Farm trespass penalties 'completely inadequate'
Tough penalties may be the most effective deterrent for animal activists breaking the law to protest against livestock industries.
State and federal governments are now considering new laws and bigger penalties for animal activists that commit biosecurity and trespass offences with the issue on the agenda of the next agriculture ministers' meeting in October.
Dairy Connect chief executive Shaughn Morgan said that previously "activists had not paid the penalty as required under the law".
"The current legislation being reviewed needs to ensure the prosecution system ensures penalties are applied and thus far, it hasn't been applied from our observation," Mr Morgan said.
Bega Cheese's Barry Irvin wins top dairy industry award
Executive chair of Bega Cheese Barry Irvin AM may have taken leave from the company to focus on his health, but his contribution to the dairy industry is still being recognised.
On Wednesday night, July 10, he was awarded the University of Sydney's Dairy Research Foundation (DRF) 2019 Dairy Science Award at a major industry symposium at Bega.
The DRF Dairy Science Award is sponsored by industry advocacy group Dairy Connect whose chair George Davey AM presented the award to Bega Cheese senior executive Roger Went, who was standing in for Mr Irvin.
Plant drink label pusH
Australia's peak dairy farmer lobby group has joined calls for the word "milk" to be reserved for dairy products as the government takes a fresh look at labelling.
New South Wales farmer body Dairy Connect has been lobbying for such a ban since 2017 and its executive officer, Shaughn Morgan, said he was pleased to learn of the ADF's letter.
Mr Morgan said Dairy Connect's representation at the International Dairy Federation had seen the establishment of a Task Force on Plant-Based Beverages but that Australia was well behind other countries.
Coles push to bypass processors and secure its own milk supply from northern Victoria and southern RiverinA
Northern Victorian and southern NSW dairy farmers are the focus of a Coles push to bypass processors and secure its own direct milk supply.
From next month, the supermarket giant will begin sourcing milk directly for its Coles brand fresh milk, and is promising to deliver better value, a fair and competitive farm gate price and more certainty to farmers.
Dairy Connect chief executive officer Shaughn Morgan said Coles’ new sourcing model would provide price certainty for producers.
Dairy groups split on Coles move to buy directly from farmer
The Coles move to buy milk directly from farmers has split dairy advocacy groups.
Dairy Connect welcomed the announcement that Coles was side-stepping the processor in NSW and Victoria.
"While stakeholders had yet to have access to the fine print involved with the proposal, on face value, it provides a pathway to the future for the milk supply chain," Dairy Connect president Graham Forbes said .
"Notionally, the proposal should deliver price-certainty for up to three years for dairy producers supplying Coles house brand milk."
Coles to cut out milk processors, and deal directly with dairy farmers
Coles has today announced it will bypass processors and contract milk directly from dairy farmers in NSW and Victoria from July 1.
It marks a shift to a model more in line with competitor Woolworths, where the supermarket will be able to offer a direct price to farmers.
President of farm group Dairy Connect, Graham Forbes, said Coles appeared to be adopting a model common among UK supermarkets such as Tesco.
"It will put a bit more competition out there in the marketplace, and let's hope it lifts the price to farmers and gives them some long-term security,"
Dairy Connect calls for return of school milk to mark World Milk Day
NSW dairy lobby group Dairy Connect is pointing to health benefits of milk to young people as it celebrates World Milk Day.
Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said World Milk Day on Saturday, June 1, was a chance to celebrate milk's unique nutritional bounty.
"A 237-milliliter glass of dairy milk provides eight times more naturally occurring protein than the same size serving of almond milk," he said.
"All dairy milk whether it's fat free, flavoured or organic provides nine essential nutrients.
"Milk also contains other nutrients including B vitamins for energy, vitamin A to help maintain a healthy immune system and calcium and vitamin D, both that work together for bone strength."
New Ag Minister needs to hit the ground running on Dairy
Dairy Connect today welcomed the appointment of Senator Bridget McKenzie as the new Federal Agriculture Minister and we extend our congratulations to her on her new ministerial responsibilities. Dairy Connect looks forward to working with her and her office in furtherance of a sustainable dairy industry in Australia.
Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said Minister McKenzie would need to hit the ground running because of the multiple challenges facing agriculture generally and dairy in particular.
“Australian dairy is in crisis and now is the time for action. The time for reviews and inquiries is over.”
PETA calls on prime minister to phase out dairy farming
RADICAL animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants to wean dairy farmers off milking cows to grow soy beans instead.
Dairy Connect chairman Graham Forbes said converting to soybeans would just send dairy farmers broke.
“(US President Donald) Trump has just squashed the price of soybeans with his dealings on China,” Mr Forbes said.
“I’ve got no problem with vegans eating their beans, but don’t try and stop us milking cows. It’s almost like a religion to them, that they want to force down our throats.”
Milk price index abandoned
The Coalition Government has abandoned its troubled retrospective Milk Price Index.
The Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud, who announced a review of the index in February, said this week it had not delivered farmers the market information it had hoped.
Just after its launch chief executive of lobby group, Dairy Connect, Shaughn Morgan described the index as 'half-baked' because it didn't provide analysis of the farmgate impact of the costs of processing.
