17 Apr 2013

Dairy scare makes organics important - farmer

1:13 pm on 17 April 2013

An organic dairy farmer says the latest chemical health scare involving Fonterra's milk has once again made organic farmers important to the co-op.

Fonterra's been holding a series of farmer meetings this week with its organic suppliers telling them its organics business is once again turning a profit.

Further, it will extend the contracts of some of its organic suppliers in the central and lower North Island which were due to expire this year, by two or three years.

Many of them had been told in 2011 the co-op no longer wanted their organic milk due to a lack of global demand.

Federated Farmers organic dairy spokesperson, Gray Beagley, who farms in Manawatu, said the farmers with contract extensions were pretty happy.

But he said a two year contract extension did not fill any organic farmer with confidence.

Gray Beagley said Fonterra's organic suppliers were being treated poorly by the co-op which wanted them one minute, and not the next.

He said this approach to its organics business means Fonterra would not be able to increase organic milk in the future if it needed to.

Fonterra said it appreciated its organic farmers were looking for certainty but it was critical that it got its organics business right for the benefit of the whole co-op.