Stanhope’s new state-of-the-art cheese plant is a step closer to making cheese after the first milk flowed through the lines.
The milk, collected from northern Victorian farms, will be made into cheese destined for the domestic and global markets.
Stanhope dairy farmer Rob Schloss said the new cheese plant would have a very positive impact on the local community, which was looking forward to seeing Stanhope cheese on supermarket shelves again.
‘‘For the community, I think it’s going to be a big plus to have the cheese plant operating again, and it will put some positivity back into the industry in the north,’’ Mr Schloss said.
Fonterra began its $140million dollar rebuild and expansion of its Stanhope site in 2015, after the cheese plant was destroyed by fire in December 2014.
Fonterra Australia managing director René Dedoncker said this began a new era at Stanhope.
‘‘Today is an important milestone for our Australian business and a key pillar of our strategy,’’ Mr Dedoncker said.
‘‘Our investment in the long-term future of the Stanhope cheese plant will help us meet growing global demand for cheese and have positive flow-on effects for the local community and our farmers.
‘‘The plant will process millions of litres of milk from across northern Victoria each year to make cheese and whey.
‘‘This means certainty for our farmers that they will have a home for their milk.
‘‘Everyone involved in the Stanhope rebuild and expansion has done an exceptional job readying the site for first milk.
‘‘Before long we’ll be making mozzarella at Stanhope for the first time, which will soon be topping delicious pizzas in China.’’
Over the next eight weeks, the new modern plant will ramp up production in readiness to supply Fonterra’s full range of cheese for domestic and global markets.
The cheese plant will be officially opened at an event in mid-August. To celebrate the milestone, Fonterra is sharing some special moments from the farm gate in a video released last week.
Fonterra has announced a forecast full-year range price of $5.30 to $5.70/kg of milk solids.