Dairy Farmers.
Dairy Farmers. Kevin Farmer

Dairy industry crisis taking heavy toll farming families

THE crisis in the dairy industry is taking a heavy toll on farming families and will in time exact a heavy penalty on consumers as well.

The price gouging being carried out by processors and retailers is putting at risk the future availability of fresh milk and I have no doubt that in a few years' time, fresh milk will either be unavailable or priced beyond the reach of average households.

Don't wait for processors and retailers to help rectify things, they created this situation and it suits their purpose to maintain the status quo.

Every time a farmer goes out of business, it further restricts an already stressed supply of milk. Couple this with the fact that many of the producers who remain in the industry are actively seeking direct contracts to privately export milk to Asia.

This will allow them to bypass the Australian market altogether and gain direct access to billions of consumers willing to pay $15 per litre. We will be priced out of our own product if we don't shore up our supply by ensuring our farmers can earn a decent income. Would you work 100 hours a week under harsh conditions if your wages kept going backwards?

Start an online petition, get a viral revolution going in your area and shame the big industry players into paying more to their producers. They shouldn't have to live like slaves without enough income to feed their families, just so our families can save a few cents on a carton of milk.

I am heartbroken every time I see a dairy farmer sell up and send his cattle to the abattoirs. Farmers become very attached to the gentle giants they have, in most cases, raised from birth, and the look on the family's faces on sale day is distressing.

Each cow in production will supply 10,000 litres of premium, wholesome milk every year to Australian families. When butchered, it supplies, once only, 300 kilos of hamburger meat for the American market.

That such a scenario could arise in such a vital industry, is a testament to how far removed from the real world the average consumer has become.

Save our dairy farmers and the day may never come when you have to explain to your children why they can't have a glass of milk.

JOSEPH K.F. COURTE, Miles