Blessed are the cheesemakers

Sutton Grange Organic Farm produces Holy Goat Cheese from an organically certified goat herd.

Sutton Grange Organic Farm produces Holy Goat Cheese from an organically certified goat herd.

Sutton Grange Organic Farm will be the site for Australia's first state-of-the-art artisan goat cheese factory following a $25,000 state government grant through its Food Source Victoria program.

Holy Goat Cheese was awarded the grant to support the planning for Cheese Works, a modular dairy factory to provide international training and internships along with the production of high-quality artisan cheeses.

The grant is to support the planning of Cheese Works which is set to bring start-up artisan diary businesses together with a manufacturing school attracting expertise, training and jobs to the Castlemaine-Bendigo region.

A small consortium of highly skilled dairy producers and educators will invest with Holy Goat Cheese aiming to galvanise the development of Australia's artisan cheese industry.

Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford said FSV grants supported producers and businesses working in partnership to develop products to take the state's superb produce to the next level, creating new jobs and growing exports.

Ms Pulford said the FSV program had recently been modified to make it easier for Victorian agri-food businesses along the entire supply chain to apply and connect with regional producers.

She said the application process has been simplified and streamlined and support is now available to help applicants find partners and develop their ideas.

FSV provides grants under four streams: network facilitator grants, a new program to help member-based organisations to find partners, develop ideas and prepare applications for growth grants; individual scholarships, to help people working in regional agribusiness to expand or add value; planning grants, so those in the agri-food supply chain can engage a skilled advisor to help develop their plans for growth and growth grants, providing seed funding to kickstart those growth plans.

Information about all four streams is available at vic.gov.au/foodsource.

"Last year Delicious magazine awarded Holy Goat their 'Producer of the Year' award and thanks to this grant, they will now be sharing their expertise with aspiring cheesemakers throughout the region," Ms Pulford said.

"We've revamped the FSV program to make it easier for agricultural producers in regional Victoria find the right partners and funding to take their products to the next level."

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