WAFarmers milks success

Rueben HaleThe West Australian

WA's peak farming organisation WAFarmers is back in the black after selling half a million litres of milk in six months.

Under an exclusive deal with Coles, the struggling lobby group netted $100,000 of new money from the sales, which has catapulted the group back into a positive financial situation, after recording a loss of almost $300,000 last year.

Earlier in the year WAFarmers launched its own brand of milk, in an effort to find new ways to balance the books, with an ongoing membership decline and rising overheads.

Under a deal struck with international diary giant Parmalat, WAFarmers sold locally produced milk into the WA market under its new brand, WAFarmersFirst.

The milk has been made available in Coles stores for its first year on the market, with 20 cents from each litre sold returned to the federation as a royalty.

The royalties will be paid into a "project fund" that will assist WA farmers, such as by developing new markets.

WAFarmers president Dale Park said based on the brand's success, he was open to exploring new products to be labeled under the lobby group's brand.

"We have made an approach to Coles to do ice cream, but we weren't successful in getting them to take that on," he said.

"But based on that success of the milk we are keen to expand into different products."

Mr Park also hinted at ventures into exports under the WAFarmers brand.

"We have some exciting announcements to make in this space in the very near future," he said.

"WA has so much to offer world markets with its high quality produce and clean and green reputation, which is something we can capitlise on to return extra value to our State's producers."

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