Dairy unity needed
FARMERS are heartened to read that we have a definite voice, a voice that has spoken clearly and has invited dairy farmers to give our beloved industry a much-needed reality check.
Let us remember how important dairy farmers are and how much money they inject into our regions.
I am told that for every dollar a dairy farm spends, it generates another $5 into the region.
Dairy farmers are hardworking and proud, but are becoming very tired levy-paying farmers whose industry desperately needs to unite and move forward as one.
This is more than the vulnerability of milk price that impacts on profitability and also just as important as the increasing cost of production.
Effective advocacy is so important.
Our ability to generate wealth within our regions has not precluded us as being portrayed as a complaining, disenfranchised and irreverent group to many.
Those who say we are our own worst enemy are sadly correct due to this perceived bickering.
We must secure a joint and shared responsibility between dairy farmers, advocacy bodies and processors to drive unity and stability in the dairy industry.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission commissioner Mick Keogh has reaffirmed his view that we must now stop the perceived fumbling of the code-of-conduct baton.
We must accept the recommendation of the ACCC and start applying ourselves to uniting the dairy industry.
Grant Crothers, president of the Australian Dairy Products Federation, inferred the industry does not need a code that interferes with market dynamics and competition.
Agreed, but “regulation” is being demanded.
In 2016 the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria Wannon Branch discussed a simple solution to help negate the milk merry-go-round.
This solution was to effectively support the implementation of a mandatory minimum 12-month contract for both the supplier and processor to bring stability, unity and certainty for all in the Australian dairy industry.
UDV Wannon Branch brought the resolution to the UDV conference and while disappointed that the resolution was not carried, was heartened as it was a close result. We were hopeful of green shoots of common sense and of the possibilities of a future awakening of the majority of suppliers to the benefits of such a direction.
Processors will have security of supply and maintain the freedom to operate their business as they see fit.
The milk suppliers will be guaranteed the opening price and the full value of milk supplied for 12 months.
While this solution will not satisfy all, I am confident overall that this limited minimum commitment by both milk processors and the milk supplier will go a long way to stabilise and unite the Australian Dairy Industry without an over-abundant amount of mandatory regulation – an overreach into the marketplace and competition.