Lion Dairy & Drinks (Lion) announced it will temporarily increase the wholesale price of its Dairy Farmers and Pura branded white milk products to support its dairy farmers impacted by drought as part of a broader raft of support measures already in place for farmers in need.
From 1 October – 31 January, the temporary 10 cent per litre wholesale price increase will be applied to all Dairy Farmers and Pura 1L, 2L, and 3L white milk products and will be sold to participating retail outlets across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
Every cent of the funds raised in each state during the activation will be distributed to drought-affected dairy farmers in that state who supply Lion either directly or through the Dairy Farmers Milk Cooperative (DFMC).
Lion is committed to playing its part to help our dairy farmers through the drought crisis, and has already taken a number of other steps including:
- Offering our farmers impacted by the drought across New South Wales access to interest-free loans to purchase feed, under The Lion Dairy Pride Forage Loan Scheme;
- Offering our farmers access to discounted feed such as brewers’ grain and citrus pulp, which is sourced from Lion’s alcohol and juice operations;
- Helping to fund productivity improvements on farm through the Lion Dairy Pride Landcare Grants Scheme;
- Helping farmers improve all areas of their businesses, from milk quality through to effective business management, through Lion’s Dairy Pride online self-assessment tool; and
- Continuing to offer our Lion Dairy Pride Farmer Support Program – an independent and confidential 24 hour counselling support service to our farmers, their families and staff, to help them address any personal issues and access further support if needed.
Lion Dairy & Drinks Managing Director, Kathy Karabatsas, said: “With 100% of New South Wales drought-declared, along with areas across Northern Victoria and South-East Queensland, we know that the dairy farmers supplying us in these regions are doing it tough, especially with escalating costs including for feed and water.”
“We are grateful we have secured the support of major grocery and convenience customers, who have indicated their acceptance of this wholesale price increase to Dairy Farmers and Pura branded milk products, knowing that 100 per cent of the increase is going directly to the farmers who supply our milk.”
Lion also strives to provide clarity and transparency for our dairy farmers in relation to milk pricing and contracts. We offer farmers a variety of contract length and pricing options, including offering farmers in the Southern Region fixed and variable pricing options, with farmers able to select the option that best suits the needs of their business. Lion does not believe in retrospective changes in milk price. It has never introduced retrospective payments as part of its milk contracts and does not support them as a matter of principle.
Lion’s Farm Services Team will continue to work closely with all of our farmers in drought-affected regions to monitor conditions and do what it can to assist further.
HOW THE FUNDING SCHEME WILL WORK
Funds raised via the 10 cent per litre increase in wholesale pricing for Dairy Farmers and Pura white milk will be paid each month to Lion’s participating dairy suppliers in the impacted regions of New South Wales, Northern Victoria and South East Queensland as a special line item called Lion Drought Assistance.
A committee will oversee the payment process and provide appropriate independence and transparency. The Committee will comprise a management representative from the DFMC, a Lion direct dairy farmer and Murray Jeffrey, Lion’s Agricultural Procurement Director. The committee will meet regularly to oversee the scheme’s implementation and to ensure the timely delivery of funds to our drought-impacted farmers.
A representative from a professional auditing firm will be appointed as the scheme’s independent auditor and will be invited to attend Committee meetings.
Funds will be distributed amongst suppliers in the drought-affected regions on a cents-per-litre basis. For example, if the amount raised from the wholesale price increase in one state in a given month is $100,000, and the raw milk volume from suppliers in that state’s drought affected region is 5,000,000 litres in total, this will equate to a 2c per litre Lion Drought Assistance Payment to our dairy suppliers in that region. There will be no obligation on suppliers to accept any Lion Drought Assistance Payments.