READING the recent reports in The Standard of the struggle to survive by dairy farmers has reminded me of my own involvement in dairying, which goes back about 60 years, and the roller-coaster ride it has always been.
When my wife and I bought our farm in 1973 it was a great time to be a dairy farmer. Although a chosen few held liquid-milk contracts, all farmers were soon the beneficiaries of the introduction of market regulation, which meant we were to all receive a fair share of this lucrative market.
The Victorian Dairy Industry Authority was formed and it performed magnificently — remember the extremely successful Big M advertising campaigns — the gorgeous Big M girls, the positive image that resulted? Our monthly milk cheques were supplemented with a percentage of proceeds from liquid milk sales and everyone prospered. We built a new house, then a new dairy.
But it was all too much for the greedy big guys of the industry, who don’t like sharing with anybody. In a politically-spun campaign which resembles somewhat the climate scam, farmers were brainwashed into believing deregulation of the industry was essential for the benefit of all and the wheels were set in motion to deregulate.
When Alex McKenzie, of Cooriemungle, objected to this plan, warning that the industry would be dictated by supermarket influences, he was expelled from the UDV, if my memory serves me correctly, and treated as a pariah. The UDV campaigned actively to promote deregulation, if my memory also is correct. Nine out of 10 mug farmers voted “yes” to deregulation. Now they, or their successors, are reaping the harvest of that suicidal decision. So why would they want to blockade supermarkets now?
They handed their industry over to the food giants. Why blame others, when fiscal stupidity saw farmers eagerly accepting advice from ratbag advisers, who said “get big, or get out”, leading to huge investment in capital with little consideration for future market trends, or the exposure to wage constraints, WorkCare, OH&S, insurance etc and the dependence of paper movers, all of whom want to plunge their snouts in the trough?
For too long our exporters have kowtowed to the Communist-Nazi remnants in the EU, whose members are now going broke because of their expensive decarbonisation programs, with regard to green requirements for our exports, and forgotten that the opportunities now lie in other countries.
The only problem there is, of course, these target countries have wage structures far less lavish than ours, making competition difficult.
As far as I can visualise, we need some sort of financial revolution to put this country back on the rails.
Don Ward, Amor’s Road, Gorae West