It is as clear as the skies above drought-stricken Australia, that Coles’ publicity stunt to put the 10-cent levy on a single line of their private label milk is a slap in the face to our farmers. Because they have not put the levy on all brands and all sizes, the amount that would come back would be a fraction of a cent.
That’s bad enough, but what makes it worse is their announcement that they would deliver the pittance that would be collected back through the NFF as opposed to using the correct protocol which would be to pay it directly to their suppliers Norco and Saputo who would then be able to simply pass it on to its members by way of their milk cheque.
The NFF have not made any public statement as to why they agreed to be Coles’ lackey but as the national advocacy body that’s supposed to represent all farmers, it makes you wonder exactly who is in control and where all our primary industry sector is heading.
This week, I was on a young QDO member’s family farm just south of Toowoomba to launch the new campaign Queensland’s dairy farmers. The Cream of Australia. We had a half dozen additional young farmers join the launch to allow the media to ask what they think of their futures in dairy.
I hate to say it, but the interviews were bleak. Not one of them could honestly say whether they would be operational in 2 years or even 12 months’ time because of the drought and the unsustainable price paid for milk. These weren’t the old farmers who are ready to hang up their boots, these were farmers in their twenties and thirties who are giving up hope.
You can talk about the responsibilities of the processors in the situation we are faced with we need to remember they are just the middleman getting equally bullied by the supermarkets.
As farmers and as consumers who shop, we need to stand up to the bullies. We need to say to Coles that we’ve had enough.
QDO President Brian Tessmann