Sam kicks dairy goals
Former AFL footballer and current ‘Lambassador’ Sam Kekovich was in Shepparton last week to create awareness of the dairy industry’s current situation.
Mr Kekovich is the face of a Farmer Power campaign that has travelled to Bairnsdale, Warrnambool, Geelong, Bendigo, Albury and Shepparton.
The farm lobby group’s executive chair Garry Kerr said Mr Kekovich had been ‘‘incredible’’.
‘‘He’s certainly lifted the profile of what we are trying to achieve,’’ he said.
Mr Kerr explained what the roadshow was all about.
‘‘We’ve started this public awareness campaign to raise the awareness of the plight of our dairy farmers,’’ he said.
‘‘We want to treat the cause not the symptoms.
‘‘Money has been thrown at all the charities to help dairy farmers.
‘‘We’d be better putting that money into stopping the problem in the first place.’’
Mr Kerr is in favour of a mandatory code for the industry, as reported in last week’s Country News.
‘‘If we can get this mandatory code of conduct in, a mandatory code brings about transparency and fairness in the dealings between the processors and the dairy farmers.’’
When asked about comments from Fonterra managing director Rene´ Dedoncker about the costs of a mandatory code, Mr Kerr did not hold back.
‘‘You want to know why it’s costly? It’s costly on the processors not the dairy farmers, that’s why.
‘‘Once we get this equity into the industry, the price of milk should, I won’t say will, increase and contracts will be fair between dairy farmers and processors.’’
Mr Kekovich, a former North Melbourne premiership player, said his work as Lambassador went hand-in-hand with the work he was doing on this tour.
‘‘This is all related,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re a unique community, we’re country folk and the lamb community, dairy community — we’re all one and the same.’’
When asked about his favourite dairy product, Mr Kekovich said he enjoyed them all.
‘‘They’re all my favourites. We’re Australian mate, we all eat cheeses, we drink milk, we have cups of tea, we have cereal in the morning right across the board.
‘‘But unless we do something now we’ll be eating all those imported foods that we don’t know where they’ve come from, what they do and that’s why it’s an imperative that we buy Australian and we do something to rescue the dairy industry.’’
APCO service stations sponsored the event.
Drinking up the attention . . . Sam Kekovich supports the dairy industry by downing a carton of milk.
Joining in . . . APCO Shepparton employees Holly Maddock of Kyabram and Ben Maher of Shepparton get into the spirit of the dairy promotion by dressing up.
Lobbying for a fair go . . . Farmer Power executive officer Garry Kerr wants a better deal for dairy farmers.
Tasty support . . . (Above) Shepparton Men’s Shed members Gary Grey and Kevin Watson took time out to cook the barbecue. Pitching in . . . (Left) Senator Derryn Hinch made a surprise appearance at the Shepparton event.
Kicking goals . . . Strathmerton dairy farmers Greg and Jodi Brooks attended the event.