South Coast Dairy has been forced to sell to a Sydney company due to financial difficulties, resulting in a number of job cuts and sparking concerns about the future of the award-winning brand.
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South Coast Dairy has been bought by Sydney-based company Australasian Dairies.(ABC Rural: Kim Honan)

Key points:
Award-winning brand South Coast Dairy has been bought by Sydney based company Australasian Dairies
Last Friday, 15 employees were made redundant when the Berry plant closed
The co-operative will continue to produce locally sourced milk.

The south coast milk co-operative has been bought by Australasian Dairies, a Sydney-based dairy company that owns Nature One and Nepean River Dairy, with a handover of companies taking place over the next few weeks.

Fifteen part-time and casual employees were made redundant last Friday after the company decided to close its Berry plant.

In a statement, the co-operative said it would continue to produce local milk.

“The restraints of a small processing plant plus our ever-growing market, combined with financial difficulties. led us to this outcome.”

“We will continue to operate as the South Coast Dairy brand, while the business will transition and operate under Australasian Dairies.”

“With its direction, we can finally see our milk reaching its full potential as we envisaged years ago,” the statement said.

South Coast Dairy said with the new partnership it was planning on expanding its range of products and would continue to sell locally sourced and produced milk.

‘A tough industry’
Ian Zandstra, a local Nowra farmer and NSW Government Dairy advocate, said despite the success of the cooperative in the past, it was a tough industry.

“There is no doubt that smaller businesses do struggle in this competitive environment,” he said.

“Dairy is very, very competitive.”

Mr Zandstra said it was unlikely milk from other regions would be sold under the South Coast Dairy banner but this decision could have future benefits.

“It is a great risk that someone would do that and breach what is a very prominent brand and I think they would be cautious of that.”

“They obviously feel with their experience and their financial backing they can find a stronger place in this very competitive market,” he said.

“The demand is there, they’ve got a brand, they’ve got prominence. They are on the south coast. A lot of people live here.”

“If they can invest more to make it work better that will be good for them and good for everyone.”

The brand has received a number of significant awards recently, including four gold medals, five silver and a bronze at the 2018 Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce competition.

Thirteen congressional members from New England are urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to intervene on behalf of farmers left in the lurch by Danone SA, the French food giant that owns the Horizon Organic brand.

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