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Consortium of NSW dairy farmers win milk wars battle

A group of seven dairy farmers in northern New South Wales supplying milk to Woolworths believe the deal they struck today has secured their future.

From today the supermarket will sell its Farmers’ Own premium milk brand in 105 stores across NSW. The chain said the decision followed a successful trial, which proved customers would buy the product.

This is the first time Woolworths will directly work with the farmers in Manning Valley, who will now have greater access to a huge customer base for their product.

Woolworths Head of Trade, Tony De Thomasis, said the experience has proven to be a success for the supermarket, farmers and consumers alike, commenting that consumers appreciate a product they know to be truly local.

Manning Valley dairy farmer, Tim Bale, said he is pleased to be working directly with the supermarket, as it will ensure a fairer price for their product.

“We know that customers want farmers to get a fair price for their produce and our direct relationship with Woolworths is delivering that,” Bale said. He added that the relationship gives the farmers end-to-end transparency from shed to shelf, a longer-term contract and a closer relationship with their customers.

The price paid by Woolworths to the seven dairy farmers is commercial in confidence, but De Thomasis says he believes it to be a fair and sustainable price.

Lansdowne farmer Geoff Nicholson also feels fortunate to have signed with the supermarket, and said it was a question of survival.

“The prices we were getting at the time, and have been getting, just weren’t sustainable, and the processors were playing pretty hardball, so we thought let’s do something for ourselves,” he said.