QDO wants young farmers to stand for QDO elections

QDO has recently changed its structure and this was approved by QDO members at the AGM on 29 August 2017. As a result of this, QDO elections will commence in October 2017. A major opportunity that QDO has identified is the lack of young farmers involved in our organisation and this issue was discussed at length at our recent AGM. QDO needs young farmers and their fresh ideas to lead the organisation and industry forward.

QDO is extremely keen to fix this and have taken active steps in this area. Under the new QDO structure we have five districts which are North, Central/Burnett, Gympie/Moreton, Scenic Rim/Lockyer Valley and the Darling Downs. We will have one State Councillor from each district. In addition we have up to six additional District Councillors per district.

QDO is eager to attract as many young farmers as possible to stand for QDO elections. We believe that standing for District Council will provide an easy pathway into QDO for young farmers.  By becoming a QDO District Councillor, young farmers will be able to get an insight into the way that QDO operates including attending some QDO Board meetings. In addition farmers will gain valuable training including formal governance training for Boards.

The time commitments are small but young farmers will have the opportunity to provide direction to QDO and create a pathway onto the QDO board. QDO will commence a project soon on succession planning, financial planning and budgeting which will focus on facilitating more young farmers taking over dairy farms. QDO desperately needs young farmers on QDO District Council to drive this project.

QDO will be having meetings with young farmers in all five districts in October. This will include a dinner meeting in Toowoomba on the evening of 4 October and in Malanda on the evening of 11 October. Further meetings in the other three districts will be announced in the coming weeks.

I strongly encourage all QDO members under 40 to attend these casual dinners and find out more about QDO. Please rsvp to Kerrie at QDO on 3236 2999 or ea@dairypage.com.au

Thanks and look forward to seeing you soon.

Eric Danzi,
QDO Executive Officer
 

Chinese buyer leading bid for Murray Goulburn

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As seen in Dairy Australia 's Dairyweb News, 21 September

Chinese dairy Mongolia Yili Industry Group has made a high bid for MG in the first round of the sale of the company being run by Deutsche Bank.

Bid for MG and part of the organisation closed last Friday, but sources are saying Yili has made a generous offer that could be worth $1.20 a unit. This is a significant increase on the current trading price of 86c. It has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch as its adviser.

Other Chinese bidders include Inner Mongolia Fuyuan Farming, a subsidiary of Yili’s rival in China Mengniu Dairy. It is a major shareholder in Burra Foods. Another keen bidder is A2 Milk looking to boost its Australian milk supply. Saputo, Parmalat, Bega and Fonterra are also in the mix looking to buy either the entire company or parts of the operation.

The successful buyer will face regulatory hurdles with the ACCC for the local bidders and the Foreign Investment Review Board for overseas players.

QDO knock on doors in Canberra

L to R: Eric & Brian with Senator James McGrath and Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.

This week QDO President Brian Tessmann, Executive Officer Eric Danzi and advisor Mike Smith travelled to Canberra for three days of meeting with members and senators from both sides of the chamber.

Some of the key meetings were with Joel Fitzgibbon and with Barnaby Joyce’s office. QDO found the deputy PM’s key advisor Simon Price very knowledgeable on the issue and keen to work through options.

QDO also received strong support from Queensland LNP Senator James McGrath and Members for Llew O’Brien (Wide Bay), Scott Buchholz (Wright). QDO also found shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh keen to find out more about the unfair competition issues plaguing Queensland dairy farmers.

High on the discussion list with all members were the effects test, unfair contract legislation, the senate economics committee’s recommendations and the current ACCC inquiry which is to report on November first.

Update on the Dairy Code of Practice

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Article by Australian Dairy Farmers

The Code of Practice for Contractual Arrangements between farmers and processors was a major achievement for the industry and will help ensure greater transparency and fairness in milk supply and pricing.

Officially drawn up in June 2017 by the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC), with farmers through Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) and processors through Australian Dairy Products Federation (ADPF) who worked collaboratively and in good faith to establish the code.

ADF believes that contracts need to be fair, simple, realistic and easily understood by both parties. ADF also believed that contracts need to comply with the Unfair Contracts Legislation that come into effect November 2016.

Since June, ADF has spoken directly to quite a number of farmers regarding the terms set out in the Code of Practice and their individual contracts or supply agreements. The majority of questions have centred on issues around dual supply, loyalty payments and transparency of payments. Many of these issues are now with the ACCC and will be further examined by industry in 12 months, when the Code is due to be reviewed.

At the time the Code was released all state dairy organisations had signed. Out of the processors Fonterra, Murray Goulburn, Bega, Lion, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, Burra Foods, Australian Consolidated Milk and Freedom Goods Group had signed. Last month Parmalat signed.

If you believe your contract or supply agreement is unfair:

  • Talk to your processors and ask them to remove the term or amend it so it is no longer unfair
  • Contact the Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman
  • Contact your local state or territory consumer protection agency
  • If you have a specific issue, contact ADF to have it registered and raised confidentially with the ACCC
  • Contact the ACCC 
  • Talk to a lawyer

If you are concerned about the terms of a contract you have received, you can visit the ACCC’s Agriculture Unit for information about the law. Website:https://www.accc.gov.au/about-us/information-for/agriculture
 ; ACCC toll free number is 1300 302 502.

Finally, if you operate a small dairy business or family enterprise in dairy and has been affected by unfair contract terms, you can also make a complaint to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman. Website: http://www.asbfeo.gov.au/dairy-industry-consultation
 / ; ASBFEO toll free number is 1300 650 460.

