LET'S work together and not against each other to create a better dairy industry, writes NOEL CAMPBELLLike many other concerned people, I attended the meeting at Noorat last week and I congratulate the organisers who were able to bring together so many concerned south-west Victorian dairy farmers and service providers. No one can dispute that the current profitability of dairy farming, whether you are a supplier to the export or domestic market, is inadequate and unsustainable.
However, targeting the people working on your behalf only serves to divide our efforts and undermines our ability to achieve a better outcome for all of us.
The organisations advocating on your behalf, the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV/VFF) and Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), of which UDV/VFF is a member, are tirelessly working on your behalf with very limited resources to gain the results we all need, in order to be successful in our businesses and provide succession opportunities.
At ADF we have run unsustainable losses for the last few years in order to be effective on key issues such as environment and carbon issues, export access, supermarket power, animal health and welfare, water (Murray Darling Basin), and many other issues that make a difference to our bottom line.
We believe we have made a difference.
The ADF has recently restructured and after much negotiation, has put in place with the Australian Dairy Industry Council and processors, additional resourcing to significantly improve whole of industry outcomes.
It can be difficult to claim high-level political assistance with our reduced dairyfarmer population – despite dairying's considerable economic and export performance. However, if we pool our resources and lobby together, our outcomes will show the whole community, both rural and urban, the value of our industry to the nation.
We offer to work with the group of farmers proposed at the meeting at Noorat.
Let's together work through the issues for the benefits of those we care about: our dairy farmer colleagues, their families and those who rely on us for their jobs and communities. Only together can we be successful.
- Noel Campbell is the president of Australia Dairy Farmers