For first generation dairy farmers Anthony and Tamara Hill and their three teenage children Jordan, Zali and Ada, there is something special about the milk from their 600 dairy cows that until now, no one else knew.
The Hill family run a growing herd on a lease of 240 hectares in the lush plains of Middle Tarwin in South Gippsland. Their dairy farm is where Fonterra sources some of its fresh Australian milk for a specially fortified milk powder that will provide dairy nutrition in Africa and other countries where disposable income is restricted.
The fortified milk powder has just started coming off the line at Fonterra’s Darnum site, just 90 kilometres away from the Hills’ farm. It is created by combining high-quality Australian-sourced skim milk powder with edible fat, so it remains high in protein but is a more affordable alternative to whole milk powder.
For example, in Nigeria children get their dairy from local shops and kiosks, which sell this type of milk powder in single-serve sachets, small enough for children to tear open and consume directly by pouring into their mouths without adding water.
Without accessible refrigeration, transport or the income to purchase fresh milk, long-lasting powdered milk is an important source of protein in parts of Africa. It is used to make yoghurt, and can be added to bakery or rice dishes to boost nutrition.
Anthony says his family were proud to learn that their milk will be used to make an affordable milk powder destined for families in Africa.
“It’s good to know that our high quality milk is helping families in other parts of the world to access the dairy nutrition that we in Australia can sometimes take for granted,” says Anthony.
Anthony says seeing the global demand for his milk and its reach gives him confidence for the future.
“My 17 year old son, Jordan, is now getting more involved with our farm. Seeing the demand coming through for different applications of dairy ingredients shows we are part of a much larger global food chain.
“This gives us some optimism about what the future holds for our family in Australian dairy.”