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MG suppliers look to future with Saputo

THE sale of Murray Goulburn to Saputo was finalised today (Tuesday), leaving suppliers with bittersweet feelings about the collapse of the nation’s largest dairy cooperative.
South Gippsland suppliers are looking towards the future with more confidence and believe the industry will stabilise under Saputo’s management, after more than two years of uncertainty.
Michael Holloway from Nerrena has been in the dairy industry all his life and supplying Murray Goulburn since the company took over the Leongatha factory in 1973.
He said the finalisation of the sale came as a relief.
“We can look to the future now with a bit of confidence. The last two years were a bit of a mess actually,” he said,
“I have been to a couple of meetings with Lino Saptuo Jnr and if he does what he says, the only way is up. As dairy farmers, we are quite upbeat.”
Mr Holloway said the industry needs to offer a future for young people.
“As I said to Mr Saputo Jnr, if you don’t provide a positive future, you are not going to get young people into the industry,” he said.
“Unless they pay them well, they are not going to stay in the industry either.”
Saputo has indicated it will continue to operate the Leongatha factory, which Mr Holloway said was good news.
“Without the factory the town would suffer. I don’t think a lot of people realise that. The town prospers on the factory,” he said.
“If farmers are paid well, they will keep the town vibrant. I have seen the ups and downs of industry and when things are going well, the town is too.”
Leongatha South dairy farmer and Murray Goulburn supplier Gordon Vagg said his family has been supplying the Leongatha factory for nearly 100 years.
He said with the sale finalised, there is nothing left to do but look to the future.
“It shouldn’t have happened, and it is a sad day for the original dairy farmers that helped get MG going, to see the last large Australian cooperative become non-existent,” he said.
Mr Vagg said given the many potential buyers of MG, the MG directors made the correct choice in endorsing Saputo.
“At the last meeting about a month ago, I actually spoke to Mr Saputo Jnr himself. He was at the door greeting us as we came in,” he said.
“I had never seen that before.
“He emphasised to suppliers he respects loyalty and he said the same to the workers at the Leongatha factory.”
Mr Vagg said Mr Saputo Jnr said the company would like to get the factory back to running at 90 percent at least.
“I am confident the Leongatha factory is safe. It has a UHT plant and Saputo definitely wanted the UHT plant,” he said.
“We make most of the butter spreads in Leongatha as well. Devondale has around 80 percent of the Australian butter spread market.
“I think they are going to maintain the Devondale brand because of that reason.”

Certain future: Nerrena Murray Goulburn suppliers Hyacinth and Michael Holloway are keen to move forward within the industry, now Saputo has taken over ownership of the beleaguered cooperative.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=24843

Posted by on May 1 2018. Filed under Rural News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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