Dairy farmers thank retailers for helping move the industry forward.

Late yesterday afternoon, the Australian dairy industry rejoiced with the announcement from Coles and Aldi that they intended to remove $1/L milk across all stores from today.

While we celebrated when Woolworths first announced the removal of $1 milk from its shelves, the dairy industry could not claim success until Coles, Australia’s second largest supermarket in terms of market share, also agreed. That Aldi followed closely behind is no surprise.

“We are delighted by Coles’ announcement last night” said QDO President Brian Tessmann. “They have recognised that a fixed base price for milk was unsustainable and it is great that Coles appears keen to play a key role in helping move the Australian dairy industry forward. “

“$1 milk is dead and gone and it’s time to move on. We’re looking forward to working closely with all retailers, processors and government to address the larger systemic issues within the dairy industry. Finding and implementing long term, sustainable structural reforms is our next goal. Getting there will need to be a concerted effort by all parties” said Mr Tessmann.

“Having key political leaders including Agricultural Minister David Littleproud, Llew O’Brien and Matt Canavan keep the pressure on supermarkets throughout our campaign has been instrumental. Their continued support, and the support of all politicians, will be imperative to move the dairy industry forward” said Mr Tessmann.

The battle to end $1 milk has been waged by various state and national dairy industry bodies since it was introduced just over 8 years ago. Until now, it has been easy for supermarkets to ignore the noise and whinging.

 “We have never said that a 10-cent increase was our end goal. It’s nowhere near enough. While all dairy farmers appreciate the goodwill of the Australian public in response to the drought, at the end of the day we can’t survive on charity and don’t want to. We simply want to get on with business and make sure that we can continue to provide Australians with fresh dairy produce” said Mr Tessmann.

“That the statement by Coles implies that they want to play a leading role in making this happen is not just a good thing, but a great thing” said Mr Tessmann.

For more information contact QDO 0424 416 317

Coles faces further backlash for refusal to lift the price of milk.

A fourth-generation dairy farmer says he would prefer to give his milk away for free than sell it as a loss for the benefit of the major supermarket.

Dairy farmers are so “angry and disappointed” with Coles for refusing to hike its milk price he is threatening to tear up his contract with processor Norco.

Woolworths announced earlier this week it will add an extra 10 cents per litre to benefit struggling farmers who would receive “every cent” of the price increase.

But Coles resisted calls to follow its rival, citing cost of living pressures on customers when defending the company’s decision.

Paul Weir, a fourth-generation dairy farmer in northern NSW, is in the top 10 per cent of Norco’s producers with a supply of 2.5 million litres of milk a year, the ABC reported.

The cooperative is contracted to process milk for Coles.

“Full credit to Woolworths for doing it, but words can’t describe how angry and disappointed we are with Coles’ stand,” he told the national broadcaster.

“We’re in one of the worst droughts in history, milk’s dropping down to one of the lowest records in a long time, and everyone around here is doing it tough, feed costs have gone through the roof.

“The fundamental problem is that it’s well under the cost of production, and if this industry is going to be sustainable we need a price rise across the whole dairy cabinet — milk, cheese, yoghurts, butter, the whole lot.”

Mr Weir told the ABC he had contacted Norco asking for an early release from his contract unless the major supermarket changes its tune on the price of milk.

“Their business values and mine just don’t agree, I choose not to do business with people like that and I don’t want any of my milk going through a Coles for them to make profit out of it while I’m sitting here making a loss on it.

“I would much prefer to give my milk away in front of a Coles shop then actually let Coles sell it as a loss just for them to profiteer on it.”

Rather than lift the price of milk, Coles said earlier in the week it would be collecting donations for dairy farmers and matching every dollar raised from Monday.

“One thing I can’t do as CEO of Coles is disadvantage our customers at a time when clearly they’re under household budget strain,” said Coles chief Steven Cain after handing down the company’s first half-year result on Tuesday.

“We’ve been one of the main supporters of farmers, we’ve distributed nearly $16 million so far, but it’s important that we don’t disadvantage Coles customers.”

"Woolworths is getting rid of $1 milk. It’s time Coles and Aldi got behind dairy farmers and did the same.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud on Tuesday took the drastic step to call on shoppers to boycott both Coles and Aldi for refusing to lift the price of its budget milk.

