WA pledges support for collapsed Challenge Dairy farmers

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 2nd December 2010

The Western Australian State Government is working with industry to coordinate services including on-farm visits for impacted suppliers of Challenge Dairy Cooperative.

Challenge Australia Dairy went into voluntary receivership last month, and after searching in vain for a ‘white knight’ investor, announced it would enter receivership on Friday.

At least 50 suppliers have told to find alternative processors for their milk, and many are likely to see as little as 10c in the dollar on money owed.

Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman said Challenge Dairy Cooperative representatives had informed him of their intention to appoint administrators and advised farmers to negotiate individual contracts with other processors.

“This is a very difficult period for these farmers who have to negotiate new contracts with processors while dealing with recent financial losses,” Mr Redman said.

The Department of Agriculture and Food was coordinating technical and management advice for farmers;  in regular contact with a number of Challenge suppliers to monitor the situation; and assisting with an across-agency response.

The State Government is funding farm visits to suppliers of Challenge Dairy Cooperative with the South West Development Commission working with industry to ensure this support reaches each cooperative supplies.

“The visits will enable farmers to discuss their concerns and can lead to advice on what support is available, whether it be counselling or financial services,” Mr Redman said.