$5million Federal funding to boost brand-new Forbes fertiliser business

A new business that will produce organic fertiliser for broadacre agriculture right here in Forbes has received a $5 million funding boost.

Southern Cross Nutrients will receive the Federal funding to establish in the Central West Industrial Park Member for Riverina Michael McCormack announced on site on Thursday.

The business will actually produce pellets that can be sown with broadacre crops - from organic compost processed right next door.

Mr McCormack said Southern Cross Nutrients Pty Ltd had been awarded the grant through the Government's Securing Raw Materials Program, which is supporting businesses move to or expand into regional areas to research and develop innovative and locally sourced raw material supplies.

The project will create 15 full-time and four part-time ongoing jobs and a further 25 jobs during two construction stages.

Ian Collier, part owner of Southern Cross Nutrients, was in attendance with his partners Ben Connell and Mark Pobje.

"We're so excited," he said.

"We've purchased a block of land here to establish our organic fertiliser business, key for us is quality local products that we'll be purchasing from next door - Topsoil Organics - to use in our organic fertiliser."

The Federal grant will enable Southern Cross Nutrients to "turbo charge" their business, generating more jobs and getting their product out to the market.

"The plant will be taking high grade compost, that will be fully matured, and will include some other materials that will be beneficial to soil conditioning," Mr Collier said.

"That will go through a process to produce a pellet or a granule - not dissimilar to synthetic fertilisers - and our concept is that farmers will be able to use that organic fertiliser without any modification to their equipment.

"They'll be able to get that organic fertiliser sub-soil."

It's all about boosting soil nutrients in the longer term, he explained.

"The product we will produce, farmers will be able to sow this with their conventional air seeders and get our product sub-surface, with the aim that those nutrients can be released to promote deeper root growth, larger root balls, help with improving crop yields, pest resistance and water retention," he said.

The company is working with Southern Cross University to continue to research and develop blends to meet the needs of the farmer and the soil type.

Here in Forbes, earthworks on the site have begun and Mr Collier paid tribute to Forbes Shire Council for its support through the process.

"We're going to build a very large shed - 2500 square metres - that's phase 1 and we will situate our plant in that shed," Mr Collier said.

"The Federal government grant will actually enable us to fast-track Phase 2 where we duplicate that: we will have a second shed with a second plant and double our capacity."

Southern Cross Nutrients hopes to have product rolling out late October / early November this year.

"Another 15 full-time and four part-time jobs is great news for Forbes - and they will generate even more jobs in the district as those people employed at Southern Cross Nutrients spend their wages on such things as groceries, petrol, haircuts, coffees, home improvements and clothing," Mr McCormack said.

"I congratulate Southern Cross Nutrients on choosing Forbes for this exciting project and I look forward to seeing the benefits of the Government's support of its investment for years to come."