By Sue Daubney (with help from Mat!)
Founded in 1924 in Northcliffe by pioneers Edith & James Daubney, Bannister Downs Dairy Farm was named after Edith, whose maiden name was Bannister. Nearly a century later, the farm is still family owned and now managed by their grandson, Mat and his wife Sue.
We are from a proudly traditional farming family spanning four generations, We were married in 1998 and put our hand up to take over the management of the business and the farm.
The dairy industry was deregulated in 2000, causing the sector to destabilise. We saw this as an opportunity; we were young, enthusiastic and ready for the challenge.
We talked for a long time about the possibility of processing and bottling our own milk. We were finding it hard to see a future in handing our milk over at the farm gate and taking no further responsibility for it. In these early days we had no control over the price or quality, as the focus was always on volume because payment for milk was by the litre.
At the same time we found production costs began to skyrocket. After having my third child I had some time at home. I found myself researching on the internet about different options and possibilities for the farm and our business.
We talked to the South West Dairy Consultative Committee, a federal group in Bunbury, who were very helpful. Based on this discussion and our research we applied for a government grant.
We were successful in securing this seed capital grant to help us vertically integrate and move Bannister Downs Dairy into fresh milk manufacturing. Essentially helping us control our own destiny, the quality of our milk, and to look after our girls (moo) and our team.
For more information, please read Our Journey.