Scott Neiwand is running a dynamic company from Rupanyup Victoria, a town 300km northwest of Melbourne with a population of approximately 500 people.
Scott’s family has a grain farm south of Rupanyup named Wits End. While Scott was attending university in Melbourne, he would come home to the farm in the holidays, and take back stockpiles of red lentils and chick peas to Melbourne to eat and share with his flatmates.
The Victorian grown red lentils and chickpeas were so well-received, Scott began selling them in 600g bags at markets around Melbourne as a side job. His university friend who studied design created a logo and brand which paid homage to the home property, and Wits End Pulses was born.
Scott said the sales growth for the business has come primarily from social media. “The beauty of social media is that we are able to convey the entire story of the product and the growing cycle to customers. They see us planting the crop, we are able to share our landscape and crop progress throughout the season. The social media and imagery provide a level of brand involvement that a brochure or advertisement can not convey.”
The Instagram page of Wits End Pulses is full of beautiful photos of the farm through the entire year, plant stages, foodie shots of the lentils and chickpeas integrated into meals, BOM weather maps, export infographics, food award medals, and shots of Rupanyup and the local area, including the newly painted Rupanyup Silos. It provides a way to visually share the entire story of the business.
Three years ago, Scott moved back to Rupanyup to farm full time. The property grows wheat, barley, canola, chickpeas, lentil and faba beans. Scott said “the lifestyle drew me back to the farm, that and the ability to work for myself.”
This move back to the farm did not end Scott’s involvement in the Melbourne marketplace, but the distribution model changed. Scott transitioned from selling at markets, to online retail sales
and wholesale to restaurants around Melbourne and the Bellarine Peninsula. The focus on restaurants has been an advantage for the company, as Scott has found the restaurants to be very receptive to the product. “Victoria grows some of the best pulses in the world. It seems illogical for restaurants to use imported products.”
All Wits End products come from the Neiwand farm, and there is excess production to allow for future sales growth. The next stage of growth for the company will come from expanding their restaurant customer base, and adding further efficiencies by packaging the product and distributing it from Melbourne. On the farming side of Wits End, Scott manages to run the retail
business while putting in the hours in the paddock to grow the crops. The property runs John Deere machinery, and the Neiwand family has a long association with the Emmetts Rupanyup branch.
Scott said they buy John Deere because they love reliable machinery. John Deere has served them well and provided the level of reliability that they require. They are also excited about the precision ag capability that John Deere equipment has. “We have started our journey with precision ag and will continue to implement new technology as it’s released. If we can see that a new technology will bring value, we are more than happy to implement it,” Scott said.
When asked what he is most excited about for the future of agriculture, Scott said “We are in a great space and have a huge opportunity ahead of us - as the population grows, the role of agriculture will continue to be more and more important. We are uniquely positioned in Australia to produce and supply a really good quality product.”
Thank you Scott for sharing your story!
This article originally appeared in Emmetts magazine Field of Dreams. To get your copy, click here.