Shepparton's own milk processing plant, run by Australian company Freedom Foods, is ramping up its processing capacity and is looking to northern Victoria for more milk supply. The UHT factory exports about half of its production, with 85 per cent of exports going to China.
Freedom Foods managing director Rory Macleod said last year the factory produced about 85 million litres and this financial year it is expected to be more than 150 million litres. Next year the company hopes it will produce about 200 million litres.
To achieve those goals, the factory was recently upgraded and will put in further filling capability for 2018–19. The company has just finished a $30 million investment and another $10 million will be spent on further expansion in the UHT plant in the next six months, and the nutritional plant will have at least $40 million expenditure in the next 18 months. The expansion will create more employment, but the production is not labour intensive.
There are 75 to 80 full-time positions at the moment, which will increase by up to 10 positions with this year’s expansion. The factory has been receiving 100 million litres of milk under an agreement with its former partner, ACM, and will continue with this arrangement, but will also be looking for new supply directly from farmers. One of the goals of Freedom Foods group general manager of dairy and grains, Corrie Goodwin, is to recruit new supply from the Goulburn Valley and southern River...