Millions for organic expansion

By Dairy News

A $65 MILLION expansion of an organic dairy processing plant in north Geelong is expected to create 60 new jobs and generate $95 million in dairy exports.

Announced in October, the expansion will see the Organic Dairy Farmers Australia processing plant construct the country’s first dedicated organic nutritional dairy powder dryer.

ODFA is the largest co-operative of certified organic dairy farms and the biggest supplier of organic milk in Australia.

The $55 million spray-drying facility, which is being built by Corio Bay Dairy Group, will provide a vital ‘spring solution’ for the calving season’s spike in milk supply, the company says.

The spray dryer will have the capacity to process up to 200 000 litres of fresh organic milk a day, increasing processing capacity by 73 million litres a year.

The skim from the milk supply will go to the dryer to make into infant milk powder while the fat, or the cream, will go to mostly butter and cheese making to be marketed under the brand True Organic.

ODFA chief executive Stewart Price said at less than half a per cent of Australia’s milk production, organic milk was under-represented in the Australian market when compared to the rest of the world.

“There is a huge demand for organic butter, and huge demand for organic cream,” Mr Price said.

“We haven’t been able to capture or satisfy that demand because we couldn’t bring more milk on. The dryer has allowed us to recruit more members and farmers which, with more organic milk, is opening up more markets to us.”

Mr Price said 25 of the new jobs would come online before Christmas with work on the dryer to start early January.

To be built on a site adjoining the Organic Dairy Farmers Australia plant in Cowie St, the dryer will be owned by the Corio Bay Dairy Group, a joint venture with infant formula and milk powder supplier Wattle Health Australia and Niche Dairy.

ODFA, which was launched in 2002 with 16 farmers, currently has more than 50 farmers and represents more than 70 per cent of Australia’s overall organic milk supply.

The Victorian Government has contributed $10 million towards the plant’s construction.