Home' On The Land : August 18th 2011 Contents www.standard.net.au
THURSDAY, August 18, 2011 ON THE LAND -- 1
IT'S a long, long way from the former
Soviet nation of Uzbekistan to the
rolling hills of Cooriemungle.
But that's the journey 24-year-old
Muhiddin Sultonov made three
And he's not alone. The Boorook
Road farm where he works is home
to three of his countrymen as well as
four Filipinos, easily outnumbering
the sole Australian staff member.
They work at the farm of Chris
and Julie Vogels. Chris is the son
of original Heytesbury settlers
Frank and Dorothy Vogels. Over
the years the enterprise has grown
into one of the largest dairies in the
Heytesbury region with two farms
totalling about 700 hectares and
milking 500 and 1000 cows.
And, like every large dairy farm,
it has had its share of staffing
problems. With no large towns
nearby and wall-to-wall dairy
farms all drawing on the same
limited labour resource, the Vogels
endured years of frustration with
high staff turnover, endless training
"We had some very good staff, but
there were a lot who really didn't
care --- they just wouldn't turn up
and that would leave us struggling,"
"Because labour was so short we
were sometimes taking on people
we knew were not really suitable,
but we had little choice.
"The staffing problems were
holding us back and affecting the
way we farmed. We couldn't see a
solution and began to question if we
had done the right thing growing so
large. It was unsustainable."
In 2007 they hit on the idea of
sponsoring immigrants seeking per-
manent residency in Australia.
Aspiring immigrants who meet
certain visa requirements can
gain employer sponsorship in
industries where Australia is short
They can gain permanent
residency and eventually become
Since they began employing
immigrants, the Vogels have built
up a stable and reliable workforce.
Chris sees it as a win-win arrange-
ment --- the immigrants gain
their foothold in Australia nd he
gets a keen, reliable and willing
He was full of praise for his staff.
"They have a very good work ethic,
they are reliable and they want to
While the Vogels' farms are some
distance from any town, accom-
modation has not been a problem,
thanks to original settlement houses
acquired as the farm has expanded,
allowing the staff to live on site.
The workers are mainly in their
early twenties, with the eldest 43.
By STEVE HYNES
CONTINUED PAGE 4
International workforce finds new home in Cooriemungle
Julie and Chris Vogels with Muhiddin Sultonov, from Uzbekistan, one of eight immigrant employees at their Cooriemungle farm.
110815SH02 Picture: STEVE HYNES
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