Future-proofing a farm business for generations to come

With a RIC Drought Loan, Grewal Farms invested in their horticultural crops to future-proof for shifting market trends and prepare for droughts.

Aman Grewal’s family has been involved in growing and manufacturing food for decades and it’s a legacy he wants to continue.

“I’ve been born and brought up in farming, it’s what we live and breathe,” Aman said.

In the late 1980s, Aman’s father Kamal and his brothers migrated from Punjab, India, to New Zealand and then to Australia where they settled at Cullulleraine near Mildura in north-western Victoria and established Grewal Farms.

It was there that they began growing almond crops before moving into broadacre cereal and horticultural crops including berries, oranges, and grapes.

During the Millennium drought they established a manufacturing facility, Golden Grain Flour Mills, to diversify their income.

Then came the challenges of the 2017 – 2019 drought.

“During the drought period, times were tough here in the region, as it was for everyone,” Aman said.

Rows of grape vines along a vineyard trellis.
Grewal Farms used their RIC loan to swap grape varieties.

Improving the farm business

Grewal Farms used their RIC Drought Loan to swap chardonnay grape vines for pinot noir to better suit market trends.

The business also built netting covers and extended irrigation to new raspberry and blackberry crops.

“This will enable us to prepare for the future of irrigation, water and droughts,” Aman said.

They took advantage of the RIC Drought Loan’s beneficial concessional terms.

“The Drought Loan enabled us to further invest in our properties to make them future-proof so that we can produce more efficiently.”
Three men at orchard site.
Rural financial counsellor Chris Young (right) assisted the Grewal family to complete their RIC loan application.

Assisting the loan application process 

The Grewal family submitted their RIC loan application with help from Chris Young from the Rural Financial Counselling Service Victoria West.

Chris helped Grewal Farms to gather the information from their bank and accountant.

“We prepared a business plan that suits Grewal Farms’ business model,” Chris said.

“Over the 10-year period we can build the value of property or equity, to the point where we can go back to our financial institutions, and pass on the remaining amount, or ask for further lending.” Aman said.

“At that point Grewal Farms will be in a position to start making principal reductions,” Chris said.

Man holding raspberries in hands.
Grewal Farms also used the RIC loan to build netting and irrigation infrastructure for growing berries.

Focusing on the future

With the RIC loan in place, the Grewal family can now focus on improving their crops.

Aman is studying agribusiness and said, “I’d really like to see myself in this business in this industry in the years to come, and I’d really like to see more young people entering the industry.”

Kamal said he feels proud that his son wants to take on the family business.

“He’s taking over the generations of work and taking it to the next level. He will be more efficient, more effective,” Kamal said.

“That will keep me going for another 10 to 15 years”.