NEW ZEALAND – Dairy Goat Co-operative (DGC) has announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer (CEO) as the company grapples with financial difficulties.

Alastair Hulbert, a marketing degree holder from Massey University, will assume the CEO position on May 20, succeeding David Hemara who recently departed from the co-operative.

In the interim period, former CEO Tony Giles will serve as acting CEO until Hulbert assumes the role permanently.

Reports indicated that DGC requires a cash injection to ensure its viability, prompting measures such as a reduction in milk supply by one-third for the upcoming season, which has garnered mixed reactions from farmer shareholders.

Hemara, commenting on the decision, cited the need to align milk supply with forecasted product sales amidst changing market dynamics, including declining birth rates globally and shifts in sales channels, particularly the Daigou informal sales channel to China.

Acknowledging the challenges posed by the global supply/demand situation for goat milk, Hemara emphasized the need for adjustments to better balance supply with market demand.

In March, Hemara told Rural News that DGC has advised its shareholder suppliers that it will call for less milk in the 2024/24 season than shareholders would normally expect to supply.

“While the final amount of milk per shareholder is yet to be finalised, we have advised shareholders that we expect that they will be asked to reduce supply to around two-thirds of normal level,” he said.

“This reduction is necessary to better balance incoming milk against forecast product sales for 2024/25. This is a continuation of a cap that we have applied for several seasons and reflects changing demand levels in some markets since Covid.”

In addition, he noted that there has also been a structural change in the China consumer market where over the last four years China consumers have moved strongly to support Chinese domestic brands adding that the same impact has occurred in the infant formula segment.

“At present, our view is that there is more goat milk than demand globally. We recognise that this balance can and does change over time and we have historically experienced periods of oversupply and under supply of milk.”

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