Australia’s largest organic dairy company has been placed into receivership with creditors and farmer-owners owed millions.
- ODFA produces True Organic butter and supplies milk for FiveAM Yoghurt, Lemnos, and Pure Organic Milk
- It owns a milk bottling factory at Geelong where it also processes butter and cream, employing 22 people and nine contractors
- It’s owned entirely by farming families who say they’re owed thousands of dollars in unpaid milk cheques
The Geelong-based Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia (ODFA) is 100 per cent owned by 40 family dairy farms across Victoria and north-west Tasmania.
The business produces the True Organic brand of butter and supplies milk for FiveAM Yoghurt, Lemnos, and Pure Organic Milk.
Its directors placed the company into voluntary administration last week citing a downturn in the Chinese market, delayed sales, and the impact of COVID-19 as their reasons.
Deloitte have taken over from the original administrators, and the creditors are set to meet on Wednesday.
Tasmanian farmer Gary Watson said he was not confident he would get the $250,000 owed to him “unless some miracle happens in the next few days”.
“The bank will just probably do a fire sale and I would expect we probably won’t get anything out of it,” he said.
The company owns a milk bottling factory at Geelong where it also processes butter and cream.
The business employs 22 people and nine contractors.
Mr Watson said he tried to leave the cooperative last July after he thought the company was paying too much for milk.
The administrators have told the ABC the company owes National Australia Bank $8 million and unsecured creditors, such as the farmers, between $3.5 and $5 million.
United Dairyfarmers of Victoria president Paul Mumford said the business should not be allowed to fail and is lobbying creditors for extra time.
“I’m working … not only with the farmers who supply them, but right up to the directors and to the administrators and the banks,” Mr Mumford said.
“It may be a niche micro-business in the whole scheme of things here in Australia, but if we start losing … these niche markets it has a huge influence on the structure [of the industry].”