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position statement
position statement
position statement
position statement

ORGANIC ETHOS

As farmers, we share a common set of values when it comes to how we care for our land, treat our animals, and in general, how we live our lives in the community. We refer to this as our 'organic ethos'.

To be Certified Organic, we follow a strict set of standards that prohibit the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and antibiotics, yet our organic ethos is about much more than these things. It is concerned with sustainability in the broader sense – sustaining not just the land, but also communities and families in general. It is about an ethical approach to business and personal relationships, and maintaining the highest professional standards.

We sum it all up by saying we're about: Family Farms, Healthy Soil, Happy Cows… Remarkable Milk

OUR VALUES


We believe everything we do has a knock on effect - from
the way we farm, treat our animals, manage our personal
and business relationships, and produce our products -
fundamentally they must all be sustainable. An ethical and fair
approach to these relationships is fundamental to who we are as
people and an organisation.

We believe that just as in personal relationships, the relationship our customer have with the brand relies on honesty. When it comes to our products and how we sell them, there are no tricks. We don't waste words, just like we don't waste resources.

As farmers, we are connected by our commitment to the co-operative farming model. We share ideas, resources and ultimately, the profits that the co-operative generates.

We believe the individual relationship a farmer has with their land is much more important than the size of the operation. A farmer who owns the land and lives on the land is best placed to care for the land, and ultimately, produce better food.

We believe that society as a whole is better off when there is greater awareness of where food comes from and how it is produced. We consider building this awareness an important part of what we do as a co-operative.

We also like a laugh - it helps us connect with people!

HISTORY

We are a co-operative, owned and operated by the farmers
who supply the milk. Founded in 2002 to provide infrastructure, leadership and dialogue between participants in the organic
dairy industry. We comprise 16 certified organic and
bio-dynamic farms, with more due to join after completing
the 3 year conversion process. We supply over two thirds
of all organic milk produced in Australia.

Farms are located in the three main dairying regions of Victoria.

We supply milk and dairy ingredients to companies in Australia and overseas who in turn carry our logo as a mark of quality & integrity.

We launched our own brand - True Organic - in 2007, and more recently, the Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia brand for our range of specialty dairy products

 

Arbuthnot's

The Arbuthnot's have been farming the
same land in South Gippsland for over
60 years. The farm is now operated
by Sarah, Steve & John, who began
farming organically in 2000. It was
Steve's interest in soil health that lead
them to organics, preferring the 'soil
up' approach to the conventional 'plant
down + fertiliser' approach.

They milk just once a day because it
puts less stress on their cows. Nearly
a quarter of their 1,100 acres has been
returned to trees and native vegetation,
providing wind protection to the cows
and natural habitat for wildlife.

Farmer
Farmer
 

Karen & Randall
Buys

We came to our farm near Yarram in
2003 after becoming disillusioned with conventional high input farming and the toll it took not only on our cows health but our own. A new focus on producing a healthy product from healthy animals meant that our soils needed to be balanced and re-mineralised.

About 60 acres has been retained as natural woodland for habitat of numerous species of native wildlife. Now we milk approx. 80 cows and try to balance our time with the kids, enjoying farming again and the rich natural environment that surrounds us.

Farmer Farmer
Farmer
 

Jo & Simon
Doolan

When Simon and Jo Doolan moved onto their farm near Kyabram, Northern Victoria with their two young children in 2010, it was the realisation of a long held ambition to farm the land first operated by Simon's grandfather in the early 40's.

Jo's work in natural resource management and Simon's interest in the environment led them to the decision to farm organically. Their ambition is not to develop a big farm, but a sustainable farm. They have just fenced off rare remnant greybox and have plans to create a natural vegetation corridor through their land.

Farmer
Farmer
 

Leanne Sweeney
& Ken Flanner

For 15 years we farmed conventionally finding no professional services were able to give us solutions to our escalating problems with water, cow health and pasture. By running our own trials, thinking outside the square coupled with our organic practices, we now have a sustainable environment and future. Our goal is to run a closed system.

Farmer
Farmer
 

Pauline & Terry
Hehir

When we started farming in 1979 we were routine users of chemical fertilisers, antibiotics, hormones and animal drenches.

