TIME TO MOVE ON: Terry and Graham Deacon and Mark Schmidt inspect seeds at Deacon Seeds in Dalby. After more than half a century in the family, the Deacon brothers have made the decision to sell the business.
TIME TO MOVE ON: Terry and Graham Deacon and Mark Schmidt inspect seeds at Deacon Seeds in Dalby. After more than half a century in the family, the Deacon brothers have made the decision to sell the business. Dominic Elsome

Planting seeds for the future in Dalby

IT'S been a staple of the community for more than half a century, but change is afoot at Deacon Seeds.

Started by Collin and Joyce Deacon in 1961, the business became a fixture in Dalby and well known throughout the Australian grain industry.

When the couple stepped back from the business, their sons Terry and Graham stepped up and took over from their parents.

"We've run the business for the last 30-odd years,” Terry Deacon said.

But after 57 years as a family business, the Deacons have made the decision to sell.

Terry said it was the right time for the brothers to move on from the company.

"I joined the company in November 1966, so in a couple of weeks' time I will have finished my 51st year of work at Deacon Seeds,” he said.

"It just got to the stage where we wanted to take a bit of pressure off. It's been a long time - it's been a great ride and it's been a good little business, we've made a lot of friends out of it and it's been a privilege to be a part of the Australian grain industry and in particular our local Darling Downs.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our loyal grower clients of the past 57 years for your continued support and business.”

The business was bought by Melbourne-based grain exporter Societa Cofica, a fourth generation family owned business.

Terry said they had worked closely with the exporter for more than 30 years, and this meant Societa Cofica had a unique understanding of the ins and outs of the Dalby business.

Mark Schmidt (centre) will be taking over as general manager at the Dalby business.
Mark Schmidt (centre) will be taking over as general manager at the Dalby business. Dominic Elsome

"It's a great opportunity to have someone who knows a bit about the business to come in and be part of it,” he said.

"From their point of view, they want to be able to say to their clients overseas 'this comes out of our facility, we're offering you this product and we can guarantee the quality, because we're doing this'.”

The Deacon brothers will be staying on for the short term, helping the new general manager and shareholder Mark Schmidt during the handover period.

Mr Schmidt has more than 30 years in the grain industry and is president of the Australian Mungbean Association.

He said the new ownership would only bring positives to the business.

"We'll continue keeping everything the same as what it has been, that's the important thing - nothing will change, we'll still continue doing millets with a big focus on planting seed and supplying the domestic and export markets,” Mr Schmidt said.

"The important thing is there's going to be good financial security, so the growers can deal with us going forward with confidence.”

And after more than 50 years running the business, Terry said he was yet to work out exactly what he would be doing with his new found spare time.

"We'll worry about that when we get there,” Terry said.


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