A new dairy co-operative has been established in north-east Victoria after securing grant funding.
The Alpine Valleys Dairy Consortium, made up of Kiewa Valley farmers has registered Mountain Milk Cooperative Ltd.
With four founding farming families and about 18 million milk litres, the co-operative plans to be selling milk by mid next year.
Co-op chairman Stuart Crosthwaite said his family, along with three others, sought assistance from the Farming Together program because they wanted to create a more positive outlook for the local industry.
Canadian-based Saputo Dairy Australia appears set to buy Murray Goulburn’s assets for $1.3billion.
‘‘We felt it was time to act,’’ Mr Crosthwaite said.
‘‘As farmers we want to have more control of our future and not be directed by outside interests.’’
‘‘We are planning to introduce a range of initiatives over the next six months which will build an even stronger link between our farms and our consumers, so people can trust their milk is coming from some of the best dairies in Australia.’’
He said the co-op planned to start small, but it would be ‘‘looking to grow by taking on new members’’.
‘‘But we need time to organise the business, create partnerships and to build a solid foundation to grow from,’’ Mr Crosthwaite said.
‘‘Our vision is to create a new generation dairy co-operative which will provide ongoing benefit and jobs to the communities of north-east Victoria.
‘‘We are currently looking to establish partnerships with milk processors who understand our vision and who are prepared to work alongside us in making this happen.’’