Woolworths has announced it will continue selling Drought Relief Milk for up to six more months, while it works with the dairy industry on longer-term reform measures.
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The supermarket increased the price of two-litre and three litre-milk by 10c per litre in October, in an effort to assist struggling dairy farmers. Since then, $3.1 million has been paid to more than 280 drought-affected dairy farmers across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
Justin Walsh, a fourth generation Jaspers Brush dairy farmer, has received $7000 in payments from the supermarket, and at the time said it made “a big difference”.
“We used it primarily to buy feed for the cows but we also caught up on bills that had been due for a while that we hadn’t been able to pay,” he said.
The amount paid is based on the volume of milk provided to Parmalat, with a minimum safety net of $1000 for smaller farmers.
Dairy Connect CEO and Drought Relief Committee member Shaughn Morgan welcomed the Woolworths drought relief extension.
“We’re grateful Woolworths has listened to Dairy Connect’s representations on behalf of dairy producers at this time of year and extended the sale of their drought relief milk range,” 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.”
Woolworths Fresh Food Director Paul Harker said while the 10c drought levy was a short-term measure of assistance for drought affected farmers, the supermarket would be working to find more sustainable solutions.
“We want to find a pathway to a more sustainable dairy industry over the long term and will be engaging closely with industry to this end over the coming months,” he said.
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