IT has hardly been an auspicious start to the new year for farmers.
Whichever way you turn, prices are taking a massive hit.
For the famed weaner cattle markets, it's meant producers have copped falls of up to 25 per cent.
Lamb prices are languishing at levels considered laughable only a year ago.
Store sheep sales are returning half of what they were last January.
SPC Ardmona has dumped its apricot growers mid-season telling them their fruit is no longer needed.
And dairy farmers are buckling under skyrocketing cost increases and a supermarket duopoly which wants to use their product to entice shoppers to their stores.
Mostly farmers take it on the chin. They largely accept they are price takers, with no one to pass costs on to and no way of influencing what they are paid.
So talk on Monday night, at a dairy crisis meeting in Western Victoria, of blockades at supermarkets by dairy farmers shows just how desperate things are becoming.
The meeting attracted more than 600 farmers and dairy industry players, who have had enough.
It is time that farmers were more vocal and active.
They certainly are overseas, where French farmers are renowned for taking to the streets while the US farming fraternity is a powerful political lobby group.
Whatever means it takes, the farming community needs the broader community to understand who puts food on their plates.
Consumers may welcome cheaper prices when they look at their grocery bills.
But they must understand this comes at a huge personal and financial cost to the Australian growers of the high-quality food.
Sadly, the sombre financial climate, job losses and rising utility costs mean that even with the best intentions and empathy towards farmers, the broader community may make the choice for $1-a-litre milk.