Future planning

It’s really no surprise that Hills shoppers are among the biggest supporters of SA dairy farmers’ own brand of milk SADA Fresh.
This is a community still connected to its farming roots, despite creeping suburbia, and people will support local producers – if they are provided opportunities to do so.
That’s where the South Australian Dairyfarmers’ Association (SADA) branded milk scheme is an example of customer power, market forces and a touch of serendipity.
According to SADA chief executive Ken Lyons, a meeting over coffee with the head of Coles, arranged by a mutual business connection, was all it took to make SADA Fresh a reality.
His association had a plan to turn its fortunes around but nowhere to sell its product and Coles had noticed a shift in customer demand towards wanting to buy local and was looking at ways to stave off the opposition.
Now, two years after the launch of SADA Fresh, the association has sold more than two million litres of milk and raised about $400,000 for industry investment through the proceeds.
What was even better than the money raised was the publicity generated.
Dairy farmers were no longer clinging to a dying industry, they were fighting for their own future on their own terms.
It seems politicians and the business community are more willing to help those who help themselves.
SADA Fresh helped the association build stronger partnerships with the State Government and dairy food manufacturers, giving it access to more resources and business opportunities.
In April SADA Fresh became the first fresh milk to be exported from SA to China and more value-adding dairy processing plants are opening up in SA which will drive greater milk production.
SA’s dairy industry is not out of the woods yet but farmers now have hope and a strategic direction and ultimately they wouldn’t have had either without the support of ordinary household shoppers.
It might not seem like we’re making much of a difference when we elect to pay that extra $1 for local produce or food produced in a more humane way but when you add all those purchases together, households can make a huge difference to the health of our local economies.