‘Do your home­work first’, farm­ers told


Do your home­work and keep the com­mu­ni­ca­tion lines open.

That was the mes­sage ex­perts had for dairy farm­ers at a Fed­er­ated Farm­ers sem­i­nar in Cam­bridge on how sharemilk­ers and farm own­ers could suc­cess­fully ne­go­ti­ate a fair con­tract.

Fail­ing to un­der­stand the agree­ment prop­erly was a core rea­son that dis­putes arose over con­tracts, the fed­er­a­tion’s for­mer sharemilk­ers spokesman Ciaran Tully said.

Farm­ers were run­ning mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar busi­nesses and both par­ties needed to un­der­stand what they were agree­ing to.

He told the 100 farm­ers at the sem­i­nar to seek in­de­pen­dent ad­vice by get­ting a pro­fes­sional firm or some­one trust­wor­thy to look over the con­tract.

‘‘Pro­fes­sional ad­vice will cost you a cou­ple of hun­dred bucks, but if you’re look­ing at a $300,000 to $400,000 milk cheque, is it not worth spend­ing a cou­ple of hun­dred bucks?’’

Sharemilk­ers and farm own­ers needed to ref­er­encecheck their business part­ner be­fore sign­ing any­thing, Tully said.

That was re­in­forced by DLA Phillips Fox lawyer Oliver Hobbs.

It was hard to ter­mi­nate th­ese agree­ments and it was gen­er­ally ex­pected that both par­ties re­mained in them un­til the end.

‘‘You need to do your home­work first to make sure you can work with this per­son for that long.’’

Tully said the con­tract rules should be no dif­fer­ent for fam­ily and friends.

‘‘Get it all in writ­ing. It saves so many prob­lems down the track.’’

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