Butter factory opens as dairy industry struggles
EVERYONE loves butter it seems.
At the official opening of a new butter factory in Casino, Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis declared he loved butter before unveiling the commemorative plaque with Richmond Dairies managing director Chris Sharpe.
Page MP Kevin Hogan said it was “a good news story for the dairy industry”.
Two men stood to one side as everyone clapped. Martin Maloney, 76, and Ian Robinson, 84, worked at the old butter factory in the 1970s, when it was run by Casino Co-operative Dairy Society. They reminisced about their days pouring fresh cream from cans.
When the truck delivering icecream broke down on the road to Grafton, Mr Robinson was the mechanic who had to fix it – in a hurry before the icecream melted, he said.
When the co-operative was amalgamated with Norco, the Casino factory no longer made butter.
“We are very proud on this day,” Mr Maloney said of butter production coming back to Casino.
“This is an historic moment.”
The new butter factory workers are Chris Ancombe and Shayne Hogan, who are operators, and Isabel Colman in the role of quality assurance manager.
“I went to the United Kingdom to learn how to make butter,” Ms Colman said.
Richmond Dairies employs 60 people but only three in the new $1 million butter factory.
The parent company of Richmond Dairies is Longley Farm Group in the UK.
The butter from the Casino factory won’t be on supermarket shelves any time soon. It is sold in bulk to restaurants and food suppliers and exported to China, the Middle East and Malaysia, with plans to export to Taiwan.
“It is the only butter factory between Cape York in Queensland and the Victorian border,” Mr Hogan said.
The current crisis in the Victorian dairy industry with supermarkets selling milk from overseas for $1 is affecting milk producers. Farmers have vowed to take back control of the dairy industry.
In Casino, with the butter “churning” in the modern sense given the up-to-date technology at the factory and only three workers required on the floor, food production has changed since the days Mr Maloney tested the quality of the cream by tasting it with a spatula.
“If it wasn’t good, purple dye was put in the can of cream so it couldn’t be used by mistake,” Mr Maloney said.
Times have changed but butter remains a favourite culinary item, especially when it is made in Casino.