Australian consumers have a growing hunger for fresh, home grown produce and Kalbar farmers Ed and Gen Windley are doing their bit to help feed the nation.

More than 300 acres of farm land nestled in the Scenic Rim is speckled with carrots and onions in the winter and green beans and sweet corn in the spring and autumn, produce headed directly for dinner plates across the nation.

Sweet corn in particular is in high demand, according to the Queensland AgTrends 2018-19 report which reveals the value of the state’s sweet corn industry is expected to increase 27 per cent from last year, to $56 million.

Overall, the state’s contribution to a growing demand for vegetables is forecast to be worth $1.277 billion, 6 per cent higher than the past five-year average.

The Windleys chose Kalbar as the ideal home not only for their horticulture production, but for their family.

“Vegetable production has grown, and we love our lifestyle and being able to bring up our two boys with plenty of space and fresh clean air. The Scenic Rim is particularly stunning with its spectacular scenery, while still being close to Brisbane and the Gold Coast,” Gen said.

Ed and Gen have extensive experience in agriculture and rural industries, as well off-farm commercial experience but they were put to the test when their property was damaged in the 2011 floods and again in 2013.

“We faced significant damage following the 2011 and 2013 floods but have fought our way back to a sound position and the new acres are predominantly flood free, reducing our exposure to flood risk,” Gen said.

The Windleys used a Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority First Start Loan in 2005 to establish 135 acres of leasehold land and when they were ready to further develop their business in 2016 they looked to QRIDA again for a Sustainability Loan.

“With the help of a Sustainability Loan we were able to purchase 88 acres of land in our own names. Prior to that, our farming was carried out on leasehold ground,” Gen said.

“We found QRIDA’s loans suited well to our situation of establishing our own farming business. Their competitive interest rates, loan terms and ongoing support were key motivators for us applying and we’d encourage others in the same situation to enquire about the loans.

“If you’ve got an idea, we suggest you start talking with QRIDA as early in the process as possible as their loans provide a wonderful opportunity for young enthusiastic start-up farmers to enter the industry.”

First Start Loans provide finance of up to $2 million to cover capital costs to assist producers enter primary production, while Sustainability Loans provide up to $1.3 million to assist in achieving a more productive and sustainable farming business.

For more information about how First Start and Sustainability Loans could help you, visit www.qrida.qld.gov.au or Freecall 1800 623 946.