QUEENSLAND Dairyfarmers’ Organisation president Brian Tessmann has backed calls for a 10c/litre drought levy on milk, saying Australians have realised the extent of the drought crisis faced by Queensland and NSW farmers.
“While there is no doubt that all agricultural industries are hurting, the dairy industry faces a tougher challenge than most,” Mr Tessmann said.
“To produce milk, dairy cows need to be in peak health and their food quality and quantity maintained. Whereas beef cattle, for example, can be fed a lower quantity and quality feed to see them through the drought.
“So, the increasing scarcity and the price of freighting in fodder has hit the Queensland and NSW dairy industries hardest.”
The national campaign launched by the QDO asks everyday Australians to sign an online petition urging supermarkets to increase the price of milk by 10c/litre and for processors, like Parmalat, Norco and Lion, to guarantee that the full 10c goes back to the farmers.
QDO reached out to Kyogle dairy farmer Shane Hickey whose social media post on being paid $2.46/hour went viral with more than 4 million views, to help drive awareness for the campaign.
“Shane hit the nail on the head with his first viral video,” Mr Tessmann said.
“People now get just how underpaid our farmers are and have shown that they want to do something to help.
“While Shane is not a Queenslander, he shares our sense of injustice and our drive to turn around the dairy industry and make things happen.
“For too long, we’ve hoped for the supermarkets and processors to do the right thing to ensure we have a sustainable dairy industry; but nothing has changed.
“So we are calling on our fellow Australians to drive change by signing and sharing the petition.”