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    MOVE PROGRESSES: Horsham Johnson Asahi staff, from left, Alex Sasuman, Sam Fechner, Jayson Agustin, Jane Wollermann, Colin Flack, Amanda Krause and manager Tony Huebner. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Exporter Johnson Asahi hub shift on track

The latest stage of Johnson Asahi’s operations shift from Horsham to nearby Dooen is on schedule to be complete by September 2022.

The hay-exporting firm, which has already established storage sheds at Dooen’s Wimmera Agriculture and Logistics Hub, has started earthworks at the site for a new production facility.

The new facility will house an export-hay-processing machine and new office with plans for the project to be ready for the 2022 hay-processing season.

Johnson Asahi is shifting operations from Golf Course Road in Horsham to the logistics hub to increase opportunities to buy more hay and straw from the region and increase its international sales.

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The site provides readily accessible intermodal rail and road logistic services to transport products from the region.

The firm has scheduled 2024 to complete its final relocation stage from Horsham to Dooen.

Johnson Group general manager Andrew Hayward said the company would keep the Horsham plant running until the time came to decommission and relocate.

“With the new plant and relocation of two other existing plants from Horsham, this should be great news for local growers and agricultural-support industries for the future,” he said.

“We aim to produce 200,000 metric tonnes per year from the site.

“We expect direct jobs will increase by about 20 full-time-equivalent and of course it will have a multiplier effect for indirect jobs throughout the region.

“We have started recruitment for new roles within the company and this will ramp up in the first half of 2022. 

“If anyone is interested in discussing employment prospects involving loader driving, production, or if you have trade qualifications, we welcome your CV or phone calls now.”

Mr Hayward said industrial-building experts Ahrens Group was handling construction. 

“We have been working with Ahrens for many years in South Australia and this project was a great way for us to consolidate interstate with a well-
established partner,” he said.

“Local company Horsham Steel constructed our storage sheds a few years ago and did a great job of them also. 

“We will use local suppliers as much as possible during the construction phase or the ongoing support of the facility.”

Mr Hayward said Johnson Asahi thanked the State Government and Regional Development Victoria for their support.

Project construction of the latest stage started in October. 

Johnson Asahi formed in 1995 as part of a joint venture between fourth-generation Australian family business Johnson and Son and Japanese company Asahi Industries. 

It has more than 25 years of experience in exporting oaten hay from Victoria to Japan and South East Asia. Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria Danielle Green visited Johnson Asahi’s Dooen site last week.

The State Government has supported the relocation project through its Regional Jobs Fund.

“The Wimmera is essential to hay production – that’s why we are backing projects that give local producers the confidence to grow and create more jobs for the region,” Ms Green said.

“I am so excited to see Johnson Asahi’s new hay-processing facility deliver new jobs in Victoria – it will be a gamechanger for the region, helping make it a better place to live, work and invest.”

The entire December 15, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!