Last Thursday, July 18, the plight of dairy farmers in southern Queensland was highlighted to some state politicians and dairy processors at an event organised by David Janke on his farm west of Toowoomba.
Along with me the attendees included directors from Norco and the collective bargaining group Premium along with field staff from at least two major local processors and state opposition members Tony Perret and Pat Weir. In his address to the gathering David made the point that while the farm gate price of milk has gone up since the QDO inspired scheme to get 10 cents onto the former $1 a litre generic supermarket milk, the increases in feed costs since this current drought started has far outweighed the improvement. He added that many farmers in his region are facing the prospect of being completely out of feed soon with little prospect of being able to source any more.
David's focus on the day was to encourage the state government and regional processors to raise the retail price of milk by 30c/litre and for all that revenue to flow back to Queensland dairy farmers. Some other speakers, including me, related other relevant issues, from the difficulty sourcing any fodder for cows to the now massive under-production in this state to the huge loss of dairy farms in northern Victoria and resulting loss of milk production there. All the while David remained resolute that he was focused on the Queensland price and that state government could work with retailers and processors to increase milk prices here in Queensland. David became focused on that after a discussion he had with Deputy Premier Jackie Trad at the community cabinet event in Toowoomba a few months ago.
In following on from this event I believe the onus is now on the state politicians on both sides of parliament to outline what they are able to do and/or willing to do both to raise the local milk price and also assist dairy farmers in Queensland to survive the current drought and achieve better margins in both the short and long term.