September 9, 2015
Dairy farmer John Fairley has achieved an increase in sales and soil carbon by choosing to value add to his milk production.
John and his wife Sally own Country Valley Milk at Picton, NSW, and began producing milk, yoghurt and cream in 2004.
The family has a 160 year-long heritage on the same farm with their son Tom being seventh generation to work the same plot of land.
In 1999, John facilitated a family transfer and was forced to subdivide the farm, leaving the family with a small dairy of 129ha and little scope for expansion.
“That was when we decided to build our own factory and value add our milk into bottled, milk, yoghurt and cream,’’ Mr Fairley said.
“Our philosophy has always been the triple bottom line.
“We concentrate on looking after the environment, the community and producing wholesome, health products.
“The finances then look after themselves. If I am to keep everyone in the value chain profitable (including the supermarkets), I have to charge top price, never discounting.’’
Country Valley Milk has won the Royal Agricultural Society’s Presidents Medal in 2008 for its natural yoghurt.
The company claimed the most successful milk exhibitor in 2011 at Sydney Royal, the first time a small company had won the prize.
“I can claim a 45 per cent increase in sales since the $2 milk debacle hit the supermarket shelves in 2011,’’ Mr Fairley said.
“This was a major win for our approach in the business.
“A 25 per cent increase in soil carbon on the farm and a biological approach to farming is a win for the environment and the cows.’’
John will be a guest speaker at the Agri-Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday at 10.30am, and demonstrating butter making at Farm Gate on Tuesday at 9.30am and 1pm.