Australian Dairy Farmers seeking farmer business directors

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Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) is seeking three dairy farmer business directors and an independent director.­­­­

Two dairy business directors are due to retire after the set three-year term, but can nominate, as can independent director Dedee Woodside who has served the set two-year term.

Van Diemens Land Co-director Bruce Donnison who replaced former ADF president David Basham earlier this year, is also due to retire and can renominate.

Elections will be held at the ADF AGM on 24 November.

QDO members save over $50,000 with Make-It-Cheaper

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Make-It-Cheaper (MIC) has successfully managed to identify over $65,000 in energy savings for QDO members so far. Sixteen QDO members have already taken the service and changed their power supplies, saving themselves money on energy costs.

One farmer has saved $16, 500, which is the biggest saving made through the program to date. Most farmer participants have saved anywhere between $3,000 and $7,000 in energy costs for their farm businesses.

Ergon Energy users will have to wait for consultations as MIC are still in negotiations to extend its services.

Make-It-Cheaper is encouraging more farmers to take up its offer to identify how they can cut costs through their energy practices. 

Contact QDO on 3236 2955 for more information on how you can save. 

AGM wrap up

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QDO’s Annual General Meeting and Forum held earlier this week in Toowoomba was a fantastic opportunity for members and dairy farmers across the state to come together and have their say on the issues affecting the industry.

It was especially great to hear from Shane Webcke who shared his very personal story on farm safety. Many thanks go to Chris Ketter, Queensland Senator (ALP), Chair of Economics References Committee, for fronting up and taking hard hitting questions from the floor. ACCC Agricultural Commissioner Mick Keogh also offered insights on when the ACCC Dairy Inquiry will be released.

While it was disappointing that Steve Laracy had to pull out of the event on the day, we were pleased to see there was much media interest in the Toowoomba milk plant and the future of the Queensland dairy industry as a whole.

QDO would like to formally thank sponsors of the event, Norman Repacholi from Dairy Australia and Australian Dairy Farmers CEO David Inall for their support.

Register now for free biosecurity workshops

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Remember to register for QDO’s free farm biosecurity workshops, kicking off in September in Rockhampton, Miriam Vale, Maleny and Beaudesert.

QDO member participants will develop accredited biosecurity plans for their farms and will have the opportunity to sign up for FREE Bovine Johnes disease slurry tests.

PLEASE DO NOT FORGET TO REGISTER for your local workshop by contacting Kerrie ea@dairypage.com.au OR 3236 2955.

See below how many members have registered for the upcoming workshops so far.

QDO to deliver more free farm biosecurity workshops

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QDO will be running further biosecurity workshops across Queensland in September and early October as promised in Rockhampton, Miriam Vale, Maleny, Beaudesert, Kingaroy, Toowoomba, Gatton, Millaa Millaa and Malanda.

The workshops are for QDO members and are free for QDO members. Please take advantage of this opportunity as they will be the last workshops offered in this series. Places are limited so please rsvp to Kerrie ASAP to book your place.

Develop your farm biosecurity plan and get a free Bovine Johnes Disease (BJD) test:

QDO encourage you to join members at the upcoming farm biosecurity workshops that will provide you with a signed farm biosecurity plan and enabling you to get a free Johnes disease slurry test.

If you are attending the workshops and have a laptop please bring it to the workshop. If you do not have a laptop do not worry.

These workshops are delivered by QDO and are for QDO members.

  • Rockhampton – 6 September 10am-1.30pm, Gracemere Saleyard Training Room, 16 Saleyards Rd, Gracemere
  • Miriam Vale - 7 September 10am-1.30pm, Miriam Vale Community Hall, Blomfield Street, Miriam Vale
  • Maleny - 8 September 10am-1.30pm, Old Witta School, 316 Witta road, Witta
  • Beaudesert  - 15 September 10am-1.30pm, Beaudesert Bowls Club, Hopkins Street, Beaudesert
  • Kingaroy – 3 October 10am-1.30pm, QDAF Research Facility, 214 Kingaroy-Cooyar Road, Kingaroy
  • Toowoomba - 4 October 10am-1.30pm, QDAF Green Room, 203 Tor Street, Toowoomba
  • Gatton - 5 October 10am-1.30pm, QDAF Gatton Research Facility, Warrego Highway, Gatton
  • Millaa Millaa - 11 October, 10.30am-2.00pm, CWA Hall, 3 Palm Ave, Millaa Millaa
  • Malanda  - 12 October 10am-1.30pm Lion Training Room, Malanda

RSVP: Kerrie ea@dairypage.com.au OR 3236 2955

QDO encourage all members to attend one of the workshops to ensure you have an accredited biosecurity plan for your farm. You will also have the opportunity to sign up for FREE BJD slurry tests.

Wage changes for the dairy industry

The Fair Work Commission on 6 June 2017 handed down its Decision in the Annual Wage Review which made changes to wages in the dairy industry.  If any QDO member wants help with industrial relations matters please contact QDO by calling 3236 2955 and we will get you in contact with our specialist in this area from PEQ.

The changes will take effect from the beginning of the first full pay period commencing on orafter 1 July 2017.

See below a table detailing the new wage changes for the dairy industry.

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Accommodation charge: An amount agrees to in writing between the Employer and Employee.

Keep deduction: $125.13 per week where provided with accommodation and ALL meals.

Leading hand allowance                         $ Per Week
In charge of: 2-6 employees                    21.63
7-10 employees                                        25.21
11-20 employees                                      35.93
21+ employees                                         45.14

Superannuation: 9.5%