The MyMilk scheme allows farmers to supply milk to Fonterra without having to buy shares in the co-op.
More farmers will have the chance to get a foot in the door at Fonterra without buying shares as the co-op expands its popular MyMilk scheme.
Launched in the South Island in 2014, the initiative allows farmers to supply milk to Fonterra without becoming shareholders.
On Tuesday, the dairy giant announced plans to expand the scheme to the North Island.
More than 145 dairy farmers across Southland, Otago and Canterbury have been involved so far, including former deep sea fisherman Don Moore and his wife, Jess, who bought their first farm last June.
Jess, who previously worked in a pharmacy, and Don, worked their way up through farm management and 50/50 sharemilking before making the leap to farm ownership.
Without the MyMilk scheme, they would have had to choose another supplier or delay the purchase of their farm northeast of Gore, Don said.
“We’ve always wanted to be Fonterra suppliers. It’s been awesome to have the opportunity that MyMilk gives us by providing a pathway through stepping from sharemilking to farm ownership,” he said.
Through MyMilk, non-shareholding farmers can supply milk for up to five seasons under the same terms and conditions as shareholders with regards to milk quality, safety and sustainability.
Fonterra Farm Source group director Richard Allen said the co-op had been looking for ways to make it easier for farmers to come on board.
An farming commentator has sounded a warning siren over the declining values of dairy farms in New Zealand.
“One way has been through MyMilk, a Fonterra-backed company that’s helping young and new farmers establish a foothold in the industry and ultimately take a stake in Fonterra,” he said.
The initiative would also be extended to help existing farmer shareholders looking to purchase another Fonterra farm.
Allen said Fonterra wanted to be the best choice for farmers, offering a strong sustainable milk price, support to help farmers meet environmental expectations, and flexible financial tools and ways to share-up.
MyMilk will be available to eligible farmers in the North Island for supply beginning June 1. MyMilk volumes are limited to 5 per cent of Fonterra’s total milk collections.