After three decades of working at Australian Paper’s Maryvale Mill, Traralgon resident Malcolm Hume decided it was time to pursue a childhood dream.
Last year Mr Hume and his wife Judy signed up to buy a 65-acre cattle farm on Hazelwood Road which would open the doors for them to become the Latrobe Valley’s first supplier of the popular wagyu beef.
The shift to farming, however, was done with careful planning by Judy, an accountant, conducting research and enrolling with her husband in a Certificate III in Agriculture course.
“We’ve been searching and we’ve come to a point that we have acquired a bit of knowledge we thought ‘we’re gonna try and do it together and step out’,” Judy said.
As the youngest child in a brood of eight, Malcolm grew up helping his oldest brother raise stock at a Heyfield cattle and sheep farm.
“I thought it’s a good team work between us. Malcolm’s got the drive to do the farming and I’m interested in acquiring knowledge and at the same time making sure that we’re going to do the right thing in this business,” Judy said.
While the mother of four has no farming experience, she likes to be “constantly challenged” and said she was not afraid to get her hands dirty.
The farm came with 15 Angus steers and 12 cows with 12 calves.
By September the couple is expecting a dozen additions to their stock as all the cows are pregnant.
Judy said they had been considering buying a farm since 2015 and a year later had a chance to taste wagyu beef for the first time.
Wagyu originated in Japan and is the current craze in the meat world because of its high level of fat marbling and cost at $450 per kilo.
The Humes have started to slaughter some of their Angus steers so they can have something to compare with once they start selling wagyu beef.
Malcom said they were looking at acquiring a full blood Wagyu and artificially inseminating the 12 cows to produce a mixed breed of Wagyu and Angus known as F1.
Judy said once they start producing F1 breed they would eventually export Wagyu meat to Japan and China where demands were high.
“Eventually we also want to supply it in the local market but we are in the process of searching which local market here in the Valley is interested to buy wagyu beef,” she said.