In 1997 a visiting Nuffield Scholar led us to understand that we were treating symptoms of soil imbalance and so began our journey to organic farming. We take pride in the quality of the grass we grow for our cows, the development of our soil and our staff led by Bec Gell who share our farming values and organic ethos.

FarmerFarmer
 

Michael & Nicci
Hore

We became organic farmers in 2010, after we purchased our neighbors' certified organic farm near Lietchville, northern Victoria. We were milking 100 cows on our small family farm and were faced with the decision to get bigger or get out. We'd never been big users of chemical fertilisers and sprays yet wondered why the grass was always greener on our organic neighbors' side of the fence. For me, Nicci, Tayla, Maddy, we look back and think going organic was the best thing we have ever done in our farming lives. We still have teething problems and are learning more each day, but having farmed both conventionally and organically, we're
certain there is something special about
the organic milk.

Farmer
Farmer
 

Don & Denise
Jarvis

Our family farm is on the Upper Murray River adjacent to Towong, the first village on the river from its source and we can view the magnificent snow capped Kosciusko, Grey Mares Range from our farm.

We milk, with our son Jamie, 200 registered Stud Holstein Cows and have been Organically Certified for 8 years. Our aim is to build healthy biologically active soils, growing healthy well-balanced pastures for healthy productive cows that produce high quality and nutritious milk.

FarmerFarmer
Farmer
 

Wendy & Ian
Klein

In 1972 we purchased our dairy farm in Pine Lodge, near Shepparton & in 1978, bought the adjoining farm. This enables us to milk 300 cows now.

In 1996 we built a large recycle dam, with remnant vegetation nearby & also converted to organic farming. We planted many more native trees and ground covers to compliment the existing vegetation. We have successfully used alternative medicine ourselves for over 40 years, so organic farming seemed a natural progression & just plain common sense!

FarmerFarmer
 

Mahony's

The Mahony family have been dairy
farming for 4 generations on their farm
at Bookaar, north of Camperdown in
South West Victoria.

Currently Dennis and his four sons, Matthew, Simon, Christopher and Daniel, work on the property. The move to organic farming began 5 years ago. It has been the best move the family have made, sparking a new interest in sustainable lifestyles and a healthier farm. The family milk 350 cows. On a second farm they grow out young stock and grow their own organic crops.

The Mahony's believe in growing the
best quality food for their own families,
and they take pride in being able to
provide the public with the best quality
organic milk they can produce.

Farmer
Farmer
 

Paul & Carolyn Pangrazzi

Paul has lived on his South Gipplsand
farm at Hoddle (between Fish Creek &
Foster) since he was 4. In 1998, after
taking over the farm from his parents,
Paul and his wife Carolyn became
one of the first certified organic dairy
farms in Australia. Their interest in
organics goes back even before this
when Paul first started looking into
alternative fertilisers after realising
his land was getting worse, not better
using conventional methods.

Back then, there was little information
available on organics, so it took a lot
of trial and error, but the improvement
in soil health has been enormous.

Farmer
 

Nic & Amy
Paul

As a family, we decided it was time to walk the talk and actively produce food that we believe in - food that we relish feeding our children. We believe wholeheartedly that Organics are the future.

Ruby Hills is a certified Biodynamic Farm - bio-diverse with a vast scope of produce - from 80 milking cows to 2000 outdoor hens and our well established orchard and extensive veggie gardens. Certified Organic
back in 1989 by Ron and Bev Smith - the
first Certified Organic Dairy Farm in
Australia. We are living the change that
we want to see in the world, we believe
in our farmer owned co-op and are proud
of the effort that we make to see the future
in Organics.

Farmer
Farmer
 

Ron & Roisin Powles

We run a mixed herd of ~100 cows, north of Tatura, in the Central-Goulburn irrigation district. Both born into farming families, we were brought up with the long-term goal of handing on healthy, productive land.

Farming organically made sense - it just took us a while to bite the bullet. We still feel new to this game, but in reality we'll be learning as long as we live... hopefully providing a healthy, nurturing environment for us, our family, and our cows while we're at it! Wouldn't have it any other way.

