LOUISE PREECE. /TASMANIAN dairy farmer Peter Worley (pictured) said recent investments by big dairy companies to expand factories were all about improving the bottom line, and not about helping dairy farmers.In order to keep up with rising requirements for milk, he said farmers needed to invest in their businesses too.
But the Fonterra supplier said this proved extremely difficult when faced with low prices and progressively expensive input costs, such as power, fuel and fertiliser.
He milks 280 cows at Elliott, and says he would like to expand his business, but is not in a financial position to do so.
«Murray Goulburn have been a proper cooperative and appear to be looking out for the best interests of farmers, but the big corporates are focusing simply on their bottom line,» he said.
He’s been running the Tasmanian farm for seven years, but the English-born producer says he’s seen the exact same thing happen in the UK.
At the moment milk companies are offering farmers a price that is well below the cost of production.
Mass protests are underway, with farmers saying the price cuts will out them out of business.
«They are basically telling farmers they can take it or leave it,» he said.
Mr Worley feared the same situation could occur in Australia quite easily, and said processors should be putting farmers first.
«Where is the logic in developing the factories?» he said.
«Fonterra are all about efficiency, but why aren’t those benefits passed onto farmers so we can invest in our farms.
«Let’s face it, the milk companies would be nothing without us. Where is the commitment to the farmers?»
He said if Fonterra were interested in securing the industry’s future, then they should lead by example with a strong opening milk price – rather than wait for Murray Goulburn to make the first move.
Stock and Land