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​Support from East to West

2016 is proving to be a year of contradictions for Australian dairy farmers.

As I spent a few days in Western Australia this week, I was reminded of the significant challenges we are facing right across the country and the remarkable
resilience dairy farmers are showing in times of hardship.

Western Australian dairy farmers have mostly been buffered from export oriented market volatility and have experienced a good season, yet they are not
immune from other difficulties. Bushfires impacted the region and a growing oversupply in the domestic milk market led to processors telling farmers
they’re no longer required. With limited options of processors that suppliers can shift to, these dairy farmers face an uncertain future.

ADF has been working with WA Farmers, processors and government, to help find a solution for these farmers as we know there are strong opportunities for
the WA dairy industry.

Reflecting sentiments right across the country, it was heartening to see the amount of support for the industry at the WA Farmers Conference on Thursday.
Even when we are under pressure, we are an industry that has the know-how and motivation to overcome these adversities and thrive in the long term.

No one is alone in these scenarios and we need to ensure that all farmers feel supported during tough times.

Over the past few years there have been examples in all states where decisions of some processors have severely affected farmers and reinforced the vulnerability
of dairy farmers’ market position. It is unsustainable and unacceptable to expect that farmers continue to bear the full weight of financial risk in
the supply chain.

We are working, and will continue to work, with all states to find a better way to balance this risk and improve transparency for the long-term, sustainable
profit and ultimately, survival of the whole industry.

David Basham

Acting ADF President

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