Dairy symposium planned to look at solutions to industry crisis

Dairy symposium planned to look at solutions to industry crisis

Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has told a Victorian dairy farmer lobby group he’s planning to hold a symposium, later this month, to discuss solutions to problems currently facing the industry.


Mr Joyce wrote to Farmer Power president Chris Gleeson, after the group raised concerns about the reduction in farm gate prices, by Fonterra and Murray Goulburn (MG). 

Mr Joyce said he, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, would meet with MG first, to discuss what steps the co-operative was taking, to provide a secure, viable future, for its suppliers.

“Following that meeting, I will convene a Dairy Industry Symposium, involving dairy farmers, processors and retails, to discuss industry solutions to the problems, impacting the dairy industry,” Mr Joyce said in his letter.

A spokesman for Mr Joyce said the symposium would be held in Melbourne, on Thursday, August 25. 

Mr Joyce said the measures would build on steps, taken by the government, to create new export markets for farm produce, support farm businesses, and deliver accelerated depreciation for fencing, water and fodder storage.

“I understand price transparency is of great concern to dairy farmers,” Mr Joyce said.

He said the government had committed to examine mechanisms, including a milk price index, which would provide clearer price signals to farmers.

The offer of a symposium was met with scepticism by Farmer Power president, Chris Gleeson, who said one of the first things the government needed to do immediately was to make it easier to access its concessional loans.

Mr Gleeson said it appeared Mr Joyce was offering nothing different, to what was said before the Federal election.

He said Farmer Power had not met with Murray Goulburn, but many individual producers had met with board representatives.

“It’s no good having a round table discussion, with the current industry leaders involved – the industry is in the current situation, because we don’t have strong leaders,” Mr Gleeson said.

“Unless they have total review of the industry, it will be a talk fest,” he said.

Credit: Stock and Land

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