Peak farm bodies welcome red meat Senate Inquiry

Australia’s largest state farmer organisations today congratulated the Senate for listening to the agricultural industry’s calls for an inquiry into the red meat processing sector.

The Victorian Farmers Federation and the NSW Farmers Association have been working in close partnership over the last two months to put a spotlight on the red meat processing sector and the detrimental effects it’s having on farm gate prices.

It follows both the Barnawartha Boycott meeting and growing market power including the takeover of Primo by Brazilian agri-giant JBS.

“This is a big win for the farmers’ voice across Australia and confirms an inquiry into the red meat sector is necessary to get to the bottom of sector issues,” VFF Livestock President Ian Feldtmann said.

“For too long now processors have been taking advantage of the farmer and we are sick of it.

“The past 15 years has seen consistent increases in the retail price of red meat while farm gate prices have remained stagnant. It’s time this changed,” Mr Feldtmann said.

NSW Farmers Livestock Chair Derek Schoen said: “We keep hearing that increased consolidation creates efficiencies through economies of scale; that mergers and acquisitions can provide additional dividends for the producer. But the only thing farmers have seen is higher inputs and diminishing returns.

“I’m not against anyone making a quid in this game but I am opposed to seeing farmers being ripped off,” he said.

“If agriculture is going to be one of the next economic engines for Australia then we need to ensure we get the economic settings right. This Inquiry is an opportunity to do that.

The VFF and NSWFA congratulate Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie and NSW Senator John Williams who’ve shown great leadership on this issue.

“With their support and passion for regional Australia and farmer livelihoods our industry has much greater chance of being sustainable,” Mr Feldtmann said.

18 March 2015

Contact: Veneta Chapple

Phone: 0429 990 218

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