Rise helps farmers

By Country News

A limited-edition drought relief milk has hit the shelves in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT, raising money for dairy farmers in drought-affected areas.

The Woolworths branded milk will be sold at $2.20 for two litres and $3.30 for three litres with the extra 10¢/litre to be distributed to NSW and Queensland dairy farmers by Parmalat, with the oversight of an independent drought relief committee.

The company has been selling its two-litre and three-litre range for an additional 10¢/litre since September 20, with Woolworths’ fresh food director Paul Harker saying the company has already raised $500000.

‘‘We’ve sent our first drought relief payment to Parmalat and will be working closely with them to ensure relief starts to flow through to drought-stricken dairy farmers as quickly as possible,’’ Mr Harker said.

The independent drought relief committee includes Premium Milk Ltd chair Peter Jervis, Dairy Connect chief executive officer Shaughn Morgan, Parmalat supply chain general manager Vince Houlihan and an independent auditor from KPMG.

Parmalat began distributing the monthly payments to more than 220 dairy farmers across NSW and Queensland on Monday.

Funds will be distributed to dairy farmers each month based on the volume of milk they provide to Parmalat, with a minimum safety net of $1000 per month for smaller farmers.

‘‘We understand this won’t fix the structural issues in the dairy industry and note the Federal Government is pursuing reforms proposed by the ACCC earlier this year,’’ Mr Harker said.

‘‘This effort is about providing much-needed relief from the devastating effects of drought, while government and industry work through the reforms needed to sustain the sector longer term.’’

Woolworths’ two-litre full cream and lite milk will remain available for customers at $2.