Haunt­ing help gives dairy farm brighter fu­ture

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

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.

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