Fonterra’s new $150 million cheese plant in Australia will help the co-op further capture the strong global demand for dairy, says chairman John Wilson.
The co-op and its North Island farmer suppliers were also bracing for flooding; two weeks ago, flooding caused by Cyclone Debbie had left many farms under water in the Bay of Plenty.
Fonterra’s head of Farm Source Bay of Plenty, Lisa Payne, says access to some farms was still affected by the flooding.
“The co-op is supporting those farmers as much as possible. We’d like to thank the huge number of farmers who called in with offers of help and support.
“Milk collected from farms in the local area is still being redirected to our manufacturing sites in Waikato.”
While damage to Fonterra’s Edgecumbe site has been minimal, most workers live in the nearby town which was cordoned off after the floodbank breached and homes were flooded.
Payne says some Fonterra staff have returned to the site and made good progress with cleaning and recovery. However, last week’s flooding was expected to put them back.
“It will be some days before we consider returning the site to full operations,” Payne says. “Our local Farm Source store will remain closed due to the flooding.”
Federated Farmers says for many farmers the loss of electricity will be a concern. Given many farmers made provision for generators, it is not known how much demand there will be; other farmers are being urged to lend generators to affected colleagues.
Feds is urging farmers with damaged milking gear to contact their processors and immediate neighbours. Farmers with irrigation damage are advised to contact Irrigation NZ for advice.