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Regional Showcase

Kapunda: making hay while the sun shines

Regional Showcase

The historic town is one of five finalists for the 2020 AgTown of the Year Award, which will be revealed at Solstice Media’s Regional Showcase Awards this Friday at O’Leary Walker Wines in Clare.

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Kapunda is all about making hay while the sun shines as this prospering agricultural community builds on a farming history stretching back to Australian iconic pastoralist Sir Sidney Kidman.

Its main street may be lined with historic buildings and an upgraded town square acknowledging that Kidman empire past – but state-of-the-art JT Johnson and Sons hay and pellet manufacturer is central to growth.

Video: Jordan Agutter

Some 105 staff are employed by the locally owned company that now exports its products to farmers, horse trainers and even zoos around the world.

JT Johnson buys hay from generational farmers working the region’s fertile land while the town is seeing aligned businesses emerge from solar water pump makers to specialist diesel mechanics.

“The soils around here are magnificent,” Mayor Bill O’Brien says.

It is this soil that supports one of Australia’s oldest merino studs at nearly Anlaby Station, hay farmers Wendt Brothers and the prospering Belvidere Ridge Chaff premium fodder specialists.

“We’ve been in business since 2010 and we started making about 1800 tonne of chaff a year, last year we cracked 6200 tonnes through the mill,” Lachlan Nitschke says of the family business.

“Horses are now our biggest market, we export all over the world, including to the Singapore Turf Club and the Hong Kong Jockey Club.”

The Agricultural Town of the Year Award, proudly presented by the Government of South Australia and Solstice Media, highlights the vital role that agriculture plays in the regional landscape – being the backbone of most regional communities.

This year the program received 70 town nominations and over 5,000 votes to help determine the Top 5 finalists for the 2020 Agricultural Town of the Year Award to be revealed on Friday, 26 February.

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