A 38-degree day fittingly greeted community leaders for the unveiling of a new roof at the Horsham Rural Livestock Exchange on Tuesday.
Standing under the 23,400 square meter roof, shade and a pleasant cool breeze offered a glimpse at one of the many benefits of the new facility.
Horsham Rural City Council mayor Robyn Guilline said the roof provided protection for livestock and farmers, electricity from 100-kilowatt solar panels and a 500 kilolitre rainwater storage system.
She said it was a state-of-the-art facility Council was proud to deliver.
"These upgrades ensure Horsham remains a modern and competitive livestock exchange, generating over $70 million of stock sales annually for our wider Wimmera region," she said.
The roof began construction in January with Ballarat-based company MKM Constructions at a cost of $3.498 million.
The project received $1.49 million of federal funding in March, 2019, with the remaining paid by Council.
Nationals MP Anne Webster said the facility was "magnificent" on Tuesday.
Former Horsham Rural City Councillor and former chair of the Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange board David Grimble said the benefits of the roof were already evident.
"We're seeing stock, particularly on hot days and rainy days, being in a lot better condition," he said.
"And hence we're seeing the support of the buyers in a way that is really significant.
"This project has really surpassed the expectations of the board. It is quality built, built for purpose, and delivered well ahead of schedule."
Laharum farmer and community representative Ray Zippel said the sale yards were a vitally important facility in the region.
The exchange is Victoria's fourth-largest sheep and lamb market, attracting vendors from as far as the South Australian border and southern-New South Wales.
"Another thing that a lot of people might not think about is it's a really important social hub here," Mr Zippel said.
"You get 200 farmers in here on sale day, and everyone is standing there having a chat and chewing the fat.
"I know with a growing concern around mental health, we've always promoted this as a meeting place for the community."
Horsham council owns and operates the livestock exchange as a self-funding, discrete financial entity.
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