The farmers of the largest snake river farm in the world are to sell off up to five million hectares of farmland to raise the capital needed to revive their struggling business.
The owners, who have struggled to pay their bills, are due to hand over the land in October, after which a final sale is due to be completed.
“It’s been a very tough time for us and a lot of work has been put into our farm over the last few years,” said Peter Smith, who is managing director of the Snake River Farm, which is based in the South Australian town of Erskineville.
The farm has been the subject of a series of scandals in recent years.
Last year, it was revealed that the owner of the farm was the owner’s cousin, while another person owned an office in the house.
A year later, the owners’ farm, with 2,000 cattle, was shut down after a spate of cow deaths.
More recently, the farm’s licence was revoked after an investigation into a farm in Australia found the cattle had been fed contaminated milk.
This year, Mr Smith said the owners had begun to re-invest in the farm.
However, a new land title agreement with the Federal Government will see the sale of the land, with the purchase of up to 2,500 hectares of land.
Mr Smith would not reveal the price he is seeking.
“[The new agreement] will provide the money to get the new land up and running, and get it to market,” he said.
Mr Smith said it would be the biggest sale of land he had ever witnessed.
“It’ll be a massive windfall for us,” he added.
Despite the troubles, Mr Pemberton is hopeful that the deal will see him re-open the farm in a more stable way.
He said: “We’ll probably do something different, maybe go back to a more traditional way of doing things.”