Bonaccord evolved from humble beginnings in 1960 when Max and Kath Ingram left Timbarra, northwest of Buchan in rural Victoria, in search of irrigated land. They bought a 54 acre (20ha) dairy farm on the Mitchell River flats near Lindenow for $408 (then 204 pounds) per acre. In the first few years, the dairy herd increased from the initial 40 head to 80 head of dairy cows.
By 1970, Max and Kath had 5 boys, 4 of whom are now the hands-on managers of the businesses. Vegetables were first grown on the Bonaccord farm in 1975, to supplement the dairy income. With the success of this first crop came an increase in vegetable production over the next few years and by 1985 the decision was made to sell the dairy cows and concentrate on full time vegetable growing. By 1989 it was necessary to purchase the first truck to transport vegetables to market, which was the beginning of another branch of the business, Bonaccord Freightlines.
Each sibling has their own area of the business to oversee, ensuring each area is managed in harmony with the other. Ross oversees the office, finance, marketing and freight business, Keith is in charge of the packing shed and personnel, Gerald is in charge of harvesting and machinery maintenance and Murray manages the ground preparation and livestock. Each of their wives are also heavily involved in the running of the business and each one has their own are area to manage as well. In most recent years, some of the next generation have also returned to work alongside their parents after having their own varying careers elsewhere.
Good communication and an understanding of their own role as well as each other's is vital for all concerned.
As vegetable production expanded, disposing of off-cuts or any vegetable which did not meet consumer demand became an issue. This allowed Bonaccord to invest in livestock, as a way of utilising the surplus, and today Bonaccord runs between 350 to 400 head of beef cattle.
The businesses are now major contributors to the East Gippsland economy. The farm has grown from the initial 54 acres to the current 3,000 acres in vegetable production today and the Freight business from 1 truck to over 52 today. An approximate 26,000 tonnes of produce moves off the farm annually, 80% of which goes into NSW, with the remainder going to Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania. Up to 300 people are employed during peak production to produce, harvest, package and transport the final product.
The Bonaccord name was derived from the lane on which the original block of land was purchased.
The Bonaccord Group prides itself on quality and excellent customer service to achieve the highest outcome possible. Its success is due to the following factors.
- Solid foundations
- Good communication
- Love doing what we do
- Taking opportunities as they arise
- Minimising risks
- Lead by example
- Hard work and dedication