswood Farming Company (KFC) completed the construction of their mill and grading shed on their property at Bungunya, in Queensland's Southern Downs. While neighbouring farms were being purchased by international investors or large multinationals, KFC had the vision of being equipped to clean, grade and bag their own crops, meaning they would no longer be reliant on prices for grain sold on-farm. With that came the realisation they had the means to use their grain to develop their own brand of stockfeed. After purchasing a mixer and bagging line, KFC Stockfeed was ready for market.
Looking to add value to their crops, KFC Milling took part in the Queensland Government's Mentoring for Growth program, which helped crystallise their vision into realistic goals and outcomes. The program helped them partner with qualified animal nutritionists to produce 5 lines of poultry feed. Today, they produce more than 25 different stockfeed products. They also expanded into the supply of barley with help from the Small Business Entrepreneur grant.
Continuing to investigate supply chains, KFC began supplying their graded barley to fodder sheds across Queensland. The high level of personalised customer service KFC Milling prides itself on has seen the number of stockists of KFC Milling products grow from 8 to more than 100 across the country.
To meet the increasing demand for KFC Milling's specialised sprouting barley, a depot was opened in Toowoomba, stocking the full range of their stockfeed products. KFC Milling is now investigating the export opportunities for their products. The operation is testament to how smaller producers who are committed to producing consistently high-quality products, matched with high-quality customer service, can flourish. Customer feedback indicates clients resonate with the family-owned business, which plants and grows their products as well as selling them.