FarmerFarmer
 

Ken & Stella
Richmond

In 1978 we purchased our first dairy farm on the Avon river flats near Maffra in Gippsland, where we raised 6 children.

We were applying conventional farming techniques, making full use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and antibiotics. As time went by, we started questioning more and more, the benefits of conventional farming practices and started looking for a sustainable alternative.

We chose to farm organically, and it soon became clear to us that organic farming is truly sustainable.

In hindsight we wish that we had known more about organic farming when we first started in the dairy industry.

Farmer
Farmer
 

Paul & Faye
Robinson

We have been at Merrigum for 18 years on 100 acres, so it's pretty small by today's standards. We have been certified organic for 11 years.

At present, we are milking around 50 cows, so I call myself a boutique dairy farmer! Our cows are mainly Holstein, and no, most don't have names. Our cows have their calves in the Autumn which are then fed on fresh milk for 12 weeks before weaning. The cows spend the rest of the lactation grazing on ryegrass and clover pastures before drying off in March for their holiday.

FarmerFarmerFarmer
 

John & Wendy
Smith

We milk a herd of 230 cows on our
farm, Enniskillen, at Mepunga in South
West Victoria.

Our son, Bradley, with his wife Wendy, will be the 6th generation to farm this land. In the early 90's, we converted to biodynamics. Since then the pasture has been developed to include a variety of herbs and grasses for a complete banquet of choice nutrients. Native trees have been planted to attract beneficial insects and birds which are important for the farms healthy ecosystem.

FarmerFarmer
Farmer
 

Graeme, Rosemary, Warrick & Carrie Trease

Our farm “Seven Streams” is located in Mardan, South Gippsland. Our family selected it in 1884 and we are the fourth generation. We farm biodynamically.

We milk 130 cows consisting of jersey,
aussie reds, brown swiss, fresian and
fresian cross. Our farm consists of
large amount of waterways, which
we have fenced off and re-vegetated
with tubestock and direct seeding. We
now have abundant birdlife and are
home to the rare blue billed ducks,
which nest here. Platypus are also
in our creeks. Having changed from
conventional farming we now have
healthier, contented cows living in
beautiful environment.

FarmerFarmerFarmer
Farmer
 

Peter, Wendy, Ash
& Toby Wallace

Peter, Wendy, Ash & Toby farm on a property at Ellinbank just out of Warragul in Gippsland. The farm has been in the family since 1886. We milk 150 cows and also intergrate free-range egg production into our farming system. We have been certified organic since 2005 and are still developing our farm with yearly planting of trees for shade, shelter and biodiversity of wildlife (which is increasing every year).

We enjoy what we do and hope that is shows in the vitality of our produce, animals and those involved with our farm.

Farmer
Farmer
 

John, Merrilyn, Paul, Lisa, Steve &
Jo Ellen Whitsed

The Whitsed's have been dairy farming in Corryong since 1949.

In the early 90's, John and his brother Ian were starting to seriously question the high input farming that had become the norm. Problems with cow health ultimately drove them to trial alternative fertilisers such as and fish & kelp. The response from the cows was almost immediate. Where as before the cows would avoid large sections of grass in a paddock, they would eat completely bare pastures that had been fertilised naturally. Metabolic problems with cows such as bloat, magnesium deficiency and poor conception rates have also improved significantly since they switched to organic farming.

FarmerFarmerFarmer
Farmer
 

Scott & Suzanne
Wightman

We purchased our farm in 1992, which is located in Mardan, just outside Leongatha. We didn't set out to farm organically, but discovered early on that a well-balanced soil would just about eliminate any livestock health problems.

We milk 230 cows and in the last 15 years have planted over 30,000 trees. Birdlife on the farm is now abundant with swans, a large variety of ducks and have recently seen the rare blue azure kingfisher.

