THE Berry Rural Co-operative is celebrating after its South Coast Milk took out a number of awards at the Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce Show, including overall champion milk.
The local co-operative took out the Jim Forsyth Perpetual Trophy for champion milk for its whole milk.
It also claimed gold medals for its whole milk, skim milk and lite milk and silvers for organic milk, organic lite milk and fresh cream.
Chairman Paul Timbs was delighted with the results.
“There were more than 1000 entries in the overall competition so to taste so much success was fantastic,” he said of the awards which were announced at the Sydney Showground Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park.
It’s not the first time the locals have claimed the champion milk award, securing a similar win in 2007.
That honour also puts the local co-operative in the running for the President’s Medal, the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW’s most prestigious award.
Since being established in 2006, the President’s Medal has recognised outstanding achievement in Australia’s food, wine and dairy industries.
“It is a great achievement, I don’t think we could have done any better,” Mr Timbs said.
“It’s certainly nice to get some recognition.
“We have had awards nearly every year we have entered, numerous silver medals but not many gold.
“We have continued to be in the winners’ circle but never tasted this much success at the one time.”
Seven farmers, predominantly from the Berry area, make up the co-operative that produces 1.5 million litres of milk a year.
The co-operative is also in the midst of establishing its own million dollar processing plant locally.
At the moment the group’s South Coast Milk is produced on local farms, trucked to Picton for processing and bottling, and then returned to the region for sale.
The co-op has plans to build the development in two stages on co-operative land in Old Creamery Lane in Berry.
The first stage is the construction of the plant which uses a section of the existing co-op site, while the second stage will be an upgrade of the office facilities.
The co-operative hopes to have its factory operating by the middle of the year, processing plain and flavoured milk and cheese.