Levies no long term solution to fixing dairy crisis

NSW Farmers’ Association says levies on milk sales aimed at compensating farmers who have not been adequately paid for their milk are not a long term solution to helping farmers being squeezed by the big supermarkets. 

It follows calls in the community for farmers to receive a 10 cent levy on every litre of milk sold as farmers continue to operate under pressure as a result of $1/litre milk.

NSW Farmers’ Dairy Committee Chair Erika Chesworth said that retailers’ behavior to discount dairy products had deteriorated farmers’ economic resilience and it was time for retailers to realise their responsibility to farmers and ensure they are paid a fair price.  

“We need to find a long term solution and that must be farmers being paid a fair price in every season.

“This requires a commitment from retailers to end the private label dairy products, as it is not sustainable for farmers or the dairy industry.

“When farmers are paid fairly they build resilient businesses and plan for ways to deal with dry years. Farmers have been under pressure for years and simply have not had the financial resources to prepare,” Ms Chesworth said.

NSW Farmers is calling for an end to the discounting of all dairy products to ensure that dairy farmers are able to risk proof their business and to ensure a sustainable industry. 

“We know that supermarkets use $1/litre milk to get consumers through their doors and that the retailers are not taking the full loss themselves. They are driving lower prices back onto the processors and hence to farmers”.

“We want the value of the products on supermarket shelves to  represent the quality and effort put into producing these products. It really hurts to see milk on the self for $1 or cheese for less than $10 per kilo, when you know the effort that has gone into producing a quality Australian product.” 

There are two relationships that farmers need improved to get fair prices, that with the processor and also the retailer.

Date: Thursday 6 September 2018    
Media Contact:   Kathleen Curry  |  Public Affairs Director | 0429 011 690