Farmers that attended a meeting at Tongala yesterday said they were struggling to make ends meet due to low milk prices.GEOFF ADAMS February 14, 2013 4:33am
The dairy industry faces a pessimistic future unless it 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 last month.
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.
Senator Joyce accused big supermarkets of exploiting dairy farmers and urged dairy farmers to stick together with other farm commodity groups.
He 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 United States 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. Also, free trade agreements were not free nor in Australia’s interest if it meant growers and processors were competing against foreign government-subsidised products, she said.
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 mad and it’s capitalism gone mad,’’ Mr Smith said.
Farmer Power northern co-ordinator Nigel Hicks said he was pleased with the meeting and impressed by the number of people who turned out.
One of the organisation’s goals is to have the wider community understand the issues and he noted the large number of media representatives who attended.
Some farmers were unhappy the speakers took almost two hours before the farmers could make their points.
When teenage sensation Jack Hammond arrived in Tongala with his dairy farming family in January, his name sparked interest in several coaches across the district.
The Yarrawonga Pigeons have secured a vital win over Wangaratta Magpies at JC Lowe Oval in Yarrawonga.
On Wednesday, April 22, 11 walkers from Shepparton Adventure Club travelled to Strathmerton then on to Ulupna Island.
Uniformed police are being plucked from the district’s 16-hour stations to work with one-member stations so officers are not patrolling on their own.
A Rochester woman who stole more than $250 worth of money, cigarettes and food from her workplace of four years has been convicted and fined $500, plus court costs.
The final 25 players have been chosen to represent the Goulburn Valley Football League in their quest to regain the number one football ranking in country Victoria.
A 640 000 bird proposal finally gets the green light from Strathbogie Shire Council.
Record cattle prices were recorded at the Finley Saleyards on Friday
People in rural and remote areas are significantly over-represented in the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.
Barooga will host an information forum on the National Disability Insurance Scheme on Tuesday night.
The Deniliquin Rodeo Arena was in full swing for the recent Deniliquin Classic Barrel Race.
GrainCorp has announced an investment of $50 million to increase oilseed crushing capacity and efficiency at its Numurkah facility in Victoria.
Mark Soyer represented Australia at the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Canada.
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