FarmerFarmerFarmer
 
staff

Bruce Symons
CEO

I grew up working in my family's dairy business in Bendigo which has operated since 1919. With a family of devoted organic consumers, it seems natural that I'm running an organic dairy co-operative. Previously I've worked in senior marketing roles in Australia & Japan, including 4 years in Tokyo establishing a retail business. I studied Agricultural Science at Melbourne Uni and have a Masters from Swinburne University.

 
staff

Trudie Gray
Logistics Co-ordinator

I've been working at ODFA since
December 2008, and what a wonderful
journey its been over these last years as
the co-op has grown. I speak with our
farmers most days, co-ordinating milk pick
up and delivery, and its a pleasure to be
working for people who are so passionate
about organic farming, food and lifestyle.

 
staff

Sarah Wallace
Sales & Logistics Co-ordinator

I have spent the last 15 years working for
large corporates as an Executive Assistant.
Looking for a change of pace and a healthier
lifestyle, my 4 year old and I moved to the
country two years ago and haven't looked
back. Having recently found a love of
woodwork and power tools, when I'm not in
the office I can usually be found somewhere
between a hardware store and at home.

 
staff

Eliza Lee
Sales Co-ordinator

I joined the ODFA team in July 2013 and look after sales and export. I studied Business Management at RMIT University and previously worked in a marketing role at an Alpine resort. I am enjoying working in a new industry and look forward to seeing what the future holds for organics in Australia.

 
staff

Danielle Lyn
Bookkeeper

I've been working at ODFA since January 2012 as the bookkeeper. Prior to this, I ran my own bookkeeping business and worked at an accountant's office. I have completed an Adv. Dip in Accounting and am a registered BAS agent. I am really enjoying working in such an ethical environment with people who care about creating beautiful organic products.

 
staff

Francis Killackey
Financial Controller

I've worked in finance and management
for 10 years in Australia and the UK. I'm
a Chartered Accountant and have been
Finance Director across various industries.
I've got a B.Arts and B.Comm and from
Monash Uni and a Grad Dip (ICAA).

 
staff

Graeme Jarvis
Supply Chain Co-ordinator

I have worked for various large food companies in Australia and my customers have been large multi-nationals like Mars and Cadbury. I am enjoying working for a small, rural based co-operative with a big vision. Apart from helping with our retail sales I co-ordinate the sales of our dairy ingredients.

 
staff

Terry Hehir
Chairman

A certified organic farmer at Kyabram, Victoria and Chairman since the inception of the co-operative. Director of Australian Dairy Conference Board and inaugural Chair from 2001-2008. A Chairman of Nuffield Australia and Deputy Chair on the inaugural Board of Global Dairy Farmers. He has presented papers at several International farming and organic conferences including Oxford Farming Conference 2012.

 
staff

Scott Wightman
Vice Chairman

Scott is a certified organic dairy farmer in Sth Gippsland and has been a board member since the inception of the co-operative and Deputy Chair since 2006.

 
staff

Wendy Wallace

Wendy has been farming with her husband Peter on the family farm for 25 years. While raising three children (two of whom now work full time on the farm) she has also been active on Kindergarten committees, School councils, Church Secretary, Landcare treasurer and other jobs within the local community. Wendy has a trade certificate in dairy farming and feels privileged to have been a board member of ODFA since 2006.

 
staff

Paul Whitsed

Paul joined the family farm at Biggara after completing his mechanical trade certificate in 1996. During this time Paul managed and ran, day to day operations of "Snowy Mountains Organic Dairy". Currently he is an active school councillor and local football committee member. He became an ODF director in 2012.

 
staff

Doug Fehring

Doug has been a director of ODFA
since the inception of the Co-operative
in 2002, with a special interest
in financial management. His work
here is almost done and will be
stepping aside in the near future to
allow for a new guard.

 
staff

Jeff Martin

Jeff is principal of Martin & Co Legal, a commercial law and litigation practice based in Collins St, Melbourne. Before coming to the law Jeff had an extensive career in senior management at Nestle, as GM of SPC and as CEO & MD of Tatura Milk Industries. He holds a B.Sc, B.Ec, MBA, Juris Doctor & Grad.Dip in Legal Practice. He is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Jeff has been a director 2011.

 
staff

Dr Jon Hauser

Jon Hauser holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering and has accumulated 30 years experience in research, manufacturing, and commercial management of dairy and other food processing businesses. He has also had an active role in the dairy co-operative sector as a CEO and Director, including Burra Foods, Herd Improvement Cooperative and Challenge Dairy Cooperative. He has been a director at ODFA since 2011.

 
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