"> Norco records $5 million profit - eDairyNews-EN
Suppliers to Australia’s oldest dairy co-operative in Queensland and New South Wales are receiving an average of about 70 cents litre in farm gate milk price.
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Norco chief executive officer Michael Hampson.

Norco is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year and has recorded an operating profit of $5.4 million on a turnover of about $680 million for the 2019-20 financial year.

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has forecast an average milk price for Australian dairy farmers this financial year around 47 cents/litre, down from the 50s in the previous year.

Norco chairman Michael Jeffery said last year’s result was achieved after increasing the base farm gate milk price paid to suppliers during the financial year by $17.1 million in an effort to address the severe increases in production costs experienced on farm.

The 100 per cent farmer owned co-operative mainly processes milk for the liquid milk market and ice cream products, and also runs a chain of rural supply stores.

Chief executive officer Michael Hampson said despite the disrupted year with drought, bushfires and COVID-19 the co-operative was able to increase the base farm gate milk price paid to member suppliers by $17.1 million.

He said the Norco brand accounted for $154.7 million in milk sales during the 2019/20 year, representing an overall growth rate of 15.9 percent.

Mr Hampson said his management team was focused on continuing to post results that would allow its farmer members to reinvest in their own businesses.

“Every decision we make is for the benefit and sustainability of our farmer members, the community and our co-operative,” Mr Hampson said.

“Between drought, bushfires and a global pandemic, the past year has been without precedent, however by delivering change and empowering our people, we have been able to record a large increase in value for our farmers and lay the foundation for further success.

“Norco is ultimately here for our farmer members, our team members and customers and we thank all of them for the contribution they have made to this excellent result.”

Mr Hampson said an increase in consumer demand would also allow Norco to further expand product lines.

“With Australians increasingly community focused when it comes to their purchasing habits, we have conducted extensive research to identify new products for them to enjoy and look forward to meeting their demands soon,” he said.

Norco processed about 214 million litres, up from 195 million litres the previous year.

Asked whether the co-operative was interested in acquisitions and had the capability to expand, Mr Hampson said the company was always looking at ways to increase value to its members.

Norco ended the year with $39 million in reserves.

Mr Hampson said an increase in consumer demand would also allow Norco to further expand product lines.

“With Australians increasingly community focused when it comes to their purchasing habits, we have conducted extensive research to identify new products for them to enjoy and look forward to meeting their demands soon,” he said.

A dairy checkoff group says holiday demand for butter is strong this year. Suzanne Fanning with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin tells Brownfield sales have not fallen since the start of the pandemic.

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