Fiona Phillips

A promise for my dad to help dairy farmers

The words yelled dead in the middle of the night by my dad “I’m going to sell this farm”, as a young girl, still haunt me today.

I made a promise to myself that night that one day I would help people like my dad.

My dad was a dairy farmer. His dad was a dairy farmer, and so on back to 1856 locally.

I studied economics, then later business.

My dad passed away when I was 21.

Thankfully the family dairy farm continues today.

Time went by. I worked, married and raised a family. I was not on the farm but was never far away. With four teenagers, three working on a dairy farm, I know dairy farms mean jobs.

The recent news that fifty per cent of dairy farmers on the NSW south coast could be out of business by this Christmas rocked me to the core. I felt an immense sadness for dairy farmers and their families I knew and for those I didn’t.

The truth is government’s have failed dairy farmers and this just hasn’t happened overnight.

Dairy farmers deserve a fair go and that means a fairer farm gate milk price - that will sustain milk supply and dairy farmers into the future.

Even a Federal Government Inquiry into competition and pricing in the Australian dairy industry has not resulted in the Government implementing the ACCC recommendations - that’s not good enough.

Processors and big supermarkets have a major role here too. It would be socially responsible and in their best long term interests to look after dairy farmers. Imagine a fifty per cent drop in supply of fresh milk locally and what that would ultimately mean for consumers and the price of fresh milk.

Dairy farmers need more bargaining power to get a fairer farm gate milk price. The ACCC recommendations need to be implemented and that means a mandatory code of conduct between dairy farmers and processors.

I haven’t forgotten the promise I made to help people like my dad. Dairy farmers more than ever need a fair go.

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