About 30 members of the Women On Farms group met at Radfords Meat Processing Plant in Warragul on Tuesday , 6 July.
We were greeted by Robert Radford, Paul Sheedy and Paul MacFarlane. Radfords processes meat for the domestic market. They have won numerous awards and accreditations. With a work force of about a hundred, most are sourced locally with no foreign workers brought in.
They can process up to 60 cattle per hour. Each beast carcass can be traced by its ear butt, from the farmer to the butcher, all over Australia. Cattle are rested before going into be processed. This reduces stress and gives better quality meat.
Due to new generation ethnics, more and more of the beast is being utilized. Offal, once discarded, is now in demand by the Chinese and Vietnamese communities. Companies come to Radfords with some very interesting requests. Foetal blood from unborn calves was once collected before the process became too expensive.
On the day they were processing sheep, and members going into the facility had to don plastic coats, hair nets and shoe covers. Groups of 8 were taken for a tour of the processing floor, new chiller and boning room.
Outside, Radfords has put in a water recycling plant, as no town water is available and trucking in water was very expensive. Radfords is the first meat processing plant in Australia to install this process, using overseas technology with local tradesmen and other processors are showing interest in the process. They are able to process 80,000 litres a day and the water so purified is better that town supply. There is no need to irrigate effluent as before. The filteried solids go into compost. Radfords is still finalizing tests to get permission from Government for treatment lagoons.
We then moved on to Lardner Park where we had lunch in the Board Room. The Chief Executive Officer of Lardner Park Events talked about the history of Lardner Park and their plans for the future. He then showed members through the recently opened Entertainment Centre, a venue which impressed all the members.