Haunting help gives dairy farm brighter future
A HALLOWEEN fundraising campaign by BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday has raised $7813.30 to help keep the doors of a Eungella dairy farm open.
Operating for more than a century, the dairy farm owned by Paula and Dale Fortescue last month had its last milk pick-up after a deal with Parmalat forced the end of their milk supply.
“When I started nine years ago up here, there was six (dairy farmers) and every couple of years some go out – purely on the milk price,” Mr Fortescue said.
“We knew the writing was on the wall.
“It is only a matter of time when they stopped coming to get us.”
After the farmers’ supply contract expired in December 2016, negotiations about premiums in south-east Queensland went into arbitration.
When the contract finally settled about a month ago, the price dropped by about 1.5 cents per litre.
Mr Fortescue started a crowd-funding campaign and has been working tirelessly for the past year to set up a pasteurising plant so he can process milk and other dairy products on the farm and supply locally.
Kicking in a nice sum after Halloween celebrations at the BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday, resort owner Greg McKinnon said his business was happy to help local dairy farmers stay afloat.
“I am passionate about supporting local businesses and, if we can keep the Eungella dairy farm open, it will be to all our advantage,” he said.
“This just shows how when people pull together, you can make a huge difference.”
Parmalat stopped collecting milk from local dairy farmers on November 1 and, unless the Fortescues can raise the remaining $12,000 for a pasteurising plant by the end of November, the region will lose its last supplier of local milk.
Many of the animals in the park at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort have come from the Eungella dairy farm and children visiting the resort thoroughly enjoy petting them and seeing them fed.
For many children it is their only chance to get near these cute farm animals.
Iam passionate about supporting local businesses and, if we can keep the Eungella dairy open, it will be to all our advantage. — Greg McKinnon
FRIGHTENING FUNDRAISER: Mel Schroeder in her Halloween gear with guests Emerson Baker and Millie Lawson.
LOCAL: Paula and Dale Fortescue with their pasteurising unit at their farm in Eungella.