NORCO Dairy Cooperative is going from success to success as it continues its growth into the Asian market.
Today, Norco CEO Brett Kelly and factory manager Neil Hudson led Federal Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane, and Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker on a tour around the Raleigh factory.
They discussed Norco's increased focus on exports and the new Free Trade Agreements recently negotiated by the Australian Government.
Mr Macfarlane said it was wonderful to see a company owned by farmers where the profits go back to farmers entering into the international market.
"This is a great company that is taking steps, carefully but surely, as it produces clean food that is going into a market that will just continue to grow and provide local dairy farmers with even more opportunities," he said.
"The free trade agreement with China will benefit companies like Norco, and food production in this region, by offering access into those markets that will grow jobs here in northern NSW."
"The manufacturing industry is in transition; it's transitioning to high value, high technology goods and when you look through a factory like this one and see the technology that's being employed to ensure food safety and give milk in China an 18 day shelf life, it shows that when we set our mind to it we can be the best in the world."
Mr Hartsuyker said the company was a shining example of the opportunities which our region can benefit from by accessing growth markets in Asia.
"Norco are capitalising on Australia's clean, green image and goodwill which they enjoy as a farmer's cooperative," he said.
"Norco's vision is to target the Asian middle class by investing in a transportation pipeline which meets the highest quality food standards but enables cold milk to be on Chinese tables within seven days of being bottled."
The Raleigh operation recently celebrated 12 months exporting cold milk to China. It's currently exporting between 5000 and 20 000 litres a week.
CEO Brett Kelly said in the next financial year they expect to export between three and five million litres of cold milk to China.
"The filler machine that we just bought, which arrives here in August, has a capacity of 20 million litres per year. So we are looking ahead to the future."
More from Mr Kelly, and a more detailed look at Norco's success exporting milk to China, in Saturday's paper.