ALL dairy farmers must fight together against low farmgate prices and rising costs, a Durham Ox farmer says.
Lifelong dairy farmer Glen Broad was one of hundreds of farmers who attended the industry crisis meeting organised by lobby group Farmer Power in Tongala last Wednesday.
National Party senator Barnaby Joyce, Australian food campaigner Dick Smith and Lynne Wilkinson from Ausbuy spoke at the event, which follows on from several similar meetings held around the state.
Mr Broad said the combination of poor farmgate prices, the high Australian dollar and significant increases in costs recently, have led the industry to be in its worst state since the 1970s.
“I’m a dairy farmer and I believe all the farmers have to stand together,” Mr Broad said.
“I’ve been milking cows all my life and I’m sick of all the time we get barely anything for what we do.
“The cost of everything has gone up a lot in the last 12 or 18 months, but we’re still getting the same price as we got for our milk 30 years ago.
“The dollar is high and that’s a fair bit of the reason why we’re getting a lower price. But about 60 per cent of our milk ends up in Australia and we’re not getting anywhere near what we should.”
Farmer Power northern Victorian representative Nigel Hicks said the group was holding a planning meeting next week to discuss ideas gathered from the crisis meetings.
“The meeting at Tongala just reinforced where things need to go,” he said. “Basically we have a whole heap of brilliant suggestions from the meetings and we’re going to try to get some action.
“We can’t go away; we have to get an outcome.”
Mr Hicks said the group had received support for its cause from all over Victoria.
“We’ve had a staggering response from Melbourne people and people from Gippsland,” he said.
“We’re viewing it as a community problem, not just our problem.
“It’s really struck a chord.”