The Four Corners ‘Milked Dry’ program aired Monday 15th and highlighted the financial toll that cheap dairy products and fluctuations in both the domestic and global markets have taken on dairy farmers.
This state of crisis has also shown just how far consumers will rally to help our struggling industry, but it will only solve half the problem.
What we really need now is to go beyond short term measures to create stability for our industry’s long term future. The need for transparency and improved fairness by finding new ways to manage price volatility for farmers; and through simplifying supply contracts so farmers know exactly what it means and how it will affect them.
The first in a series of formal talks with the dairy industry, the Prime Minister Malcom Turnball, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and representatives
of Murray Goulburn met to discuss ways to increase the profitability of the Australian dairy industry in order to support farming families and their
communities. An important thing to take away from this meeting is the fact that the Australian Government and Murray Goulburn both agreed that Australia’s
dairy farmers deserve fair returns at the farm gate, as well as transparency in milk price arrangements and supply contracts. Another important outcome
was the role Murray Goulburn will play in explaining to their suppliers what steps they will take to support farmers and restore confidence to the
We expect a similar message and outcome of next week’s meeting between Fonterra’s Australian management and the Government who will continue to discuss
the state of the dairy industry and how the current issues could be avoided in the future.
The last in the series of talks is the dairy symposium to be held in Melbourne on August 25, chaired by Minister Joyce with representatives from the farming,
processing and retail sectors. We will be asking the government to formally review a number of high priority issues including $1 milk, fair contract
terms and conditions, and a world dairy commodity pricing index.
At ADF, we are working closely with state members and dairy farmer representatives to make sure the government continues to strengthen the industry through
consultation with both Australia’s dairy farmers and processors. We are committed to provide innovative and practical solutions to help farmers achieve
a sustainable level of profitability and ensure that our farmers’ best interests are reflected in the work we do so they can take control of their
situation and make informed choices.
One of the ways the government is helping dairy farmers is by providing assistance through a $579 million support package. This package includes access
to Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans, Farm Household Allowance (FHA), the Rural Financial Counselling Service and an additional $900,000 for Dairy
Australia to roll out ‘Tactics for Tight Times’ one-to-one farm business advice.
The government support package is there to help us through this difficult time. It is very important that dairy farmers, including farm owners, share-farmers
or leasers not self-assess their eligibility for government assistance. If you have any questions relating to whether you are eligible for the concessional
loans, please contact a financial counsellor or the relevant state delivery agency as they will be able to help you with information and the application
Acting ADF President