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Excellent tradition reaps benefits
Picture: Toyah Shakespeare Agriculture Minister Terry Redman, Katanning Shire chief executive Dean Taylor, member for Wagin Terry Waldron and Katanning Shire president Richard Kowald at the Katanning regional saleyards.

Katanning continues to be the centre of excellence in the WA livestock industry.

A proposed $10 million Sheep Industry Development Centre announced this week adds to Katanning’s state-of-the-art saleyard project which is ahead of schedule and below budget.

Agriculture Minister Terry Redman visited Katanning on Monday and announced the creation of a development centre based at the Department of Agriculture building in town.

Part of the Nationals-promised $300 million Royalties for Regions agriculture vision, the centre would be guided by the existing Sheep Industry Leadership Council.

“The funds will support the work already done and build on that to ensure that we get the sheep industry sector back to where it should be in WA,” Mr Redman said.

“Right now it’s an historical low, 14 million sheep in WA. It’s about all these supply chain challenges — logistic issues, pathways to market, breeding, all the work that needs to be done to build up our flock levels.”

The new centre would research areas including breeding, flock management, transport, processing logistics and market access.

Member for Wagin Terry Waldron said the proposed centre would fit in well with Katanning’s supertown status.

“Together with the Shire we fought hard to keep the saleyards in Katanning, so this announcement will build on WAMMCO industry and the saleyard investment so Katanning will be the centre of excellence for the livestock industry in WA,” he said.

Shire of Katanning president Richard Kowald said the development centre would mean the Department of Agriculture facilities would be better utilised than in recent years.

“The larger outcome is more sheep in WA which will mean the saleyards will get used to its maximum for the next 50 years,” he said.

Katanning Shire employees, politicians, members of surrounding shires and industry members attended a progress tour of the Katanning regional sheep saleyards site on Monday.

According to Shire chief executive and project manager Dean Taylor, the construction is ahead of budget and will be finished in September, ready for the first sale in January.

He said the steel components were complete and workers were roofing Bay 8. The next step was drainage and constructing a pipeline into town.

The saleyards are being built with $25.5 million of Federal and State Government funding, using local suppliers and 45 local workers.

When finished, they will be the biggest undercover saleyards in the Southern Hemisphere and have high levels of animal welfare and occupational health and safety.