KYVALLEY Dairy’s Mulcahy family gathered recently to celebrate 160 years — and six generations — in the dairy business.
Migrating from Ireland in 1857, the Mulcahy dairy dynasty came to North Central Victoria in 1879 when James and Bridget Mulcahy settled in Byrneside with their 13 children and a small dairy business.
The Mulcahy name soon became known throughout the region for producing quality dairy products.
Fast-forward 130 years to 1987 and twin brothers Peter and David Mulcahy made the bold move to purchase the family farm and create the Mulcahy Brothers brand.
Years passed and the farm blossomed, with the base number of dairy cattle expanding from around 280 cows to 3500 in 2001.
Oldest brother Wayne joined in 2000 to project manage the building of the family’s dairy processing facility at Kyabram and became the group’s first CEO.
The building of the family’s first factory became one of the most critical milestones in the growth of the business as it provided security to grow the family’s milk supply.
The family business reached another catalyst in 2002 when they decided to focus on a2 dairy herd genetics.
Through Kyvalley Dairy Group, the Mulcahy family now supplies all the a2 fresh milk that can be found in homes across Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
In 160 years, what began as a fledgling business has flourished into one of Australia’s largest family owned dairy companies, supplying fresh milk products to the Asia Pacific region through a secure supply chain from feed to final product.
So it’s no surprise Wayne Mulcahy and his brothers are thrilled.
‘‘We’re proud to be a part of a long legacy not many other families have achieved,’’ Wayne said.
Wayne admitted they had encountered some challenges along the way — such as trying to make the new milk factory profitable during the long droughts of the noughties, keeping all three family branches on the same page and developing effective succession plans for the next generation.
But there have also been many rewards.
‘‘We’ve grown the business to consume all of our milk and support other farming families in the district,’’ Wayne said.
‘‘We’ve provided great employment opportunities for our family members and now the 116 staff and 30 contractors who work with us. We also have the ability to export nearly half of our fresh milk product into Asia.
‘‘Finally, we’ve been able to purchase the Kiewa Country Brand, putting the brand back in family hands and supporting regional Australia.’’
So what is their secret to 160 successful years in the dairy business?
Wayne said it comes down to fostering a family values culture where it’s enjoyable to work and everyone is respected.
As for the future, he says the plan is to grow — and grow.
‘‘We hope to continue to expand, enjoy what we do and see the family legacy continue on to the future generations.’’