By QDO Vice-President Matthew Trace
Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) continues to fight on many fronts in the long term battle for an increase to farm gate milk prices. As well as being the number one issue and priority for our membership, it continues to be our industry’s most difficult to deliver upon.
The need for a competitive yet fair market that accurately and proportionately values our milk is key to realising a better deal for our farmer members. The hard fought campaign against retailers dictating the value of milk has been difficult but not ineffective as some may suggest. QDO has tirelessly lobbied consumers, processors, retailers and government to gain recognition of our members’ plight. While we are not done, we are making progress.
A few years back Queensland Woolworths took the step of contracting direct supply for their own brand ‘Farmers Own’. By all accounts these direct suppliers to Woolworths are receiving a fair price for their product. Yes, the criticism was that initially only one farmer received a better price for their milk, but this has now increased to four farmers. Imagine the benefits if this was able to be grown to twenty, thirty farmers or more?
After the social media storm backing branded products there was a surge in support for branded milk and also for smaller processors and their local suppliers. The additional sales resulted in Maleny Dairies taking on an additional supplier to meet demand. We are proud of the contribution smaller processors are making to our industry and just want them to keep on growing. Maleny Dairies, Maleny Cheese, Scenic Rim 4Real Milk, Mungalli Creek Dairy, Barambah Organics, Cooloola Milk, Kenilworth Dairies and now Central Queensland /Whitsunday Dairy Fresh are just some of those helping to driving an increase of competition for Queensland milk.
Increased competition is good for our members and overtime will improve farm gate milk price. Without the continuation of this sustained lobbying effort by QDO I don’t believe we would have gained the community support so far that has driven these positive changes to our industry.