Milk clarity on the way
A global science based framework outlining labelling terms in the dairy industry is being developed by the International Dairy Federation. It’s aiming to define the benefits of dairy based products, compared with those from plants.
Rural reporter Eddie Summerfield caught up Dairy Connect Chairman George Davey.
Push to extend mandatory dairy code to supermarkets could backfire
Australia’s dairy industry has been warned it runs the risk of derailing the introduction of a mandatory code of conduct between farmers and processors, amid growing calls for it to cover supermarkets.
Some farm leaders and processors, including the national peak body Australian Dairy Farmers, called for the mandatory dairy code to be extended to supermarkets at a meeting with federal Opposition agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon this month.
But NSW Dairy Connect and Victoria’s Farmer Power lobby, who attended the meeting, opposed the move and claimed it was an ADF delaying tactic given the retail giants were already covered by the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct policed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Milk myth: Farmers get no more money for brands
Calls on consumers to help farmers by buying $1.50-a-litre branded milk have been debunked by Australia’s competition watchdog.
Just last week Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud called on shoppers to shun supermarkets’ $1-a-litre house brands and buy processor-owned brands for $1.50-alitre instead.
But the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s inquiry into the dairy industry found processors were paying dairy farmers the same for milk, whether it went into supermarket house-branded bottles or their own $1.50-a-litre brands.
Dairy Connect chief executive Shaughn Morgan said the reality was processors were not passing higher margins on branded milk back to farmers.
NSW Parliament launches milk market inquiry, Canberra talks of Royal Commission
Milk market scrutiny is intensifying with the NSW parliament poised to start an inquiry into the sustainability of the state’s dairy industry.
Advocacy group Dairy Connect’s chief executive officer, Shaughn Morgan, said the NSW and Queensland industries were caught in a vulnerable edge with little large-scale production of cheese and other dairy lines unlike the wider market options in southern states.
He urged the parliamentary inquiry to question whether the NSW government could bring back a milk marketing board or a dairy commissioner with strong powers of persuasion or industry oversight.
Election deadline: Coalition to deliver mandatory dairy code before next poll
The federal Nationals have managed to bring their Liberal colleagues on board in support of a mandatory code of conduct to improve contracting practices between dairy farmers and their processors.
Key industry sources said members of the Prime Minister’s Office and Treasury had initially been reluctant to support the code, leading to concerns its development may be delayed until after the next federal election.
The motion was moved by Victorian Senator Derryn Hinch, who acknowledged the efforts of the Victorian Farmer Power and NSW Dairy Connect lobby groups in advocating “strongly on behalf of dairy farmers and made sure we in the parliament are aware of all the issues facing regional Australia”.
‘Fake food’ comes under microscope in food standards review
Soy milk, vegan “honey” and plant-based “mince” may not be able to use those names for much longer as Australia’s food labelling standards come under the microscope.
Australian and New Zealand ministers have unanimously backed a review of existing labelling regulations as more and more “fake foods” enter the market, Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie said.
Lobby group Dairy Connect has been pushing for a review of the standards to remove exceptions that allow “milk” to be used on soy and nut products.
War against misleading labelling of vegetable products as dairy products
National Party deputy leader and Federal Regional Services Minister Bridget McKenzie today stepped-up the war against misleading labelling of vegetable products as dairy products.
Plant-sourced foods labelled ‘milk’ or ‘meat’ will have to be rebranded if the Federal Government is successful in changing food standards in Australia and New Zealand.
Lead protagonist for dairy truth-in-consumer-labelling in Australia, Dairy Connect, welcomed the news, saying Senator McKenzie was striking a blow for truth in labelling and product honesty.
Australians’ obsession with nut milk may be depriving us of calcium
Consumption of nut-based ‘milk’ alternatives – such as almond milk and coconut milk – have grown by a massive 90 per cent in two years alone, but this new obsession may be depriving Australian consumers of calcium.
The Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council analysed more than 100 plant-based milk products – including almond, coconut, grain and soy milks – and found about one-third of products do not list calcium.
Dairy advocacy group Dairy Connect chief Shaughn Morgan suggested these products could be labelled as “almond juice” or “almond water” to help consumers recognise it as a separate product.
'It's a great first step': Shaughn Morgan on supermarket milk drought ranges
Dairy Connect says Woolworths decision to have a range of milk specifically to help drought-affected dairy farmers is a great first step. CEO Shaughn Morgan is behind Woolworth's idea and how they're implementing it, however the same cannot be said for Coles who have jumped on the bandwagon but have a slightly different way of implementing it.
