Greenmountain Food Processing is a major processor of veal and light yearling cattle in Australia, and supplier to the domestic and most export markets. They are committed to operating and maintaining their business to uphold the highest possible standards in food safety, employee health and safety, animal welfare and environmental concerns.
Greenmountain commenced operations in 1991 after Directors, and brothers, David and John Scarrabelotti began processing trade calves at a service facility in northern New South Wales (NSW). The company purchased modern processing facilities at Coominya in 2006, which gave them the ability to deliver better quality to their customers in terms of specifications and costs.
The food processing facility at Coominya currently operates one shift that processes 2,500 head a week of stark veal and grass fed yearlings. The livestock are sourced directly from properties and regular weekly markets in various regions, Central Queensland, South East Queensland, the Darling Downs, Burnett, Northern NSW and the New England.
Greenmountain Food Processing specialises in veal and light yearling processing. Not very many other companies do that, says David Scarrabelotti, and the ones that do, simply cannot match Greenmountain’s consistency.
“We are the only privately-owned processor of these products that has their own processing facility. We can service our customers better than all of our opposition.”
Greenmountain services all sectors in the domestic market, either directly with the end users or with a loyal and long-standing network of wholesalers – the main one being Makani 2001 Pty Ltd, which they are shareholders of.
By working closely with all of their customers, Greenmountain has been able to build strong relationships with each one. They have maintained those relationships over the years through the consistent quality of their product, and by ensuring every order is delivered on time. “We work with them to understand what their requirements are in relation to products, both now and moving into the future,” says David.
Being a family-owned business helps to keep customer relationships strong as well, because it adds a personal level to their service. If a customer should encounter any issues, they can speak directly to the founding brothers – who know everything there is to know about the business, and are committed to its well-being. “That gives us a fairly good edge.”
Greenmountain’s relationships with their employees are also considered positive and professional. They have had a fairly extensive training program since 2007 that aims to bring young people in at the bottom, but then help them work their way to the top. To be a supervisor you have to understand the process, Scarrabelotti says. “As we look to fill a position, we fill that position from within the workforce so that we keep lifting people up,” he says. “If a young person comes here, and they apply themselves and show some initiative, they will get the opportunity to step up the line and gain a better position.”
David and John are very hands-on in all aspects of day-to-day operations, but also put a lot of trust in the people under them, which mean decisions are made quickly. “Our management team are given quite a bit of license to carry out their duties and are better able to deliver outcomes,” David says. “The people who work on the processing lines are treated as valuable employees, not pay slip numbers.”
Greenmountain also enjoys close and positive relationships with their suppliers who meet and understand requirements, and can maximise their returns by meeting their specifications. There is a strong focus in the business for livestock to be supplied direct from the property they are growing on. “This enhances the quality of the product and maximises returns to those producers who sell that way as they do not incur the high costs levied by selling centres,” David says. “It is also a better outcome from an animal welfare point of view.”
The green in Greenmountain
Greenmountain Food Processing is a company that lives up to the ‘green’ in their title. Their plant in the picturesque Brisbane Valley, for example, is currently implementing sustainable initiatives that will drop their energy consumption by at least 30 per cent. The company’s aim is to operate independently from the power and gas grid within five years. “We have identified the means by which to do that and are moving forward on it,” he says.
The plant sits on approximately 1,000 acres of land that makes them “virtually self-sufficient” in relation to fodder for livestock, David says. “In the future we plan to enhance that with the installation of centre pivots under which we will grow Lucerne and fodder crops to maximise the use of wastewater, which is high in nutrients.”
Looking ahead to the longer term, David says the future for Greenmountain Food Processing will see them continue to enhance the efficiency of the plant, continue to train and develop their workforce, advance the development of energy generation programs, and maximise production and capabilities by implementing a second shift.
David also sees them expanding both their domestic and export markets. “The domestic market is a very important part of our business,” he says. “We offer value added lines to many of our customers and plan to continue to grow this part of the business as the abattoir level is the most efficient point at which to do this.”
As for the export market, David says the company aims to bolster their marketing strategies in Asia. “We think there is lots of opportunity there, and on the Asian front we wouldn’t be against the idea of bringing in some partners who could enhance the selling side of the project,” he says.