Friday 20 May 2016

Why The Dairy Farmers Plight Means So Much To Traders

Australia’s dairy farmers are going through tough times and in fact that is an understatement because the latest round of cuts in the price of milk have made many farms unprofitable. There is something we can do about that.

It shoudn’t be a surprise that traders at QVM have some affinity with dairy farmers. We are both small business operators (often family operated) experiencing tough times due to market forces (in our case a retail recession). It has been said that over supply is a big problem for the dairy industry and traders in the top end of QVM in categories that are over represented know what that can mean.

The long term answers for the dairy industry lie in a new model. They will need to rearrange their production and supply chains. In fact we are told that their whole business model will need reassessing. It sounds a bit like a renewal for the dairy industry and I apologise for once again drawing a parallel with our QVM experience.

In fact the two are quite different. Dairy farmers have a sudden perfect storm of difficulty caused by the decision to cut milk prices below sustainability levels. Apparently there has even been an attempt to backdate the price reduction leaving some farmers with heavy debts. The milk industry, including the dairy farmers, need to take responsibility for the effective management of their industry but the suddenness and the depth of this latest dilemma has caused many people to abandon blame and look for some short term relief that will allow measured correction over time.

According to the Herald Sun we can all help by buying Australian milk products from names like Bulla, Farmers Union and Gippsland Dairy. According to The Project on TV last night, most Australians don’t get their required daily intake of dairy products so that is a good excuse to go out and buy more local cheese and yoghurt. Those measures are a great way to help farmers and of course what better place to buy those items than The Queen Victoria Market - Australia’s best source of specialty dairy products.