Woolworths, Coles’ initiatives set to help drought-affected farmers in the region
Advocacy group Dairy Connect has welcomed Woolworths’ announcement that it will sell a newly-created fresh milk brand with part of the consumer price going to drought-burdened dairy farmers.
The supermarket chain’s home-brand three-litre milk will increase by 30 cents immediately.
Woolworths lifts $1/litre milk price and plans special drought relief range
Pressure is mounting on other supermarkets to show more support for drought-weathered dairy farmers after Woolworths and Coles effectively acknowledged soaring farm input costs, lifting their private label milk prices.
Advocacy body Dairy Connect welcomed Woolworths’ support, including the establishment of an independent oversight group with an auditor and dairy representatives to ensure Woolworths’ price increase went to farmers via their processors.”
What would a new mandatory code of conduct in the dairy industry look like?
The dairy industry may finally get a mandatory code of conduct, but what difference will that really make for farmers?
Shaughn Morgan from NSW lobby group Dairy Connect said "exclusivity of supply, collective bargaining, mediation and arbitration" were the key things that need to be addressed.
New dairy regulation won’t be a milk price panacea
Dairy farmers have been warned not to expect the industry’s proposed mandatory code of conduct to trigger any obvious lift in prices negotiated between milk processors and retailers.
However, Dairy Connect chief executive officer, Shaughn Morgan, said there was now scope for improved transparency and robust negotiation.
This should mean fairer supply deals and more realistic expectations of farmers’ production costs and capabilities by processors and, in turn, retailers.
Industry Split on Dairy Code
Fonterra Australia and Saputo Dairy Australia have different views on whether a voluntary or mandatory code of conduct is the best way forward for the dairy industry.
Fonterra’s managing director René Dedoncker has called for patience when it comes to any changes to the current dairy code…
Dairy co-operative Norco lifts farm gate price by 5 cents a litre
Australia's largest dairy co-operative, Norco, will lift the price paid to its farmers by five cents a litre.
Paul Weir, from Tuncester near Lismore, said the price increase was a good start.
"For me here on the north coast, it's grain prices and irrigation that's lifted our feed costs considerably — this is going to go two-thirds of the way to actually cover that grain price deficit that we have everyday," he said.
Consumer levy on milk gets nod from Agriculture Minister David Littleproud
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has thrown his weight behind calls for a 10-cent levy to be applied to fresh milk sold at supermarkets, to be returned to dairy farmers.
The Minister said if the retail industry supported the levy he would work to make it happen...
...Graham Forbes, president of the New South Wales dairy lobby Dairy Connect, said it could translate to a de facto floor price.
"It's going to be somewhat of a complex system but they may be able to simplify it and result in a permanent basic milk price in the longer term," he said.
PROCESSORS AND SUPERMARKETS LYING LOW AND SHIFTING BLAME. RETAIL PRICE FOR DAIRY PRODUCTS NEED TO BE RAISED NOW.
Visa changes hurting farmers
Federal Government changes to visa regulations have left some farmers campaigning for longer placement opportunities and pathways for permanent residency.
Finley, NSW farmer Ruth Kydd, who backed Dairy Connect’s concerns last year about the sudden cancellation of the skilled 457 Visa foreign worker program, says she’s still having trouble with the system, although there are some positive developments.
Fake food: Farmers fed up as pretenders move in
A growing number of animal-free products are attempting to cash in on the “real McCoy” by using similar names such as mylk, honee and chick’n.
But their claim to the names in question is increasingly being disputed by farmers fed up with “misleading” impersonations cashing in on the long-held popularity of their produce, be it milk, chicken or honey.
Dairy Connect on NSW Country Hour
NSW Country Hour today had Dairy Connect Farmers Group Member, Vanessa Todd, discussing the current issues confronting the dairy industry (with 2 other dairy farmers) including processors and their role in $1 a litre milk. You can hear the report from 33:00 mins until 40:50.
This is followed by a report about the benefits of milking buffalos and thereafter, our Chairman, George Davey AM is interviewed in relation to plant based flavoured water & his involvement in the International Dairy Federation Committee. This report commences at 44:45 and concludes at 46:50.
