19 Dec 2011

Farmers want Govt involved in milk in schools

6:37 am on 19 December 2011

Farmers would be keen to see the government share the cost of a milk-in-schools programme if Fonterra decides to extend it through the country.

There has been a positive response from farmers to the co-operative's decision to start a trial scheme next year, providing free milk to Northland primary schools.

The programme will run for three terms, and if successful will be extended nationwide at the start of 2013.

Fonterra says it would welcome support for a national programme from other sources, including the government.

Prime Minister John Key has applauded the co-operative's initiative but there has not yet been any indication whether the government would be open to contributing.

Federated Farmers' dairy chair Willy Leferink says a national milk in schools programme has been estimated to cost up to $50 million, and he thinks it would be reasonable to expect the government to consider sharing the costs as well as the benefits.

Federated Farmers will also be asking Fonterra to make sure its trial packaging for the scheme clearly states that the milk comes from New Zealand dairy farmers.