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Family store scores March Achiever Award

As Agsafe gets ready to celebrate 20 years in the agvet chemical industry this year, Stephen Parsons will also be celebrating a similar milestone.

Mr Parsons, who also celebrates two decades in the business, received this month’s Agsafe Achievers award on behalf of his store, Fernland Agencies on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

Fernland started as a tiny operation out of Mr Parsons’ parents’ garage 35 years ago and has been a family owned company ever since.

Today, the business supplies exclusively to a horticultural market, particularly wholesale nurseries. In the last few years the business has expanded more into retail nurseries with home garden products.

“We like to see ourselves as a strong partner in the agriculture market,” he said. “We’re an importer of a lot items so we keep a lot of unique and specialised products that we distribute all over the country and also do a little exporting.”

The family owned business only became a member of the Agsafe family after moving into agvet chemicals for their turf care products three years ago.

The brand new Fernland store.

Mr Parsons said with the help of his local Agsafe Facilitator, Allan Porter, being compliant with his agvet chemical requirements was easy.

“We’ve got on very well with Allan,” he said. “When he first came we were expecting a policeman and that he was going to give us a fine. But he understood the issues we face and was there to help.”

Mr Porter said the Fernland team has achieved a lot from what they’ve come from to where they are now.

“Fernland has improved a lot in the past couple of years after moving from a crammed building to a brand new green-field site,” he said.

Mr Parsons said Mr Porter was also supportive of their unique pallet racking system.

“In the new facility the bund is actually an indent in the concrete floor … and the pallets racking sits down inside the bund. I don’t think Allan had ever seen a situation like it,” Mr Parsons said.

“But it works very well. The whole pallet racking is actually in a lowered section of the floor and while the forklift drives on the main level, it reaches into the lower level when it puts pallets in and out.”

Mr Parsons said with the help of Agsafe it wasn’t hard to be compliant with government regulations.

“Agsafe has helped us with our general workplace health and safety requirements,” he said. “The accreditation process makes sure we’re focused on WHS for a day or two just to make sure you think about it properly.”