Meet the Finalists - Victoria Valley Meats
Victoria Valley Meats has expanded rapidly since setting up business at Trafalgar in the Baw Baw Shire in 2016.
They’ve grown production by 200% and expanded their workforce from 20 to 110 employees.
This has been achieved through a production plant extension to include a boning room as well as expanding their cold storage to enable processing from slaughter to box.
Their capital investment has increased capacity and capability, both as an organisation and through recruitment and upskilling opportunities for staff.
Along with this expansion, there has been a deliberate ongoing effort to improve the culture of the meat processing industry, both within the organisation and in the community more broadly.
This includes having a registered training officer onsite and ensuring appropriate training for all staff members around food safety, work health and safety, inclusive work culture and staff morale, as well as one on one sessions
with staff members to address any concerns.
All of these initiatives have been very well-received by staff with noticeably increased engagement and a positively enhanced workplace culture. This is also reflected in their 95% staff retention rate which is an incredible statistic given the current standard across all industries and nature of this particular business.
These efforts and their business success has put Victoria Valley Meats into finalist territory in two categories of the 2020 Excellence in Agribusiness Awards; the Excellence in Workforce Capability supported by Baw Baw Shire Council and the Excellence in Adaption to Change, sponsored by Wellington Shire Council.
With an estimated 50 nationalities amongst their team, they are an employer that is proudly both supporting and encouraging diversity in their workplace.
Victoria Valley Meats has also produced a series of informative videos around their operation that aim to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions associated with the meat industry.
They have developed training packages and internships for secondary school students, although these have been on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions.
They pride themselves on their attention to food safety.
All animals processed at their facility are bar-coded and can be traced back to the source farm and through market to the end purchaser.
Whilst other meat processors around Victoria have attracted unwanted attention during the global pandemic for some of their workforce testing positive, Victoria Valley Meats’ mandatory testing of all of their workers for COVID-19 returned a 100% negative result rate.
COVID-19 has had an impact on their production however they have used the down time to offer more training programs for their staff, including the option to multi-skill.
Their future plans include further production growth, including export markets.
When establishing the facility, it was designed and built to a standard that allowed the owners to acquire a Tier Two export licence, giving them access to every overseas market except China.Currently exporting to Malaysia, Vietnam and South Korea, they’re re-looking at the possibility to expand to the US and the UK.
They are also very close to securing a lucrative deal to supply Halal meat to an international brand whilst looking to expand into value-add products such as sausages and meat patties.
With so much positive change and development since opening in 2016, the owners, together with an enthusiastic and engaged team, are looking forward to continued growth and prosperity.