Corio Bay Dairy Group (CBDG) is a joint venture between 100 per cent Australian farmer owned Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia (ODFA), Wattle Health Australia, and Blend and Pack.
CBDG has commenced earthworks at Cowie St, North Geelong, building Australia’s first dedicated organic nutritional spray dryer, which will have the capacity to process in excess of 200,000 litres of fresh, high quality organic milk daily. It will produce organic infant formulas and other nutritional powder products. The $55 million facility is expected to be fully operational within 12 months.
The new centre is situated adjacent to the ODFA manufacturing facility, and the operations will work together. It will bring great economic benefits to Geelong, directly employing around 45 staff and generating work for a range of contractors.
Respected dairy industry leader Dr Tony McKenna has been appointed as Chief Executive of CBDG, and will start on April 4th. McKenna holds a PhD in Food Technology from Massey University (NZ) and a Diploma in Management from the NZ Institute of Management, and has more than 30 years’ experience in the dairy industry, in Australia and internationally.
He has held senior positions with Saputo Australia, owner of well-known brands Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, Great Ocean Road Dairy and Devondale, most recently as Senior Vice-President of Ingredients, Nutritionals and China. His other experience includes roles with Bodco Ltd, New Zealand’s Synlait Milk and Tatura Milk Industries Australia.
“I am excited to be leading this new initiative,” he says. “It’s a great opportunity to be part of the growing organic movement and to bring quality, organic nutritional products from farm to consumer.
“Being part of the shareholder value chain for the ODFA farmer owners is also something I’m looking forward to. Farmers are such an important part of our communities and the innovative farmers who own Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia have brought significant benefit to the dairy industry since 2002, and will continue to be a disruptive force for positive change into the future.
“The success of CBDG will help drive the farm gate milk price for ODFA farmers and I’m pleased to be part of a successful and positive dairy farming story.”
ODFA Chair Kylie Doyle says the co-operative’s members are delighted to see the joint venture project turn soil.
“The ODFA Board recognised the value a dedicated organic dryer would bring to the co-operative’s members,” she says.
“Ensuring we had the right partners and build an asset suited to our needs and strategy was critical and it’s taken a number of years to reach this goal. Farmers who join ODFA are genuine people who have a focus on sustainability, are dedicated to the organic philosophies of healthy soil and happy cows, and are passionate about retaining their family farms for generations to come.
“Recognising opportunities and investing in niche, growth assets is critical to the future success of the dairy co-operative. And recruiting the best people to manage these assets on our behalf is equally as critical.
“Dr McKenna’s appointment, together with the appointment of Jeff Cole to the position of CEO of Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia in December 2018, are key to driving the success of each of their respective organisations. Collectively, they will oversee Australia’s growing organic dairy centre in North Geelong. This hub will bring more local jobs to Geelong, in an industry that is only going to get bigger. It’s a very exciting time to be part of organic dairy in Australia.”