While Queensland Dairy Organisation has gained a reputation for calling out bad behaviour that damages the dairy industry, it is time we acknowledged those who are trying to sort out the mess.
One of the major players, Woolworths, have consistently stated $1 a litre milk is unsustainable and now they are not just talking, but doing something about it. Woolworths have clearly stepped up to the mark and showed some real leadership.
They stepped out of the comfort zone of a discount race to the lowest price point, that is guaranteed to hurt dairy farmers and made three important moves. Firstly, they were the first to act re applying a drought levy on 2L and 3L Woolworths branded drought milk.
This gets paid to farmers monthly through their processor in a simple, efficient and timely manner to get money in farmers pockets. With feed prices not really easing and drought hanging on it is not enough to fix the dairy industry, but it’s a good start and is very welcome and appreciated by dairy farmers and QDO.
Secondly, a six month extension of the 10c a litre drought levy means that the drought levy will be applied until at least the end of June 2019. This will deliver around 3.5-4c/L per month back to farmers from September 2018 to at least June 2019. This is real in the pocket money for farmers with those supplying the milk to Woolworths, now attracting a clear price advantage over most of those who are not.
The third important step Woolworths took is stating they want to be part of a long-term solution for the Queensland dairy industry.
They have clearly acknowledged the current pricing system is not sustainable and that a long-term solution needs to be found. Importantly, Woolworths wants to be part of the long-term solution. QDO would welcome the opportunity to work with Woolworths and other important players in the industry to ensure the recent gains become permanent and not temporary. By reaching out we are working towards Woolworths goal of a sustainable Queensland dairy industry.