Dairy Farmers

Dairy farmers are having a tough time during the recession because of the high Kiwi dollar. Last year, the dairy company Fonterra paid farmers more than $7 for a kilo of milk solids. This year they will probably get $5.20. They will know next month how much they will get paid. When the liquid is taken out of milk, this is called milk solids. It is also called milk powder.

Many farmers have high debt. They have a mortgage on the farm and they borrow more money from the bank to buy fertilizer, farm machinery and animals. They wait for the pay from Fonterra at the end of the season to pay back the bank.

Fonterra is New Zealand’s largest company. It is a co-operative, which means it is owned by the farmers. More than 11,000 New Zealand farmers own Fonterra. Nearly all of the milk and milk products are exported. This is about 30% of all the world’s dairy exports.

In New Zealand, trains or trucks, which are called milk tankers, take the milk to the dairy factories. There are 26 dairy factories in New Zealand. Here the milk is made into milk powder, butter, cheese, yoghurt and ice cream.

Some of the well known brands are Anchor milk, Mainland cheese, Fernleaf butter, Fresh and Fruity yoghurt, and Tip Top ice cream.

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