Melissa and Angas Swann, Riverina NSW
Melissa and Angas Swann started their Murray cod farming business, Goodoo Farms, in 2018.
Based in Yanco, in the Riverina region of NSW, Goodoo Farms Murray cod is sold to the Sydney Fish Market and Melbourne Seafood Centre. Their products are then sold on to other wholesalers, processors, restaurants and retail.
Angas and Melissa found it difficult to get funding in the early stages of building their business.
“Bank options were limited, not only in the amount of money we were asking for, but also in the terms we were offered,” Angas said.
They came across the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) AgriStarter Loan and found it ticked a lot of boxes.
“We’ve taken a long-term approach for this business and to get funding that matches up with our strategy is really important,” Angas said.
“Murray cod is an at-risk species, so it’s a highly regulated industry.
“You can’t actually catch Murray cod from the river and sell it.
"This environment mimics the river as closely as possible to grow the fish out to a table-sized food of about 1.5 kilograms in weight,” Angas said.
Angas was keen to get into farming and saw a gap in the market for good quality Australian white-flesh seafood.
“I’ve been lucky enough in my career to look at lots of farm businesses, financials as well, and I think it ticks a lot of boxes for water-use efficiency and sustainability,” Angas said.
Angas said the seafood industry is very misunderstood, with about 70% of seafood in Australia imported and much of its origin unclear.
“Freshness isn’t audited, so you don’t know how long a piece of snapper has been sitting on the shelf, or how many times it’s been frozen and unfrozen,” he said.
“Ours is a fresh product; it doesn’t get frozen.
“It is sent to market overnight, sold the next day and could be in a restaurant that evening.”
Melissa and Angas were approved for an AgriStarter Loan within a month and worked closely with their RIC Loans Analyst throughout the process.
“The RIC was fantastic in walking us through what was required and providing documentation that we needed to fill out. It was a seamless process,” Melissa said.
Angas and Melissa started saving money on interest straight away, which has made a big difference in the start-up phase of Goodoo Farms.
“We know we have that money available,” Melissa said.
“It’s there and it’s just given us that breathing space.”
“I think agriculture’s really exciting at the moment,” Angas said.
“If you’re willing to have a go in agriculture; back yourself, do your research and try to get some funding. The RIC is a really good place to start.”