Now heading into their new spring lamb season, the company was looking to expand its seasonal workforce to keep up with the challenging and rewarding demands of the industry.
CEO Todd Grave said the previous year’s season had been a long one, which had provided plenty of opportunities for staff to take on overtime hours if they wanted them.
“We had a great 2018-19 season which saw our productivity increase, something that we’d really like to build on for the next season,” he said.
“I’m very pleased with how well the team is operating and they really seem to have found a good rhythm.”
Blue Sky Pastures was bringing on its night shift earlier than others in the industry because of the work ahead, Grave said. “We have tremendous support from our farmer-suppliers who are indicating their intention to ramp up livestock supply to us this season. So we are starting night shift much early to accommodate that.
Fortunately, this meant workers would have a longer season with Blue Sky and there were plenty of opportunities on the horizon for overtime hours, should workers wish to take them.
A longer work season meant the company was able to invest in more development work with staff, such as structured training programmes for skill enhancement, and also paved the way for a clear long-term career path with Blue Sky Pastures and the red meat industry, Grave said.
As part of growing the business, the company had invested significantly in its Morton Mains plant to update its infrastructure, making Blue Sky Pastures are safer and more sustainable place to work.
Completed and planned work includes a $3.7 million wastewater treatment plant to process and treat effluent to a higher standard and a new ammonia refrigeration plant which will use a more environmentally friendly and efficient ammonia gas.
Workplace health and safety is also an important investment to ensure interactions between people and their physical working environment were safe, Grave said.
“At the end of the day our people are what makes Blue Sky the great business that it is and our success would be nothing without them, so it’s a big priority for us that we’re doing our best to keep everyone safe,” he said.
Other health and safety investments include a new roading layout to reduce human-vehicle interactions; the replacement of bandsaws to new hand-sensing auto-stop saws, and replacement of high-risk slaughter-board hock-choppers; and ongoing machine guarding program across the entire plant.