MILK FIGHTBACK: Jo Madden of Big River Dairy with some of her cows - producing their own milk and distributing it in the Clarence Valley
MILK FIGHTBACK: Jo Madden of Big River Dairy with some of her cows - producing their own milk and distributing it in the Clarence Valley Adam Hourigan

Dairy duo with a bottler deal

AS MARKET forces continue to squeeze the price of milk, Clarence Valley dairy farmers Rod and Jo Madden are turning their backs on the price wars.

With the new processing and bottling plant on their property in Southgate scheduled to be up and running by the end of next week, the Maddens say Big River Milk will deliver a new kind of product to the Clarence Valley.

"The trend in farming is to value add and take the product directly to the market," Mr Madden said.

"This is exactly what we're doing here. We plan to offer something different.

"That is, milk produced and processed in the Clarence Valley, with minimal additives and returned to the people of the Clarence Valley.

Big River Milk's motto is: "What the cows give us, we give you".

Owners Rod and Jo Madden say the idea of establishing a processing and bottling enterprise came after the Southgate dairy farm suffered multiple disasters.

"We had several floods, our bridge washed away, and our big shed was destroyed by fire," Mr Madden said. "We aim simply to make the farm viable. The cost of everything, like electricity and feed, keeps rising; meanwhile the price of milk is going down. We had to do something to turn a profit."

The Maddens say they have been talking with local cafes and corner stores and have had a lot of interest, but they don't expect to be taking on any big orders until they can deliver their first bottle.

Which is why the Maddens are also calling on the community to ask for Big River Milk at their local shop, hoping public demand for their products will help to drive the market.

Consumers will have a chance to try the milk at the Gate to Plate Festivale on September 15, when Big River Milk hosts a market stall.

The product lines will include strawberry, chocolate, coffee and caramel flavoured milks, as well as full cream and low fat white milk, all homogenised and pasteurised on the farm. Big River Milk plans to offer a home delivery service from early next year, and in the meantime are looking for stockists. For all enquiries call 0427 445 225



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