Branded milk boost.

Dairy News Australia - - NEWS -

TWO DAIRY farms in the Scenic Rim in south­ern Queens­land have closed in the past few weeks and dairy farmer and au­thor, Greg Den­nis, blames con­sumer pref­er­ence for cheap milk. A year on from the highly pub­li­cised boy­cott of su­per­mar­ket milk, spurred on by an im­pas­sioned plea by Waleed Aly on The Project, farm­ers are clos­ing their gates. Queens­land farmer Greg Den­nis of 4 Real Milk near Beaudesert in south­ern Queens­land said farms near his prop­erty in the Scenic Rim have been forced to close with one farm last month sell­ing off its herd of 250 milk­ing cows. Mr Den­nis drove a trac­tor 2000 km from his farm to the Ather­ton Table­land (northern Queens­land) last year to raise aware­ness of the dam­age $1/litre milk was do­ing to the lo­cal in­dus­try. “I did it just to keep the con­ver­sion go­ing,” Mr Den­nis said. With farms dy­ing around him, he has writ­ten a new book, Holy Cow, to try to ed­u­cate con­sumers about the im­por­tance of spend­ing an ex­tra dol­lar or two to sup­port farm­ers. “Peo­ple were boy­cotting dol­lar milk and they did it for a month, two months, then slipped back to ex­actly what they were do­ing,” he said. “If you are spend­ing less than $2 per litre for milk you are help­ing to fi­nan­cially break a farmer some­where in Aus­tralia,” he said. In the past decade, nearly half of all the op­er­a­tional dairy farms in Beaudesert and Lo­gan re­gions have closed. “We need con­sumers to know the truth,” Mr Den­nis said. “They are back buy­ing cheap milk and we’re back in cri­sis. We’re back to where we were be­fore the milk war started last year.” Dur­ing the peak of the cheap milk boy­cott last year, Mr Den­nis said milk sales soared by 75 per cent. The spike didn’t last, plum­met­ing just a fort­night later. He opened his farm to the pub­lic last month to launch his book and give the pub­lic a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of farm life. In his book, he writes: “the choice of lo­cal­lypro­duced milk will dis­ap­pear if we don’t sup­port our lo­cal dairy farm­ers and this is al­ready hap­pen­ing”. A fifth gen­er­a­tion dairy farmer, Holy Cow also shares what it is re­ally like to live on the land and the daily bat­tles just to sur­vive. “My re­ally big pas­sion to­day is to re­con­nect city with coun­try so con­sumers un­der­stand there is a cost to their de­ci­sion.” “Qual­ity milk has real value to our health and our lo­cal economies,” he said.

Sarah and Joseph Hunt­ley with 7 month old daugh­ter, Matilda, and Greg Den­nis at the launch of his book, Holy Cow.

Greg Den­nis.

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