Dairy Connect says Australia is lagging on fake milk labelling
Australia had fallen behind the US, the EU, Canada, Norway, Iceland and New Zealand in regulating the use of dairy terms, according to national advocacy group Dairy Connect today.
CEO Shaughn Morgan said consumers have the right to know clearly when they are not buying real dairy products.
The One Thing That Could Help This Farming Family Through Drought
Tony Biffin’s family has called their dairy farm home for more than 100 years, weathering the elements for two milkings a day since 1912. Now, with draining water and dwindling finances, the one thing Tony says he needs to survive is a “decent” price for his milk.
“Currently, processors can impose milk prices and other terms of milk supply contract terms that are heavily weighted in their favour. Some milk supply contracts also contain terms that restrict farmers’ ability to change processors for a better offer,” NSW lobby group Dairy Connect CEO Shaughan Morgan said.
US food regulator FDA signals intent to crack down on plant products using term 'milk'
Manufacturers of plant-based milk alternatives sold in the United States may soon have to stop using the term 'milk' to describe their products.
New South Wales lobby group Dairy Connect has been pushing for the Australian Government to enforce its own regulations on what is milk.
Processors split on dairy code
Fonterra Australia and Saputo Dairy Australia have different views on whether a voluntary or mandatory code of conduct is the best way forward for the dairy industry. Dairy Connect chief executive Shaughn Morgan welcomed Mr Saputo’s views and hoped other processors would follow suit.
'It's not milk': Crackdown on soy and nut drink makers may be on the horizon
Soy and almond drinks that bill themselves as "milk" may need to consider alternative language after a top US regulator suggested the agency may start cracking down on use of the term.The Food and Drug Administration signalled plans to start enforcing a federal standard that defines "milk" as coming from the "milking of one or more healthy cows".
'It's not rocket science, we just want fairness': Shaughn Morgan, Dairy Connect
The Federal Government launched their Milk Price Index in a bid to help producers monitor milk price trends so to better understand market developing signals. How much will this help dairy farmers in reality? Well, Shaughn Morgan the CEO of Dairy Connect shares his thoughts.
Dr Ian Lean on NSW Country Hour talking Milk Profitability
Director Ian Lean has talked with Kim Honan on the NSW Country hour in response to "naive" comments made by David Becker of Dairy Business Consulting. Segment begins at 46:05.
Milk price index ‘half-baked’ says Dairy Connect
The new national Milk Price Index is ‘half-baked’, because it provides only a snapshot of dairy farm production data and not analysis of the farm-gate impact of the costs of processing.
This was the view today of Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan. The index is designed to allow farmers to monitor milk price trends so to better understand market developing signals.
Opening southern milk prices under fire
The decision by southern milk processors to err on the side of caution with their opening milk farmgate prices has been criticised by producers as an unwillingness to take any risk in order to move the dairy game in Australia forward. Australia’s largest milk processor Saputo’s $5.75 per kilogram milk solids, Fonterra’s $5.85 and Lion’s $5.82 have come in under analyst forecasts of $5.90 for the 2018/19 season based on improving global market dynamics.
NSW producer Graham Forbes, from advocacy body Dairy Connect, said those global dynamics provided an opportunity for processors to take some initiative in moving the industry forward by lifting prices enough to regain farmer confidence and investment.
South Coast dairy farmers facing high feed prices and low milk prices
With grain prices rising and milk prices falling, Terara dairy farmer Tim Cochrane is feeling the effects of the drought. A big drop in the Australian grain harvest last year and fears for this year's winter crop have fuelled the domestic grain price hike.
“The conserved feed on the coast here is quite low compared to what it normally is. Last summer and the summer before were very dry and there was very little stored feed." Mr Cochrane said.
GEORGE DAVEY TALKING MILK LABELLING ON ABC RURAL
Our Chairman George Davey AM has appeared on ABC Rural radio to discuss our latest milk labelling activities. The audio begins just after George has been introduced on the program:
Voluntary code "waste of time"
Prominent NSW dairy farmer Adrian Drury has labelled a proposed review of the voluntary industry code of conduct as a “waste of time, resources and energy”.
Mr Drury, the acting Farmers Group President of NSW farmers lobby group, Dairy Connect, said the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC), which incorporates Australian Dairy Farmers and the processing sector, should back the ACCC recommendation for a mandatory code of conduct.
