A strong and united voice is important for the dairy industry.
In my role as GippsDairy chair, I’ve been speaking with a lot of farmers about the current situation in the dairy industry.
One of the regular points of discussion is about who is representing the interests of farmers when it comes to milk contracts and pricing.
I’m surprised how often Dairy Australia comes in for criticism for “failing” to intervene in this area when it is not DA’s role to lobby politicians or try to influence the farm-gate milk price.
Dairy Australia is there to build the industry by investing in dairy research, development and extension, promoting dairy as a healthy and sustainable product and gaining and maintaining access to export markets. Everything Dairy Australia does is geared towards better outcomes for levy payers.
The role of advocating for Gippsland dairy farmers is taken up by Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) and the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV).
Both ADF and UDV work hard to represent the dairy industry. The ADF and UDV rely on farmers to sign up as members, both for the financial well-being of the organisations and their ability to lobby with strength of numbers behind them.
Just being a dairy farmer does not mean you are automatically signed on as a member, which means only a fraction of Australian dairy farmers are currently backing the representatives of their own industry.
We need a strong and united voice when lobbying politicians or when negotiating on behalf of dairy farmers. The only way to build that strength is through farmer support.
When it comes to asking ‘who is fighting on behalf of farmers?’ the answer is ‘we are’. Every one of us who signs up to support UDV and ADF is putting more power in the hands of dairy farmers when it comes to important decisions being made.
While it’s vital to have UDV and ADF looking after the big picture issues, it’s also important that farmers are looking after their own business.
Keeping focused on the things you can control in your business is critical during difficult times. Give the GippsDairy office a call on 5624 3900 and organise a Taking Stock visit for your farm. Taking Stock is an ideal starting point for developing a business plan and a great way to check how your business is travelling.
— Graeme Nicoll, GippsDairy chairman