Tuesday, 23 January 2024 07:55

Organic dairy co-op files for liquidation

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Organic Dairy Hub’s product range included A3 milk powders. Organic Dairy Hub’s product range included A3 milk powders.

A co-operative touted as New Zealand's only 100% farmer-owned organic milk producer has gone bust.

Organic Dairy Hub, formed in March 2015, made liquid and UHT milk, cheese and milk powder using third party processors. The products were sold locally and exported.

According to the Companies Office, ODH directors, made up of farmers and independents, called in the liquidators, KPMG's Leon Bowker and Luke Norman, on December 1 last year.

In their first report, the liquidators say the company is being wound up after ceasing trading.

"After paying any remaining creditors, remaining funds will be distributed to shareholders. This is a solvent liquidation and will remain solvent for the period of the liquidation."

ODH was formed by 37 organic dairy farmers, with a third base in Waikato.

In a resource consent application to Waikato Regional Council in 2019, ODH stated that "by joining together as one, with one common passion, ODH would be a platform of highly skilled organic farmers".

But on December 1 last year, ODH directors Michael Allen Brown, Cameron Farrand, Sharleen Gardner, John Wafer, Frank Goodin and Ian Cumming voted to liquidate the company.

A "statement of affairs" filed by the directors shows that on November 24 last year, ODH had $50,000 in the bank, $31,000 worth of stock, $54,000 in receivables and plant and equipment valued at $10,000.

Its only liability was $439 owed unsecured creditors, leaving the company with net assets worth $144,800.

The directors expect liquidator's costs to reach $20,000 plus another $35,000 for legal and consultancy.

ODH's first product under the 'Ours Truly' brand was A3 fresh, full cream milk, initially delivered via door-to-door subscription.

It also launched Ours Truly brand organic A3 whole milk and skim milk powder. The products had A2 Beta-casein and were certified under US Department of Agriculture's National Organic Programme (NOP) standards.

ODH collected milk daily from its farmer base, stretching from Northland to Wairarapa. About 20% of milk was turned into milk powders and nutritional products, processed at Waikato Innovation Park in Ruakura and generally exported to Australia and Asia, with some New Zealand customers as well.

Dairy News understands that ODH farmer suppliers are now supplying Fonterra, which hopes to process over 100m litres of organic milk this season.

Fonterra paid its organic farmer suppliers a record $10.50/kgMS last season.

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