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QLD_CP_NEWS_QANTAS_26NOV20

What Bega purchase of Lion means for FNQ dairy producers

TABLELANDS dairy farmer James Geraghty was "positive" about Bega's pending purchase of Lion Dairy & Drinks.

Just a day after the sale was announced, the Mungalli producer was happy the organisation that operated Malanda's processing plant was "Australian owned again by an experienced" dairy brand.

"This is the end of a two-year journey and it's positive Bega is already here," Mr Geraghty said.

"It bought Kraft last year and gets some peanuts from Tolga, so is already here in a physical sense.

James Geraghty on his Millaa Millaa dairy farm. Picture: Sarah Nicholson
James Geraghty on his Millaa Millaa dairy farm. Picture: Sarah Nicholson


"It won't mean anything for dairy farmers in the short term - unless they want to give us a price rise on January 1, which I don't see happening because contracts are set until June 30 - but I'm keen to get some indication from Bega where they see the future of the Malanda factory.

"Do they intend to stay as it is or increase throughput or product range?

"If they are planning on making more products that will mean more milk, so farms can grow."

Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation executive officer Eric Danzi confirmed there would be no impact on milk prices "from now until June next year".

"I don't know when contracts are being negotiated with Lion for July on but I assume March to May next year," he said.

Bonnie Scanlan from Manunda loves drinking fresh milk and supporting local dairy farmers. Picture: Brendan Radke
Bonnie Scanlan from Manunda loves drinking fresh milk and supporting local dairy farmers. Picture: Brendan Radke

Hill MP Shane Knuth said the Bega deal was encouraging for the local dairy industry.

"While we acknowledge there is much more to do regarding sustaining the industry, this is a big step in the right direction in reassuring local farmers to continue on in the industry," he said.

"And it may encourage others to return to dairy farming on the Tablelands."

Bega Cheese chairman Barry Irvin said on Thursday the $534m acquisition of Lion Dairy & Drinks would create a giant $1.5bn Australian food company that would deliver more stable, if not better, returns for farmers.

Originally published as What Bega purchase of Lion means for FNQ dairy producers


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