Farmer Power president Chris Gleeson reflected on the declining numbers of dairy farmers at a similar meeting three yers ago and blamed this loss on the inaction of the Federal Government.
‘‘Three years ago, we asked for a review (of the industry) and we had Barnaby Joyce sitting up here,’’ Mr Gleeson said.
‘‘He said we’re in trouble and he was going to do something for us. Three years on, and now he is the agriculture minister.
‘‘Has he done anything for the agriculture industry? No. We’re all back here now.’’
Mr Gleeson was concerned the Australian dairy industry needed to focus more on its domestic market over its export market, fearing there would soon not be enough food to feed Australia.
He expressed confusion at the fact that 82000 tonnes of cheese enters the country when Victoria has ‘‘the best producers in the world’’.
Mr Gleeson also highlighted the absurdity of low milk prices today at $1/litre, a 40 per cent reduction on the price from 34 years ago, and how this was unacceptable considering high production costs.
‘‘We can change this to make this industry better so we don’t lose colleagues like we did last time (three years ago).’’
Farmer Power was pushing for more government assistance, an independent review of the dairy industry and a support scheme.
Mr Gleeson encouraged farmers to band together and help promote Australian dairy products.