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TAS Country : October 14th 2010
6 Tasmanian Country Friday, October 15, 2010 News HONOURED: Jane Bennett with some of the products in the Ashgrove range. Picture: KIM EISZELE Top award a treat for dairy family KAROLIN MacGREGOR IT may be her name on the award, but this year's Tel- stra Business Woman of the year Jane Bennett says win- ning the prestigious title was very much a team effort. Ms Bennett is the man- ager of highly successful Tasmanian cheese and dairy business Ashgrove Farm Cheese. While she is pleased to have won the award, Ms Bennett said Ashgrove's success was due to the hard work of her family and staff. ''I spend a lot of time co- ordinating and I'm a bit lucky because I get to dab- ble in most parts of the business,'' she said. ''We are a farming family that have built a cheese factory to value-add our milk. . .Idon'tthinkthe farming side of the business gets as much recognition as it deserves because it's only through the increases in milk production that we've been able to grow the cheese business.'' In recent years the Ben- nett family have made sig- nificant investments in water and irrigation infra- structure. Ms Bennett said this had a direct impact on the qual- ity of their milk and ulti- mately the cheese they were now able to produce year- round. Plans to expand cheese production at the family's Elizabeth Town factory are now well under way and Ms Bennett said this was un- derpinned by a significant expansion in their dairying operation. ''My parents and family were really the ones who started all of this because they're the ones who took the risk and made the initial financial investments into the farm,'' she said. ''I'm just one of the next generation who came along and started making cheese.'' Ms Bennett will now rep- resent Tasmania at the national Telstra Business Woman of the Year awards in Melbourne next month. She said winning awards was also a great way to promote their business. ''We are a small business and we don't have huge amounts of money to spend on marketing, so awards like this are a really good way to get our business out there and being talked about,'' Ms Bennett said. ''From my experience with these types of awards, they're a very good net- working opportunity and they also give you the chance to promote your business in a way that you otherwise wouldn't be able to.''Ms Bennett has been the driving force behind Ash- grove's product range in- cluding milk, butter, creams and cheeses. Her experience through a Nuffield Scholarship a cou- ple of years ago has also seen her implement some important marketing changes, including product packaging, which has hel- ped boost sales, prompting the factory expansion. ''We are in a small rural community and I think our business being recognised like this is positive for the local community, and for the staff and the people we employ,'' Ms Bennett said. ''We couldn't do what we do here without my family and our fantastic staff, so it is really a team effort, right through the business. ''I'm the one who's run- ning around taking credit for it most of the time, but there are a lot of people working hard to make it all happen.'' Check out The Other Side with Jane Bennett in this weekend's Saturday Magazine in the Mercury
October 7th 2010
October 21st 2010