Long trek of sharefarming reaps rewards for a dairy family
Have dairy cows, will travel. That’s been the mantra for the Kath family who have slowly made it south from Toowoomba, gradually building up their dairy herd while sharefarming.
As just a glimmer of hope emerges for dairy farmers that milk and solid prices might rise, the Kaths have struck out a future for dairying in a non-traditional area of central-west NSW.
Dairy Connect wants urgent dairy reform
While a majority of State-based dairy advocates strongly back an ACCC recommendation for a mandatory code of conduct for the dairy industry, the Australian Dairy Industry Council has turned its back on recommendations following an 18-month independent probe by the ACCC, according to a leading dairy advocate.
Dairy Connect Acting Farmers Group President Adrian Drury today described a proposed new Australian Dairy Industry Council ‘review’ – after a Government initiated 18-month Australian Competition and Consumer Commission review – as a ‘waste of time, resources and energy’.
Rugby's Miller says dairy a huge part of his fitness regime
Waratahs Rugby Union blindside flanker Will Miller marked World Milk Day this year by becoming a full cream ambassador for advocacy group Dairy Connect.
“Will’s a great example of the value of commitment and character and we have no doubt his belief in dairy will be a standout of his time as Dairy Connect ambassador,” Mr Morgan said.
Dairy Connect Ambassador Will Miller interviews with 2NM
To celebrate World Milk Day on June 1, NSW Waratah's player Will Miller has joined Jessica Rouse to talk all things dairy on her Radio 2NM show.
Will Miller unveiled as ambassador for Dairy Connect
NSW Waratahs blindside flanker Will Miller marked World Milk Day this year by becoming a full cream ambassador for advocacy group Dairy Connect.
The 25-year-old rising star is from a seventh-generation farming family which has lived and farmed at beautiful Berry on the South Coast since 1915.
Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan welcomed the appointment saying Miller was a living embodiment of the everyday health benefits of dairy products.
New age `milk' fever has sales lessons for real dairy
In the lead up to United Nations’ World Milk Day comes the alarming news for dairy farmers and milk purists that almost anything from walnut to flax is now potentially considered “milk” – and is growing fast in popularity.
Blatant use of the word milk to market plant-based products in Australia has been a red rag to many in the dairy industry, notably industry lobby group Dairy Connect.Chief executive officer, Shaughn Morgan, is hoping milk’s value as a cost effective, genuinely healthy product attracts some well deserved publicity on World Milk Day (June 1).
Dairy conflict: ADF and processors review voluntary code instead
Australia's joint dairy farmer and processor lobby group, the Australian Dairy Industry Council, has launched a review into its 12-month-old voluntary code of conduct, despite calls for it to be replaced with a legally-binding mandatory code.
Rival dairy advocacy group Dairy Connect branded the review a “waste of time and resources”. “The voluntary industry code currently operating has been an abject failure. It has died and should be put to rest,” Dairy Connect acting president Adrian Drury said.
The future of dairy is in our hands, although recent news makes me question this statement.
I have read, with great concern, the lack of national dairy leadership being demonstrated by those in elected positions. Why is this so?
There is no easy answer to this question, but rather many years of systemic institutional decay.
Australia's largest livestock lobby groups are refusing to adopt reforms that would deliver greater competition and transparency to farmers.
The country’s competition watchdog has declared that refusal may be due to the nation’s peak beef and dairy lobby groups being seriously conflicted by receiving funding from farmers as well as processors...
...NSW Dairy Connect president Graham Forbes said the voluntary code was weak and farmers were being ignored.
“Even those (processors) who signed up to it aren’t abiding by it,” Mr Forbes said.
Dairy farmers are angry about the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's decision not to take any action on dollar-a-litre milk. According to ABC Online, ACCC agricultural commissioner Mick Keogh, in his final report on the issue, said there was no evidence that supermarkets were trying to manipulate the farm gate price by selling cheap milk.
"We understand that farmers are incensed because it devalues the work they do and the value of their product, but aside from that we think it is a bit of a distraction in terms of what's happening in the industry more generally," Mr Keogh said.
Mr Keogh said he wanted action on a mandatory code of conduct in the dairy industry, despite processors preferring to develop a voluntary code. He said it would reduce the power imbalance between farmers and processors and help to "change the culture of behaviour".
Dairy processors say a voluntary code with an independent mediator is all that is required to safeguard farmer's interests. That is not enough for New South Wales dairy lobby group Dairy Connect, however.
