Victorian dairy business looking to expand into Tasmania


True Organic, a farmers' co-operative based in North Geelong, is interested in meeting Tasmanian farmers at Agfest.

Victorian organic dairy cooperative True Organic is looking for Tasmanian operators at Agfest.
True Organic, a farmers' co-operative based in North Geelong, has about 30 Victorian businesses supplying them.
They have their own line of cheeses and butter and also supply milk to Pure Organic, Lemnos and Five:am, Camperdown dairy and L'artisan.
Chief executive Stewart Price said the cooperative is at Agfest to gauge how many Tasmanian farmers are interested in supplying them.
"Tasmanian farmers have been showing an interest in True Organic for six to seven months,” he said. "We have had at least twenty Tasmanian farmers approach us with serious interest.”
Dairy farmers in Tasmania and the rest of the country were shocked when the country's two big processors, Murray Goldburn and Fonterra, slashed the price they pay suppliers this week.
Murray Goldburn told suppliers they were dropping the suppliers payment due to “very low commodity prices ". 
“Due to the timing of the reduction of the milk price from $5.60 kilograms per milk solid to a range of $4.75 to $5.00 kgms, this will result in suppliers having being paid more for their milk over the whole year. This gap will reduce by lowering the opening milk price from $5.60 to $5.47 per kgms,” they said in a statement.
Tasmania’s other big processor Fonterra also followed suit by dropping their price from $5.60 to $5.00.
Mr Price said the decision to drop prices made it hard on farmers.
“It’s pretty hard on the industry, especially after the drought. My heart goes out to the farmers," he said.
True Organic have maintained the same paying price for nearly six consecutive years, he said, and the price is on average 40 percent higher than other companies. 
"Organic products are on a separate market, we have our own premium product so we differentiate from the commodity market," he said.
Mr Price said that every farm is different and the cooperative works alongside farmers to use organic methods.
The environmental, social and health impact are the three main reasons that people are drawn to organic farming, he said, adding that with Tasmanian dairy farmers showing so much interest, there may be the opportunity to start supplying True Organic with produce on a long term basis.
True Organics can be found in the Dairy Tas LegenDairy Expo tent.