Norco Co-operative, Australia’s oldest and largest dairy co-operative, has today announced it will pay its farmers an extra 10 cents per litre for their milk on Christmas Day, to recognise the hard work and dedication of its farming community.
The small gesture of thanks caps off a record year for increased farm gate milk prices with an additional $36 million paid back to Norco dairy farmers this year to help offset continued rising costs and lower production volumes due to the unprecedented wet and flooding weather conditions.
While many will be unwrapping presents and enjoying a festive breakfast, 281 Norco dairy farmers across New South Wales’s north coast and southern Queensland will be busy working, milking their herds to deliver quality fresh milk for consumers to enjoy.
Norco Chief Executive Michael Hampson comments that central to the Christmas cheer many of us get to enjoy on Christmas Day, are efforts of the hardworking farmers who work tirelessly to grow and deliver the food we put on our festive tables.
“It’s been a difficult year for farming, in particular our dairy farmers, and this initiative forms part of our continued effort to support our members through this period, while acknowledging the extra special work that goes into producing great tasting dairy, even on Christmas Day,” Mr Hampson said.
“Christmas Day is an exciting and fun-filled day for many Aussies, even those that need to work, so we hope this little bit extra will help to bring our farmers some added Christmas cheer.”
Hampson adds that while the business’ primary focus is to provide support to its farmer members and the industry at large, consumer support will also play an important role in supporting farmers during the festive period.
“We are really proud to be a 100% farmer owned dairy co-operative, which means that when you choose Norco products during your Christmas shop – in particular the milk for Santa and his reindeers – you can do so with the knowledge that every single cent goes back to helping Aussie farmers and their families.”
Christmas on a dairy farm
Although dairy farmers don’t get a day off on Christmas Day, their celebrations are just as warm and special as any. For the Harrigans from Townson, South Queensland, while their day begins as every other tending to their cows, they do still get to enjoy a big Christmas dinner at their farm.
“With two daughters, we certainly do get to enjoy all of the usual Christmas traditions. We start Christmas Eve off with a big glass of cold Norco milk for Santa and in the morning, we wake (very!) early and open gifts at home,” Jamie Harrigan said.
“It is after that that we head to the dairy to feed and milk our cows. We sample the milk and may even whisper a Merry Christmas to some of them.
“Our kids have always understood that the cows must be taken care of before we celebrate. And rather than staying in their rooms until the work is done, they opt to hang out with my wife and I on the farm, and this time together makes it feel like we are starting our celebrations early,” he said.
For the Eggert family, Norco’s biggest organic milk supplier from Wauchope (NSW), milking the cows as a family also forms part of their Christmas Day traditions.
“Compared to the average Aussie family, our Christmas Day is a little bit unconventional, but with plenty of eating and festive cheer. First priority for my three sons and I is to milk our 200 herd, and it is after this that we sit down as a family for a long Christmas lunch with extended family or neighbours,” Chris Eggert said.
“Our boys don’t know any different as they’ve all grown up helping on the farm, but it is wonderful to be acknowledged for our work on Christmas Day, and it will certainly make this season extra special for our family,” he said.
The popular and great tasting range of Norco milk comes in one, two or three litres and is available in Queensland and New South Wales at Woolworths, Coles and selected independent supermarkets.