Coles deal heralds boom for Northern Rivers dairy farmers
THE milk will be flowing easily again for local farmers as Norco Co-operative Ltd has signed a major milk contract with supermarket giant Coles.
The arrangement is for Coles-branded milk to be supplied by the Lismore-based, farmer-owned co-operative as well as Devondale (Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co. Limited) starting from July 2014.
"We are very optimistic that (the agreement) will add to our business," Norco chairman Greg McNamara said.
"It will increase the through-put of milk from our dairy farmers and we can anticipate that there will be price rises for them too.
"Our aim is to have the milk price to go with the market."
The agreement will be for five years with Norco and 10 years with Devondale as current agreements with existing dairy processors end.
"We will be investing $6 million into our Labrador processing site in Queensland where we will be distributing milk from local farmers," Mr McNamara said.
The Norco brand won't be disappearing from the shelves, however, as Mr McNamara said the second component of the agreement was to give greater access for customers to their products.
"This agreement will really value-add on the Norco brand," he said. "We have already been supplying ice-cream to Coles for the last two to three years so this will be an extension of that."
Farmers won't be the only ones to benefit from this agreement, according to Norco CEO, Brett Kelly.
"This contract not only benefits our dairy farmers but also means consumers can now have greater confidence that there is a direct link from the farm to the supermarket shelf."