VFF to milk new opportunities

By Rodney Woods

The VFF and its dairy commodity group, the UDV, have parted ways with Coles after the two-year Farmers’ Fund milk agreement came to an end.

The agreement saw 40¢ from every two-litre bottle of skim or full cream Farmers’ Fund milk sold in Coles supermarkets going to the VFF initiative Farmers’ Fund, a fund available to dairy farmers to apply for grants for infrastructure, education or expert advice to help build a more viable business.

VFF president David Jochinke said the organisation had decided to look for ‘‘new partnership opportunities’’.

‘‘The Farmers’ Fund agreement was always intended to be a two-year partnership between Coles and the VFF, instigated to deliver grants to dairy farmers in the southern milk pool,’’ Mr Jochinke said.

‘‘After the initial two-year period, the VFF has reviewed the agreement and decided not to continue with the Farmers’ Fund.

‘‘The Farmers’ Fund has provided support to many dairy farmers, but the VFF has decided to explore new partnership opportunities which may provide benefit to a broader spectrum of our members, particularly in light of worsening drought conditions in parts of Victoria.’’

A Coles spokesperson was pleased with what the fund had achieved during its lifespan.

‘‘We are delighted that the Farmers’ Fund has raised more than $2million, including a $1million donation from the Coles Nurture Fund and 40¢ from every two-litre bottle of Farmers’ Fund milk sold at Coles supermarkets,’’ the spokesperson said.

‘‘These funds have resulted in more than 190 grants for dairy farmers over the past two years.’’