He accused the supermarket chain of “pretending” to be a decent corporate citizen and Aldi of “hiding under the stairs”.

Dairy farmers struggling with drought needed an end to Australia’s “$1 milk disaster”, he said, a price war that began eight years ago and has been blamed for sending some farmers to the wall.

“Publicity stunts like (Coles) asking shoppers to donate at the counter to help struggling farmers are just a smoke screen to hide the fact they pay bugger-all for milk,” Mr Littleproud said.

“The farmers wouldn’t need donations from the public if Coles and Aldi paid fair prices.”

A Coles spokesperson told news.com.au that it continues to support the dairy farming industry.

“Coles has been exploring additional options in relation to how to best support Australia’s hard working farmers, including how we ensure that drought assistance initiatives are as efficient and effective as possible,” the spokesperson said.

“Coles is committed to finding a better model that can be adopted by the industry to assist Australian farmers, and intends to liaise with relevant parties including government and the ACCC.”

Source: News.com.au

In the News: Dairy farmer’s online campaign to end $1 milk draws attention.

Damien Tessman.jpg

A DAIRY farmer’s online campaign urging Coles and Aldi to abandon their cheap milk prices is gathering speed.

Fifth-generation dairy farmer from Kingaroy, Damien Tessmann, started the campaign to get Coles and Aldi to end $1-per-litre milk prices “through the power of social media”.

After Woolworths ended its $1 milk prices last week, there has been a strong call for the other big supermarkets to follow suit.

Kingaroy dairy farmer, Damien Tessmann, has started an online campaign urging Coles and Aldi to end $1-per-litre milk. Picture: contributed

Mr Tessman started the Facebook group C’mon Coles, where he shared a video calling for other dairy farmers to share their stories, and urged consumers to boycott Coles and Aldi.

Across all media platforms, the video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

“I think it’s one of these things where it’s important to be grassroots and farmer driven,” Mr Tessmann said.

“I want to do something to communicate with consumers and to make sure they vote with their wallets.

“It really is that David-and-Goliath battle.

“It’s (the response) really been overwhelming and it’s really about keeping that pressure on. I think people really do want to help farmers, I don’t buy into that city/country divide.”

The Likes on the C’mon Coles Facebook page have been growing organically, according to Mr Tessmann.

“It’s started off here in Kingaroy and I often look at (Facebook) notifications of where people are coming from. There was one this morning from Western Australia.

“It’s really great that we’ve got this far from just a farmer posting a video.”

Mr Tessmann and a group of other dairy farmers took a cow and stood outside Aldi in Kenmore, talking to consumers.

Damien Tessmann, Susan McDonald, Craig Brook, and Brad Teese with Dianne the jersey cow outside Aldi in Kenmore. Picture: contributed

Damien and co.jpg

“All demographics had positive things to say about the dairy industry and our cause,” he said.

“It really warms my heart that consumers in metropolitan Australia want to help us out.”

Mr Tessmann has been in the dairy industry all his life.

“It’s something that consumes you,” he said.

“When you’re on the land in a particular industry, you become really passionate about it.

“Dairy farmers are renowned for being on the shy side, so it’s great to see farmers getting passionate and involved and that’s what’s keeping me going.”

The C’mon Coles Facebook page has received 1600 Likes so far.

Kilcoy dairy farmer, Ashley Harrison, has also gotten behind the campaign and shared a video on the page.

But Mr Tessmann said other diary farmers had been hesitant.

“There has been some reluctance from Norco suppliers,” he said.

“It’s horrible that they think there will be a backlash from Coles if they openly jump on this campaign.

“That’s been the feedback from half a dozen farmers.

“I think that’s really sad about the state of the dairy industry.”

Mr Tessman said the next step in the campaign was to keep the momentum going.

“It’s about keeping that pressure on, but it all comes down to consumers. They’re our biggest weapon in this battle.

“It’s been a deafening silence from Coles. We’ve been tagging them in all our posts.

“Woolworths responded and said ‘thank you for your support and we understand how important the dairy industry is’.

“Coles can’t even return a tweet to say ‘this is what we’re doing’.”

Source: CASSANDRA GLOVER, Rural Weekly