Dairy relief plan extended

By Country News

Advocacy group Dairy Connect has welcomed Woolworths’ announcement that the supermarket will extend its dairy farmer drought relief program for up to six more months.

The Drought Relief Milk Program had provided $3.1million in relief payments to more than 280 drought-affected dairy farmers across NSW, Queensland and Victoria since it began in October.

A limited-edition milk range offers customers the option to buy Woolworths full-cream and Woolworths light milk varieties at $2.20 for two litres and $3.30 for three litres, with 10¢/litre going to dairy farmers in drought-affected areas.

Dairy Connect president Graham Forbes said they were grateful Woolworths had listened to their representations on behalf of dairy producers at this time of year.

‘‘We call on other retailers to immediately follow the positive lead of Woolworths and implement similar programs now,’’ Mr Forbes said.

‘‘This will ensure that dairy farmers who provide their fresh nutritious milk to these supermarkets receive the benefits during these current harsh times.’’

He said the Woolworths drought relief range of milks had been shown to have worked and had provided support to dairy farmers across drought-affected States.

Chief executive officer Shaughn Morgan said Dairy Connect had been a major proponent of the Woolworths drought relief initiative since its inception.

‘‘The announcement is great Christmas news for dairy producers and dairy communities on the eastern seaboard who supply Woolworths with fresh nutritious milk via their processors such as Parmalat, who are to be congratulated,’’ Mr Morgan said.

‘‘Our farmer members have used the Woolies drought relief funds during the past three or four months to underpin the cost of buying-in fodder for their cows.

‘‘This has allowed some producers to slow the process of destocking that had been brought about by dwindling fodder supplies on dairy farms across Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

‘‘Importantly, the industry has also welcomed the ongoing and sympathetic support of Woolworths consumers who have supported the drought relief program and purchased the specially marked milk.

‘‘While many producers have welcomed recent rain storms, the impact of drought persists as dairy farming families and communities move into Christmas and the new year.’’