What You Can Do To Help Aussie Dairy Farmers Today
This morning the semi-rural community I live in awoke to the word-of-mouth news that a local dairy farmer and his wife took their own lives last night.
And sadly, they haven’t been the only ones unable to see a way out of their current, crippling financial crisis caused by the milk price cuts and retrospective debt imposed upon them by Murray Gouldbourn or Fronterra.
According to The Project presenter Waleed Aly the average debt these Aussie dairy farmers have been smacked with is $120,000.
Faced with the prospect of having to produce milk at a cost to them of 38c, and being paid just 14c for it, many dairy farmers feel that they have no choice but to walk off the dairy farms, that in many cases have been in their family for generations.
Our dairy industry is truly in crisis.
Without our dairy farmers we can kiss goodbye to fresh milk and dairy products like cheese, yogurt and cream farmed from free-range, healthy cattle stock.
The alternative it seems, according to Dick Smith is milk and dairy products produced in factory farms in China.
The cut price milk war started back in 2011 by supermarket Coles when they started selling milk for $1 a litre, and competitor Woolworths quickly followed suit. But whilst we the consumers applauded and filled our shopping trolleys, it was the farmers who have been paying the price for this so-called ‘bargain.’
Effectively, the supermarkets have taught us to vastly undervalue milk, and drastically lowered our expectations of what we think we should pay for it.
Just think about how much work goes into getting that milk from the cow to the supermarket, and why we pay more for a bottle of water!
What You Can Do to Help Aussie Dairy Farmers
Make a commitment to buy Australian produced and branded milk, cheese and dairy products – and steer clear of the $1 supermarket milk, not just today but as a lifestyle change. It’ll cost you a few more cents at the checkout, but it’ll be worth it! This will show the big supermarkets that we care about our dairy farmers and want them to be paid what is fair for their products.
Please note: This is not a definitive list. These are just some of the national brands. Please look for locally produced branded products in your local area too, as they will vary from state to state.
Whilst images abound on Facebook over the past day or two showing supermarket fridges full of the cheap milk and all of the branded milk bought, sceptics are asking if perhaps the large supermarkets are holding back from re-stocking them to control the market.
Buying from your local independent supermarket, IGA, or milk bar may be a solution to this.
Feeling confused about how all this came about and what has actually happened?
Waleed Aly explained it perfectly on The Project.
— #TheProjectTV (@theprojecttv) May 17, 2016
You can sign the petition to support the 50c per litre milk levy that farmers are appealing for here. As Waleed explained it could save lives and potentially the entire dairy industry.
Have you made the switch to Australian produced branded products? Will you?