Matthew Weir, Norco dairy farmer.
Norco, Australia’s largest and oldest dairy cooperative, announced an increase in milk prices in May and June, leading to an infusion of $ 1.6 million to support its farming base after an exceptionally difficult period of production.
The increase will result in 281 active Norco members receiving an additional five cents per liter, paid as a co-op premium above previously recommended milk prices. This will bring the average price to 84 cents per liter – a step that recognizes the difficult operating conditions experienced on the farm.
Norco CEO Michael Hampson commented that it has been a particularly difficult time for members of their farmers who have faced unprecedented challenges due to recent natural disasters in North New Wales and South Queensland combined with rapidly rising production costs.
“We are constantly looking for ways to raise the price of milk for our members and the industry as a whole, and given the devastating impact of recent weather events on Norco’s supply base, there has never been a more important time to provide this support to farmers,” he said.
“After the flood, many of our farmers have tens of millions in repair costs. This comes after periods of rising operating costs and declining production due to significant and prolonged weather conditions that put additional pressure on cash flows on our members. ”
Hampson added that over the past three seasons, Norco has demonstrated its commitment to raising farm prices in excess of opening prices in June / July, with closing prices consistently exceeding initial opening offers.
“This is what we are incredibly proud of and sets Norco apart from other major processors in North New Wales and Queensland,” Hampson said.
In addition, Norco recognizes the need to do more and receive further financial support to help farmers in the recovery process.
According to Hampson, future price increases will be crucial in ensuring the viability of dairy farming for their members, so they remain committed to further improving prices where possible.
As a result, the Cooperative is currently studying a further increase in milk prices for fiscal year 2022/23, which will be announced on June 1 or earlier.
Hampson said that while their main focus is on supporting member farmers, the co-op remains equally committed to helping preserve the future of the Australian diary industry.
“We need to invest in building a sustainable future for our dairy farmers, and for that our farmers need to make a profit. If they can’t, it reflects an underestimation of their product, which indicates that the supply chain needs to change this equation of value, ”he said.
“Norco certainly understands this and is working hard to provide value not only for our members but for the entire industry.”
Consumer support will also play an important role in assisting farmers in recovery.
“Consumers may see a slight increase in prices when buying Norco, but they can be confident that every penny goes back to help our farmers recover,” Hampson said. “By buying Norco, consumers are helping to protect the future of our dairy industry.”