About 500 farmers have attended a sobering, but peaceful crisis meeting at Tongala to discuss issues holding down milk prices.GEOFF ADAMS February 14, 2013 4:04am
The dairy industry faces a pessimistic future unless they can get better milk prices, speakers told a public protest meeting at Tongala yesterday.
The meeting was organised by a new farm lobby group which developed spontaneously out of an emotional protest in a Western District town in January.
Dairy farmers say their milk prices are running below their cost of production and fear they will be forced to leave the industry.
The meeting attracted some colorful conservative politicians including National Party Senator Barnaby Joyce, who accused big supermarkets of exploiting dairy farmers and urged the dairy farmers to stick together with other farm commodity groups.
Senator Joyce said milk was now being sold on supermarket shelves at a price less than bottled water.
Ausbuy representative Lynne Wilkinson told farmers the Australian government had negotiated ‘‘free trade’’ agreements with the US which did not benefit Australia for 15 to 20 years, while cheap imported food flooded into Australia.
She said every major food commodity except rice was controlled by foreign interests, including 75 per cent of the country’s dairy brands.
She said Free Trade Agreements were not free nor in Australia’s interest if it meant growers and processors were competing against foreign government subsidised products.
Most of the crowd had to stand up as seating was limited but they waited quietly during the two and a half hour meeting.
Supermarkets are paying suppliers, including dairy farmers, less because they are in a constant push to increase profits, entrepreneur Dick Smith OAM said.
Mr Smith said the obsession with increased growth and profits was not sustainable and would have consequences for Australians’ way of life.
He told the meeting he was shocked Australia had become a net importer of food.
‘‘It’s globalisation gone made and it’s capitalism gone mad,’’ Mr Smith said
Shepparton police pursued two youths on foot near Waters Rd this afternoon.
The Mulwala Lions took a huge step forward in the race for the Murray League title with a hard fought, low scoring, 15 point win, against the fancied Barooga outfit, in near perfect conditions at Lonsdale Reserve on Saturday.
Chelsea Campbell is excited with her new business venture, after purchasing Carol Taylor’s hairdressing salon in Hogan St.
THE Echuca-Moama Country Music Festival will kick off next week at Moama RSL with three days of entertainment under the one roof.
NATIONAL tree day came early for Rochester Secondary College with 16 students planting 350 trees in little more than an hour on Thursday.
Goulburn Valley Water, in consultation with the Department of Health & Human Services, has lifted the Boil Water Notice for the township of Tongala.
Australian Army Cadets unit keeps winning awards.
Finley's well-respected Gordon Pyle will be remembered by the Southern Riverina community
HEATHCOTE Park Raceway was back in action on Sunday with a surprise for those expecting owner Russell Clarke to be enjoying his retirement.
Dozens of birds of all shapes and sizes flew the coop as Cobram hosted its inaugural poultry auction last Sunday.
Neil Buckley has been inducted as president of the Deniliquin Lions for the next 12 months.
Superior Seed Co ran a successful Winter Cropping Field Day at Deniliquin last week.
The Benalla Giants came out winners in both the under-14s and under-16s against the Benalla Bulldogs on the weekend.
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