Rob and Ann Cork: Diversifying Dairy

Sep 30, 2016


Rob & Ann Cork, the owners of Wittacork Dairy Cottages, have been dairying for 24 years. Nestled in the stunning landscape surrounding Lake Baroon, the Cork’s farm has seen every twist and turn of the dairy industry and endured despite it all. Rob’s branch of the Cork family have been dairying in Maleny for over a century, going back to Rob’s great-grandfather. Rob’s father, Aub, owned the farm that is now part of the Wittacork Dairy, and with his twin brother Clarence, once owned the town milk run during the years surrounding world war two as well.

Dairy Deregulation and Diversification

To reach this secluded farm stay, guests must first traverse a winding dirt road which offers stunning, and distracting, views of the Sunshine Coast hinterland. The Wittacork Dairy Cottages were born from the need to diversify after deregulation of the dairy industry occurred in 2000.

“It changed the whole dynamic of the industry.”


Maleny Dairies farmers Rob and Ann Cork

Wittacork Farmyard.

Rob is sure that deregulation was the hardest thing the farm has faced, adding that Anne had to work full time, off farm for a few years, because the farm didn’t support the family at that time.

“The Hopper’s built a processing plant and we put in cottages.”

Apparently, everybody who comes here wants to see where their food comes from and hear the farmers’ side of the Dairy story.

Maleny Dairies farmers Rob and Ann Cork

The view from the dirt track that leads to the Cork farm.

Mad Dairy Marketing

The number one question the Cork’s get from tourists is what is ‘permeate free’ milk? Rob’s response, ‘Sounds like milk to me!’ is typical of his no-nonsense attitude to marketing in the dairy industry.

Wittacork Dairy Cottages, being a 15 minute drive from Maleny Dairies farm, allows people to see for themselves the process from the cow to the bottle. Rob says this is beneficial for the farmers and for the consumers as this rekindles a lost link between farm and table. Rob believes the big processors have lost this connection;

They reckon consumers don’t want cream on their milk but I’ve never met anyone who has said that.

Maleny Dairies

Supplying Maleny Dairies was an easy decision for the Cork family who say Maleny Dairies is better than any other company we’ve been with. Rob says there has been a slow strangulation of farm gate price over the last 15 years with the ‘big end of town’ deliberately stripping the dollar from the farmer. Anne says they didn’t want to continue supplying a large processor and would have shut the dairy down, if the option to supply Maleny Dairies had not presented itself.

Maleny Dairies farmers Rob and Ann Cork

The view over Lake Baroon from Wittacork Dairy Cottages at dawn.


Rob and Ann say they are more interested in dairy than they have been in 15 years and would really like the opportunity to produce more milk and have purchased more cattle and a property next door for this purpose.

“Resurgence of local milk is making a difference to us and I assume is making a difference to others around us. It’s been a fantastic year and we have been able to employ another person to help on the farm.”

Rob acknowledges Maleny Dairies’ fair treatment of its farmers;

“People wonder how this little company can go from strength to strength, it’s because people know they treat the farmers properly.”

Maleny Dairies farmers Rob and Ann Cork

Rob and Ann Cork with their dog Harry.

6 Responses to Rob and Ann Cork: Diversifying Dairy

  1. Leigh King-Roach October 1, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

    What a great story. More ‘city folk’ need to learn about where all their food comes from and then they might more better decisions and support great suppliers like Maleny dairies. Good on Rob and Ann for not giving up and I’m thrilled they have joined the Maleny ‘team’.

  2. Bill Nilon October 1, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

    Glad to finally hear of dairy farmers being treated fairly.Glad Rob and Ann have stuck it out,big thanks to all our milk suppliers for trying to stick it out.

  3. Helen Clayton October 1, 2016 at 10:00 pm #

    I am a complete convert to Maleny Dairies. You’re absolutely right about the feeling the MD treats their farmers well. What goes around comes around 👍

  4. Tia and Jason October 7, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

    We have been to stay in the cottages at Rob and Ann’s farm for the past 7 years and have witnessed the dedication and love they have for their farming industry. We were so happy for them when they were able to supply Maleny Dairies as we had seen the struggle when they were being ripped off by the “other” companies. Our children have grown up with an understanding of where their milk comes from and the process it takes to get there thanks to these wonderful, generous people, who offer their time, vast knowledge of the industry, humour and a little slice of the beautiful country life to everyday people like us. We would never buy any other milk now . Thanks Rob and Ann

  5. Peter Mahood October 11, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

    We discovered Maleny Dairies products a while ago now and are really pleased to hear how they’re treating the little Dairy Farmers. As for “people don’t want cream on their milk” what a load of….

  6. Sonia Lowe November 4, 2016 at 3:34 pm #

    Cream at the top is what makes your milk sooooooo gooood. It’s the one thing our kids love about breakfast. We appreciate you both and thank you for being apart of a very special industry. We are so grateful and thankful for being you.

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