Dairy farmers form new group

By Country News

A group of northern Victorian dairy farmers have come together to explore new and progressive ways of doing business to the benefit of suppliers and processors.

Dairy Farmers of Victoria Consortium (DFVC), established by local dairy farmers including Kyabram’s Dean and Sarah Kendrick and farm adviser Dan Hoch, are interested in developing different and innovative relationships with processors.

The ACCC inquiry, along with the proposed mandatory dairy code of conduct, persuaded DFVC to explore other progressive ways of doing business for the benefit of supplier and processor.

After engaging with like-minded farmers in the region who also believed in the need for a new way of doing business, DFVC sought a formal commitment from about 25 farmers within a 100km radius of Echuca before undertaking a formal tender process.

Seeking interest from all processors in Victoria who were willing to purchase the group’s milk, DFVC ultimately entered into a confidential purchase agreement with Parmalat.

‘‘We are working together with the processor,’’ Mr Kendrick said.

‘‘It’s a whole new process for dairy, which has given us light at the end of the tunnel and a confidence to stay in the industry moving forward.

‘‘The invitation to tender attracted a number of interested parties and after a process of evaluation, we were extremely pleased to sign a purchase agreement with Parmalat.’’

The Kendrick family firmly believes the process will help keep it in the industry.

The family entered the industry five years ago and it has been a hard slog, particularly during the past couple of years.

‘‘There are other groups out here doing great stuff and every initiative is helping because we don’t want to be losing any more of these great farmers we have in this industry,’’ Mr Kendrick said.

Koondrook dairy farmer Skeeta Verhey joined the consortium because it was offering something different, and said it had also been good to sit in a room with other like-minded farmers who were looking for different opportunities to secure a future.

The consortium will repeat the tender process in April to prepare for the 2019-20 season.

■For further information, email: admin@dfvc.com.au