As Brisbane people enjoy the fun of the Ekka with politicians ensuring they are seen in the right places, they all need to remember that if farmers don’t get a fair go soon then Queensland dairy production will become little more than a novelty sometimes witnessed at the show.
While many dairy farmers make considerable efforts in preparing a team of cattle to bring to the exhibition, back at home real world financial issues continue to drive more and more of them out of the industry.
It is interesting that the Labor party is targeting inequality as a focus for the next election campaign. You would think one of the first pit stops on their campaign would be to start addressing the genuine inequality within the dairy industry.
Market power abuses, inequality in the value chain where the share of risk borne by the farm sector is high and the level of return is low compared to the processors and the retailers a problem that has only worsened over the last decade, show real inequity.
Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) has often highlighted these inequalities to all Ekka-goers we can get access to. This year, the notorious QDO crazy cow that discourages the pricing of $1-litre milk may not make a visit. However, I am sure all dairy farmers on site would be happy to talk dairy issues to our interested city cousins.
It is the politicians, however, who have the ability to fix the unfair status quo. Both state and federal parliamentarians from all sides need to come together and work with Queensland dairy farmers and farming organisations to give our dairy industry a brighter future.
As you enjoy this year’s exhibition with delicious flavoured milks, ice creams and waffle cones, don’t forget the Queensland dairy farmers who supply it. Remember to remind our politicians as they pose for the perfect photo at the Ekka to give our dairy farmers the fair go they deserve.