On Location - Boort North West Ag Services
Boort has long been renowned for its diverse agricultural industry with a mix of broadacre cropping enterprises, irrigated summer cropping, irrigated and dryland pasture, sheep production, hay, tomatoes and olive groves.
But, in more recent times, it’s been the construction of a brand new purpose-built North West Ag Services showroom and storage facility on McMillans Road that has caught the attention of locals. With aerial crop spraying in full swing in the region as the new move is made, and a high demand for insecticides, the branch is a hive of activity as I speak to the team about what the investment means for this rural community.
“The new building reflects the commitment and investment North West Ag Services has to Boort and the standard we aim to deliver to growers,” North West Ag Services General Manager Ben Smith says.
“It was because of our excellent grower and community support for the Boort branch that it had become evident the Godfrey Street shop and shed were not going to be big enough to support a growing branch, so we purchased the block of land in 2018 and the planning and construction process started for this new space.”
The facility houses two sheds, the first containing office and showroom facilities, a customer drive through and space for storing readily accessed products. The second shed is set up for product storage to meet the needs of not only Boort growers, but those at neighbouring branches.
North West Ag Services Boort Branch Manager Doug Parker says the area is three times the size of the former space and makes the delivery and pick-up processes more efficient and safer, especially for large trucks.
“It’s certainly a significant investment for the town here and its storage capacities enables us to really expand the range of products,” Doug says.
Having been raised on a 2,000ha farming property south of Quambatook and then having worked as an agronomist within the AGRIvision business, Doug then went on to work for Yara Fertilizers in Melbourne, before returning to the Boort branch in 2013.
Doug is knowledgeable of a range of inputs and operations, particularly evident in the Mallee region. He often still assists his family during busy seasons on the farm.
He not only knows the farming industry, but Doug has a number of community interests, including involvement in an annual tractor pull at Quambatook, held at Easter.
Jo Junor who has worked in merchandise sales at the Boort branch since 2016, is also well-known in the community.
Whilst a reasonable newcomer to the agriculture industry having worked in customer service roles prior and getting to know locals, Jo is now focused on the animal health side of the business and is often assisting on-farm with lamb marking or drafting livestock.
North West Ag Services has had a long association with the Boort area. It was due to the irrigated farming practices in the area that Mike Hind (one of the founding members of Quambatook Rural Supplies – that became North West Ag Services), used to provide agronomic advice, predominantly on tomatoes. At that time, many growers would elect to travel to Quambatook to purchase their inputs, but when Dean Harrington from Harrington Ag Consulting decided to sell his farm and relocate, it was the perfect timing for North West Ag Services to open a shopfront to continue to provide services.
Now, the branch offers the full range of agriculture services from agronomy to livestock health, to ag chemicals, fertilizer, fencing materials and stockfeed, and the team is gearing up for a busy season, especially for its horticulture growers planting summer crop varieties.