Fonterra’s rural service subsidiary, Farm Source says farmer shareholders are adapting well to its new trading model under COVID-19 restrictions.
“Would you plan to do this when you have a $5 payout? Of course you wouldn’t,” he told the Dairy Women’s Network annual meeting. “But of course five months ago when we designed this it was $8/kgMS. And that’s when we made the decision to go with it.”
But in other ways he says it was perfect timing because of the special deals and Farm Source rewards it offers farmers.
“We’re not doing this all overnight; be assured we know what it means with the current payout. But a lot of this would have happened with the store refresh anyway.”
The first RD1 store to switch to Farm Source was in Methven last month and the next will be Edgecumbe, Minkhorst told Rural News.
Farm Source is much more than just a rebranding of RD1, he says. “It’s a way to describe all its relationships with the farmer under that one brand.
“When you think about Fonterra – NZ’s biggest company – where do you go to visit it? You can’t go to the factory due to biosecurity reasons and health and safety so we don’t have a strong connection – there’s no place to go and visit.
Ninety-five percent of Fonterra farmers live within 15km of an RD1 store so it’s a perfect place to create these hubs.”
Minkhorst says within two weeks of the Methven Farm Source opening the local irrigation trust held its board meeting there and a farmer’s son came to have a job interview there. “With the poor wifi they came to benefit from our better wifi and hopefully they have the job.” Dairy Women’s Network will host its regional meeting there on November 3.
“It will be available for farming businesses when they want training, farm board meetings; it is your place to use. We are there to help farmers get things done… save them time, save them money; it’s pretty simple.”