It is very disappointing to see the RSVP numbers back for this week’s Dairy Plan meetings planned for Lismore (22 May); Toowoomba (23 May) and Gympie (24 May) and Malanda (24 June). Based on the lists provided, there are less than ten farmers RSVP’d to each of the consultation sessions.
QDO receives dozens of calls each week and not a call goes by without farmers giving their opinion on the state of the industry and what they believe needs to be done to remedy the situation. For example, we know that farmers are:
sick of not getting services they want and expect,
sick of not knowing where their money is being spent,
sick of lead organisations not actively fighting for a fair farm gate price.
The list of complaints is extensive, but without voicing them in the right forums, they won’t count towards the creation of an actionable plan.
In social media forums farmers are saying that it is the responsibility of the lead organisations to come up with the solutions, and we don’t disagree.
It is helpful that farmers provide clear feedback by complaining about the state of the industry to organisations including QDO. However, farmers also must provide clear input to the dairy plan as to what needs to be done to change.
There are three key questions being asked at Dairy Plan meetings will help inform the level of reform required within the industry and what that reform looks like:
1. How much change is required to get the dairy industry to a 'better place'? Minor tweaking? Major transformation?
2. What needs to change?
3. If the Australian Dairy Plan is a success, what will people say about Australian dairy in 2025?
Through discussions with members and our board, we have identified the following key points that need consideration:
farmers and processors need to lead the industry together - industry wide profitability needs to be every organisation’s primary purpose
government funding and levies must go to peak industry bodies to allocate to the highest priorities and most capable organisations
a rationalisation of all farmer service delivery organisations so that there is a focus on the profitability of the industry, that organisations have a defined purpose and role within the industry’s structure and that there should be no duplication, overlap or competition for membership or funding between organisations.
As one of the service delivery organisations, QDO is not immune to scrutiny. There may well be some hard truths we learn as a result of the consultations. If that is the case, QDO is prepared to change or be restructured as is necessary to benefit the long-term future of our industry.
We all have a role and a responsibility to create a sustainable industry for the future and we must use these forums either online or in person to have our say.
If you are not internet savvy, please contact QDO pm 07 3236 2955 and QDO can register for you.
QDO President – Brian Tessmann