Advocacy group Dairy Connect has joined with online platform Dairy Cocoon to launch an industry website to support smaller volume fresh dairy farmers with skills and education and to help 'build the value chain'.
The site at www.dairycocoon.com encourages small volume dairy producers to create their own consumer brands and build loyal markets for dairy products including milk, cheeses, yoghurt and gelato.
Dairy Cocoon is the brainchild of businesswoman and cheesemaker Cressida Cains from Robertson NSW, as part of her response to the crisis in the dairy industry.
On winning the 2021 NSW/ACT AgriFutures Rural Women's Award, Ms Cains put her experience and connections into a curated online platform containing small business tools and resources.
Dairy Cocoon supports small dairy farmers to transform the value chain by assisting them to:
- formulate business plans;
- find the educational resources they need; and
- get support from the community and mentors.
"We have already saved five dairy farms from closure and we're not even out of first gear," Ms Cains said .
"Dairy Cocoon is going to make a significant impact on the dairy industry in the years to come."
During her years in the dairy industry Ms Cains became concerned by the number of small dairy farmers shutting their farm gates, unable to maintain profitability under the current model of selling milk to processors.
"We import 105,000 tonnes of cheese annually and this is growing by 4000 tonnes a year," she said.
"Australians are eating more specialty cheese, but currently this demand is being met largely by overseas suppliers.
"By helping small dairy farmers produce their own branded milk, cheese, yoghurt or gelato is a way of ensuring that their family farms have a strong and profitable future for generations to come."
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Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said that the importance of a website such as Dairy Cocoon and its influence on dairy farmers could not be underestimated and Ms Cains was to be applauded for this initiative.
"Dairy Connect is proud to partner the launch of this vital website for the betterment of dairy farmers throughout Australia and help prevent dairy farmers from exiting agriculture," Mr Morgan said.
"The Australian dairy industry requires as much support as it can be given and initiatives such as the dairycocoon website and the information it will provide dairy farmers may assist in arresting the decline of Australian dairy farms.
"It is vital that dairy farmers can obtain information written and prepared by active dairy farmers for the information of existing dairy farmer."
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