FARMERS were asked to nominate as delegates to speak to milk processors at a meeting today.
The suggestion floated by Tongala's Alana Brennan involved these farmers presenting milk factories information about the cost of milk production to show them how the industry was coping.
Water and uncertainty around irrigation allocations dominated discussions at the meeting where about 500 people packed the Tongala hall.
Guest speakers including Nationals senate leader Barnaby Joyce and entrepreneur and lobbyist Dick Smith.
Unlike the first Farmer Power meeting at Noorat, most of the two-and-a-half hours was spent listening to presentations from guest speakers.
Towards the end, when members of the crowd were asked to speak, many talked about the stress of water and irrigation legislation.
Marilyn Danieli from D&M Stockfeeds Kyabram asked Mr Joyce for help to deal with the Victorian Government.
She said they had closed 50 per cent of the regions irrigations channels and that was hurting farmers and communities.
A Finley dairy farmer told the crowd he wasn't able to pay all his bills last month.
"It's a horrible feeling when you can't pay them this month and you have to wait until next month it puts pressure on your family and puts pressure on the area," he said.
One of his suggestions was to pool milk and then set a price for a willing buyer to ensure farmers received a sustainable return.
Dianna Malcolm from Zeerust suggested more could be done to tell the story of dairy farming and dairy products to the greater community so urban people understood the significant contribution the industry makes in the economy.
Earlier in the meeting, Senator Joyce said a review of the Competition and Consumer Commission Act would help dairy farmers, particularly unconscionable conduct laws.
Businessman Dick Smith spoke about his experience convincing Coles to purchase his brand, Australian grown beetroot for an extra 30 cents per can, compared with the house-brand product.
After the supermarket giant's initial reluctance to stock the product he said it has been "walking off shelves" and was proof the Australian consumer was willing to pay a little more to support local produce.
He suggested dairy farmers could do this with their milk.