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TAS Country : January 27th 2011
28 Tasmanian Country Friday, January 28, 2011 News Finding thrill in blueberry retirement BLUE HEAVEN: Greg McCulloch picks more blueberries than the local market can cope with. It's just as well blueberries have enjoyed a big jump in popularity at home Jennifer Crawley reports Growing blueberries is very rewarding, financially and emotionally, I enjoy it and the politics and the diversity and direction of the industry interests me' NIERINNA blueberry grower and president of the Australian Blueberry Growers Association Greg McCulloch used to manage factories, but lives the life of a blueberry grower now. The Nierinna grower said his manufacturing knowledge in plastics and packaging has proved invaluable in his new life. ''Growing blueberries is very re- warding, financially and emotionally, I enjoy it and the politics and the diversity and direction of the indus- try interests me,'' Mr McCulloch said. Mr McCulloch, 59, intended to retire when he bought the small southern Tasmanian blueberry farm but instead became president of the industry body and has been part of a successful campaign to push the consumption of blueberries up and up.Domestic consumption of blueber- ries has increased by 150 per cent over the last five years due to a campaign on their health benefits driven by industry and funded, in part, by voluntary levies. ''We had to do it,'' Mr McCulloch said. ''We knew the Chileans were taking over the overseas market.'' The recent signing of a free-trade agreement between Australia and Chile spells the end of the Australian blueberry industry, Mr McCulloch said. Tasmania had missed out on a golden opportunity with the berries, he said. He blamed a lack of leadership from within the Department of Primary Industries , Parks, Water and the Environment for the size of the berry industry. ''Blueberry growing is the second most important horticulture industry in NSW,'' Mr McCulloch said. ''We had the potential to be the same if we had laid the foundations.'' Mr McCulloch said he was a small grower in comparison to others, yet he still managed to harvest about 20 tonnes a year from his Nierinna farm. He supplies the Victorian and NSW wholesale markets because the mar- ket in Tasmania is too small, he said. ''Woolies and Coles would sell in a week in Tasmania what I would pick in a day on this farm,'' he said. There are 180 member growers in the ABGA and 25 growers in Tas- mania. Mr McCulloch grows raspberries on a Cygnet farm when he's not picking blueberries at Nierinna. ''It's a pretty relaxing life,'' he said. 2030604-110128 A MEMBER OF THE HARCOURTS GROUP TASMANIAN RURAL PROPERTY PTY LTD RURAL PROPERTY 187 Brisbane Street, Launceston www.tasmanianruralproperty.com.au P: (03) 6331 6118 GLOBAL.NATIONAL.LOCAL.YOU Lot 1 --- Entire property (C1830) 856ha --- 2116 Acres One of Australia's most historic, well known and respected properties. Comprising the magnificent two storey Georgian brick home set in beautiful gardens sweeping down to the banks of the South-Esk River, includes tennis court, swimming pool, home gym, original stables. All in very private situation on the banks of the South Esk River at the end of a 3km driveway. (Includes Lot 2), only 15 minutes from Launceston Airport. Lot 2 --- Farm only Approx 808Ha (2000ac) with manager's residence (on South Esk River), cottage, 5 stand shearing shed, machinery shed, bulk grain store includes 108 ha under pivot and linear irrigation (huge potential for more area), 2732 ML water right and 600 ML dam, well known for it's crops of poppies, grass seed, lucerne, lupini beans, peas and prime lambs, or dairy conversion. Gently undulating country rising from the South Esk River. Enquiries to Michael Warren M: 0458 711 755 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Harcourts Rural Tasmania Enquiries to: John Hewitt M: 0458 711 122 E: email@example.com Harcourts Rural Tasmania Symmons Plains Perth, Northern Tasmania 4km frontage to the South Esk River Tenders close for entire property or farm only on 10th March 2011
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February 3rd 2011