It's not $1 per litre milk hurting Australian farmers so much as trying to deal with powerful large-scale processors, a report by the competition watchdog has found.
Recommending a new code of conduct to govern how processors deal with farmers, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's final report from its dairy inquiry describes a range of “market failures” stemming from the power imbalance between large-scale dairy processors and dairy farmers who supply them with milk...
...Additionally, Dairy Connect President Graham Forbes, a Norco supplier from Barrington, said the Federal Government should implement a mandatory code.
"I think most of the organisations that represent dairy farmers throughout Australia are in support of a mandatory code," he said.
"We need stronger arrangements between farmers and processors to correct the imbalance of power."
Canadian dairy processor Saputo has a unique opportunity to play a pivotal role in reforming the Australian dairy industry following its pending takeover of Murray Goulburn, according to a key industry group.
Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan believes there is need for change particularly in introducing transparency and fairness to contracts between farmers and processors.
Australian dairy companies should not assume that Chinese consumers will always show a preference for imported Australian and New Zealand milk, according to Credit Suisse’s Chinese consumer research chief Charlie Chen.
Mr Chen said Chinese consumers had recovered from their aversion to locally produced milk following the 2008 melamine contamination scandal, and now regarded most local dairy products as safe.
Less than six months into the job, the Norco co-operative’s new chief executive officer has inexplicably left the business. Ben White’s resignation from the NSW-Queensland dairy and farm services business on Monday is the second sudden departure from the role, with Brett Kelly leaving in late September after almost 10 years at the helm. Mr White’s unforeseen exit has added to an already frustrated and uneasy mood within the dairy sector in northern NSW and southern Queensland.
Dairy Connect’s Mr Forbes, whose family milks more than 700 cows at Gloucester on the NSW Mid North Coast, said many farmers believed Mr White was keen to modernise the co-op’s culture and infrastructure so it could compete head to head with the multinational corporates now dominating Australia’s dairy industry.
Upper Hunter dairy farmers are feeling the pinch not only because of little decent rain.
Dairy Connect is an advocacy body for the fairy farmer industry in the Hunter and throughout NSW and they're calling for a better and fairer way forward when it comes to the relationship between dairy farmers, processors and the retailers.
Farm gate price is proving a challenge for many local farmers and Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said there needs to be a more focussed way forward.
After more than 100 years on the land, the Gee family is walking off its Hunter Valley dairy farm at Jerrys Plains, blaming low milk prices and rising costs.
Three generations are employed in the family business, including grandparents Colin and Rita, their sons Paul and Shane, and their four granddaughters.
"I thought I would have had kids, they would grow up and maybe take over the farm, but yeah, it's not going that way," 23-year-old Samantha Gee said.
"It's really sad. It's absolutely devastating to be honest."
Australian dairy advocacy group Dairy Connect is urging industry stakeholders to support a new public consultation initiative by global dairy agency the Dairy Sustainability Framework.
Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said today the DSF played a critical worldwide role in fostering and informing sustainable production of peak nutrition dairy products.
President of the Farmers' Group, Graham Forbes, has appeared on 2GB national rural news to discuss the ongoing drought conditions across NSW and how dairy farmers are being severely affected.
The advocacy group that represents dairy farmers across NSW is “extremely concerned” about the mental health of Hunter producers battling a drought that started almost a year ago.
Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said farmers and their families should “reach out for help” from friends, neighbours or health service providers if they think the situation is getting on top of them.
"The merciless drought that has sucked the life out of farms in the NSW Upper Hunter across a large swathe of farmland in three states was battering the normally optimistic outlook of primary producers in important farming regions.
This is the message from advocacy group Dairy Connect Farmers Group president and Gloucester farmer Graham Forbes who called on the NSW Department of Primary Industries and other relevant State bodies to be conscious of the psychological toll drought was having on our farmers..."
Responding to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) interim dairy industry review, advocacy group Dairy Connect has called for simplified, single document contracts between dairy processors and producers.
SYDNEY - Australian beef and dairy farmers are facing a growing threat from the emerging global taste for "substitute" meat and milk products which are often derived from plants and nuts rather than animals.
A group which represents the dairy industry, Dairy Connect, has been running a campaign for "truth in labelling" targeting non-dairy products made from soy, cashew, almond, oat, hemp, rice and coconut extracts. It wants these products to be barred from using labels such as milk, cheese, yoghurt or cream.