HIVE OF ACTIVITY: HONEY-MAKING A WHOLE LOT SWEETER

A Gippsland cattle farmer is creating more jobs, by transforming his beekeeping hobby into a thriving business, thanks to support from the Victorian Government.

Fish Creek farmer Matt Petersen received a $50,000 grant through the Victorian Government’s Regional Recovery Fund, which will help him build a farmgate retail outlet and install new processing and packaging equipment. He plans to expand his Dividing Creek Farm Honey operation, taking it from a wholesale to retail business.

The Government’s investment has supported the purchase of new extraction and processing equipment, a new farmgate sales outlet and education annexe, car parking, fencing, signage, advertising and water and electrical infrastructure.

Matt will also employ up to four local full time staff to help with the new retail outlet, processing and packaging products, and making candles from beeswax.

Located on the tourist trail to Wilsons Promontory, he aims to increase turnover by 300 per cent and turn honey-making, honeycomb and beeswax products into the main source of income from the farm, with cattle becoming the sideline.

Matt is currently producing 17 tonnes of honey a year and wants to increase that to 25 tonnes.

He is also passionate about the vital role bees play as pollinators in our food supply chain so is including an education annexe at the farmgate outlet to allow visitors to see the busy bees in action and learn about their work.

The $10 million Regional Recovery Fund addresses the urgent needs regional communities have identified as crucial for recovery. It is part of the Victorian Government’s almost $30 billion record investment across regional and rural Victoria since 2015.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Jane Garrett

“The ingenuity, passion and hard work of people like Matt Petersen is helping set local communities on the road to recovery following the challenges of recent years, creating more local jobs and attracting more visitors to regional Victoria.”

“Our Regional Recovery Fund is boosting local economies, growing local jobs and helping small businesses like Dividing Creek Farm Honey enjoy the sweet smell of success.”

Quotes attributable to Fish Creek cattle farmer Matt Petersen

“The funding I’ve received from the Victorian Government has brought the project forward by about 12 months and the whole retail operation, which is almost complete, should be up and running soon after Christmas.”

“Dividing Creek Farm Honey has grown from the few hives my father kept on the farm when I was a boy to what I believe will be the farm’s main source of income and an employer of Gippsland locals.”