Fighting for consumer support

From little things big things grow. That famous line from Paul Kelly's song certainly holds true for a Dubbo, NSW, family-run dairy operation, Little Big Dairy Company.

After just three years in the milk processing business, as a single source supplier, Little Big Dairy is in line for two major product awards at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards tonight in Melbourne.

The fledgling dairy operation is taking on the biggest dairy and cheese processors in Australia at the awards.

It's been a quick rise to fame for the Chesworths at Rawsonville on the Macquarie River, just west of Dubbo.

Their herd of 800 Holsteins is producing high-quality dairy products, from fair-trade flavoured milk to full cream, less cream milk and double cream, now being sold in many outlets about the central-west of NSW.

But as every dairyfarmer knows, it's a battle to get the consumers to put their money where their mouth is.

Earlier this week, Fairfax revealed in a survey that the number one thing Australians consumers agreed on (83 per cent) was that they supported Australian manufacturing and wanted to buy Australian goods.

But often when Erika Chesworth, who is also chair of the NSW Farmers Dairy Committee, is in a supermarket, she is dumbfounded to see people buying elite products for their pets on the shelf, but then selecting the cheapest milk, usually home brand for their family.

"People say it (buy Australian) but they often don't do it," Mrs Chesworth says.

"They are not willing to sacrifice anything, to pay that little bit extra.

"You'll see them selecting the purple labelled pet foods but when they get to the dairy section they'll buy the cheapest item they can get.

"What we would like consumers to know is that when they buy with us, we will put that money back into preserving our farmland, they are actually investing in keeping our property on the Macquarie in good shape.

"At the moment it is difficult to do that, as we are almost producing milk for nothing.''

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