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Value-added Business Focus Of Sth American Tour

Value-added Business Focus Of South American Study Tour For Prize Winning Fonterra Dairy farmers

Seeing how Fonterra products are marketed overseas and understanding where value is added to their milk is the focus for a group of prize winning dairy farmers heading to South America on Friday (June 13).

The regional winners of the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards are heading to South America for a study of international markets.

The trip, to Brazil and Chile, was awarded to each of the national finalists in the Farm Business category of the competition. The group returns on June 21 in time to attend the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards national final in Hamilton on June 27.

North West Waikato regional winner Peter Morgan, of Te Awamutu, says the tour provides a great opportunity to see how Fonterra's value-added marketing business operates.

"When the milk leaves the farm gate it's not actually worth much in comparison to the final product," he says. "It's when the product goes through processing, research, and marketing that the value increases.

"I want to get a clearer picture of how Fonterra's dairy products are marketed overseas, what international consumers think of our products, and why they buy our products over a competitors' goods."

Northland regional winner Julie Paton, of Mata near Whangarei, is keen to see her farm's product displayed on international supermarket shelves.

"I'm really interested in how our goods are marketed, and sold, and what structures are in place to ensure our product is chosen above others," she says.

The group will visit segments of Fonterra's South American operations and learn how products are tailored for specific markets, including their packaging and supermarket displays.

In Brazil, they will meet Dairy Partners America representatives, including Operations Director Gary Romano, and visit two manufacturing plants and farm operations.

In Chile, they will meet with Soprole (a Fonterra subsidiary) Chief Executive Francisco Gana, visit a Soprole factory, view Fonterra's operations and meet key Fonterra operations staff.

Mr Morgan says he is keen to "pick the brains" of Fonterra staff, and those from Fonterra's joint venture partnerships, to gain a greater understanding of the company's global business.

Awards Chairman and Fonterra Director Jim van der Poel says the tour will assist shareholders' understanding of the global nature of Fonterra's business and its international focus.

"The study trip prize is a unique opportunity for some of our best farmers and they can share that knowledge with other dairy farmers in their regions," he says.

"Supplying our New Zealand manufacturing plants is a significant part of our business but I don't think many of our shareholders appreciate just how big their company is or understand its global positioning. We actually employ more staff abroad than at home in New Zealand.

"The Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards seek to promote dairy farming excellence and transfer knowledge among Fonterra's supplier base. These regional winners have proven their ability and I'm sure the experience of this trip will enhance their own knowledge and be passed on to neighbours and other farmers in their communities."

Westpac Head of Agribusiness Karen Silk congratulated the regional award winners on their success saying she expected on-farm results to further improve with the winner's continuing focus on farming excellence.

The finalists are competing to win prizes worth more than $50,000. The awards are supported by Dexcel and sponsored by Fonterra, Westpac, Holden, Ravensdown, DTS, Livestock Improvement, Pioneer, RD1, and Fegan and Co.

Tickets for the national final on June 27 in Hamilton cost $95 and are available on 0800 273 759.

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