A new company buying milk in northern Victoria aims to become a unique and niche player in the dairy industry.
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GV Milk national sales manager Dan Hoch (left) with chief executive officer Mark Ryan.

GV Milk has 13 suppliers and about 50 million litres under management after 12 months in operation.

Although it’s not the first company to buy and on-sell to processors, its founder Mark Ryan wants to build a company that sets it apart from others.

He wants to create a business that forms long-term relationships with processors, extends support services to its suppliers and enhances the public perception of the industry.

“We think it’s unique in Australia; we certainly haven’t heard of anyone else doing it this way,” Mr Ryan said.

The support services the company intends to provide include milk quality, nutrition, hay and silage making, irrigation and water efficiency, calf rearing, farm safety and business decision making.

The company has a mental health professional with a business background on call and is negotiating for the provision of veterinary services.

To be successful, supply companies have to be able to successfully negotiate with processors, and Mr Ryan said he had already had conversations with the major companies and a range of smaller processors and they have been supplying companies under a deal.

He said the companies were chiefly interested in quality, volume and security of supply.

“We’ve been talking to them about next year’s contracts and we’ve had a positive response. I think they understand we’re different and not just brokers.”

Asked about what the company was paying, Mr Ryan declined to disclose the exact price but said it was competitive with the market.

“It’s not all about getting the most money in just one season, but it’s about sustainability for both parties in the long term.”

The company has had a humble start, being managed from Mr Ryan’s Harston home without a full-time staff member and with advice from Echuca-based business consultant and nutritionist Dan Hoch.

“Our goal is to keep processors and farmers happy and in doing that to grow organically,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan has been dairying for about 25 years, during which time he shifted the business emphasis to livestock, but in the past eight years moved back to largely dairying with a herd of about 300 cows.

About three years ago he joined a supplier group which encouraged him to think about how processors and suppliers could work together.

“I think suppliers and processors have been growing apart in recent years, due to a range of factors.

“We should be talking together about how we can make the industry better.

“I’m pretty positive about the dairy industry but I think we can achieve more if we work together.”

Nominations are open for Fonterra’s board election but a repeat of the drama that rocked the vote three years ago can be ruled out.

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