In 2013 a handful of dairy farming families in the Mid North have helped secure their futures. They have secured a minimum price guarantee, with Woolworths, for their milk. In what was a rare deal for agriculture sector, the families have not only secured the deal but have joined a special brand – Farmers’ Own. The original farmers were from the Barossa and Mid North Dairy Farmers Cooperative when they were approached by Woolworths to work on something new. A total of six families took up the opportunity and include the Zwecks from Blyth, Mastermans from Auburn, Schulzes from Eudunda, Slopes from Riverton, Nietschkes from Nuriootpa and Kochs from Moculta. Little did they know they would see their faces on cartons of their milk on the shelves at Woolworths just 18 months after the initial proposal.
The brand began with a trial of just eight local stores within the Manning Valley and 12 Sydney stores in NSW. It’s success saw the brand expand into VIC, QLD, WA, SA and NT, all the while building direct relationships with Farmers from key provincial areas within these states (Margaret River WA. Otways Regions VIC, Sunshine Coast Hinterland QLD and Barossa Mid North Region SA). In a challenging time for Australian Dairy Farmers, Farmers Own has been a good news story.
Woolworths has direct relationships with the Farmers and ensure they are getting a good deal every time. Their goal is to pay the Farmers a good price for their milk that allows them to continue to produce quality milk. They pick up milk from their farms and transport directly to be processed so everyone knows exactly where the milk comes from that goes into Farmers’ Own milk. The Farmers are engaged in the branding and feel a sense of belonging to the brand because it is their milk that goes into each bottle. Woolworths work with the farmers on sustainability and good animal husbandry practices and the farmers and families are proudly active in promoting Farmers’ Own branded milk in their communities.
Woolworths said the expansion meant more than 2.5 million Woolworths customers would be “directly” linked to dairy farmers from the Manning Valley and milk straight from their farms. “We are extremely pleased about how well our customers have received Farmers’ Own milk,” said Tony De Thomasis, Woolworths Head of Trade. “We know they appreciate a great local product,” he said.
Woolworths said the direct relationship with farmers “gives farmers the end-to-end transparency from shed to shelf”, a longer term contract and a closer relationship with their customers.