Country Women's Association declares war on almond milk and other plant-based drinks
In the motion, submitted by the Morpeth Branch of the Hunter River Group, it said consumers were 'confused' about the 'nutritional benefits of cows' milk' in comparison to 'plant-based' alternatives.
Dairy Connect, the Dairy Industry Advocate Group believes that there is confusion among the consumers, some of whom equate the nutritional benefits of cows' milk with that of the plant-based drink alternatives.
'There is a need for us to take a stand for a product our dairy farmers work so hard to produce,' the motion concluded.
CWA fight to keep milk pure
The Country Women’s Association has backed a push to ban manufacturers of “plant-based” drinks from calling their products “milk”, arguing it’s hurting dairy farmers and confusing the public into thinking the products are of comparable nutritional value.
At the NSW CWA’s annual state conference yesterday, members voted unanimously in favour of a motion to lobby state and federal authorities to “enforce legislation ... to stop plant-based drinks from using the term ‘milk’ in the labelling of their product”.
“Dairy Connect, the Dairy Industry Advocate Group believes that there is confusion among the consumers, some of whom equate the nutritional benefits of cows’ milk with that of the plant-based drink alternatives.“
Bring back school milk
A 1970s Federal Government decision to scrap free milk for primary school children was made on a false basis and needs to be reversed to ensure that primary school children receive fresh nutritious milk as part of a holistic breakfast program, according to a dairy lobby group.
Dairy Connect chief executive officer Shaughn Morgan said fresh milk was a dietary staple with a myriad of proven nutritional benefits for growing bodies and minds.
He said the Federal Government and Opposition, in consultation with state governments, should immediately commit to restoring the availability of nutritious fresh milk for all primary school aged children post-election.
Dairy Connect - Bring back free primary school milk
A 1970s Federal Government decision to scrap free milk for primary school children was based on a false basis and needs to be reversed to ensure that primary school children receive fresh nutritious milk as part of a holistic breakfast program.
Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said fresh milk was a dietary staple with a myriad of proven nutritional benefits for growing bodies and minds.
What can be done to give our dairy farmers a hand?
Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen joined Jess on Hunter Valley Today along with Shaughn Morgan the Chief Executive Officer of Dairy Connect and Graham Forbes, the Farmer's Group President with Dairy Connect.
Our dairy farmers here in the Upper Hunter and across NSW need something to be done to help save their industry, otherwise in five years we face a state with no dairy farmers.
Price rise for discounted milk lines
Some dairy farmers may get a boost in their milk price after Coles and Woolworths announced the end of $1 litre milk on some lines.
Woolworths led the move in February and was followed by Coles committing to raise the price of its discount milk lines by 10 cents to $1.10 per litre, with the entire price increase going back to the farm gate.
Advocacy group Dairy Connect welcomed the announcement by ALDI Australia to increase its private label range of 2 litre and 3 litre milks by 10 cents per litre.
“We need to ensure a strong Australian dairy industry with a fair farm gate price, above the cost of production, to ensure a long-term sustainable Australian dairy industry,” Dairy Connect chief executive Shaughn Morgan said.
Dairy Connect calls for dairy commissioner and supporting agency
THE Labor Party says it will consider the appointment of a dairy commissioner if it wins the federal election following lobbying from industry advocacy group, Dairy Connect.
Dairy Connect has called for the appointment of a dairy commissioner and supporting agency to work as a conduit between industry and relevant ministers and the parliament on issues affecting the dairy industry.
Dairy Connect chief executive officer Shaughn Morgan said dairy producers required “strengthened external support” in their dealings with Government.
“The dairy industry is seeking resolutions to many of the issues confronting it: the ongoing devastating impact of the drought, increasing energy prices, high fodder costs, unfair and unconscionable milk supply agreements, implementation of the mandatory code, dairy cabinet prices that are way too low, imported cheese being dumped on Australian market — in general, market failure needing urgent structural reform,” Mr Morgan said.
'A staple like bread': Calls for dairy commissioner to help farmers
Australian dairy farmers are calling for an independent commissioner to advise the government of the day on policy so that farmers can be assisted on the "very difficult" road ahead.
"We need a coordinated approach to an agricultural commodity that is very different from everything else. It's fresh, nutritious — and it has a short shelf life," Dairy Connect chief executive Shaughn Morgan said.
The New South Wales-focused dairy lobby group issued calls for a national commissioner on Monday, suggesting the role would be similar to a small business commissioner but with a sole focus on farming.
Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said it had become increasingly apparent that dairy producers required strengthened external support in their increasingly complex dealings with government and stakeholders.
The dairy industry is seeking resolutions to many of the issues confronting it including the ongoing impact of the drought, increasing energy prices, high fodder costs, unfair milk supply agreements and the implementation of the Mandatory Code.
«A Federal Dairy Commissioner would provide a conduit to relevant Ministers and the Federal Parliament on issues that continue to be raised by the dairy industry on a regular and on-going basis,» he said.
Call for a new Federal Dairy Commissioner
The peak lobby group representing Australian dairy farmers is calling for the creation of a Federal Dairy Commissioner to represent producers in Canberra.
Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said it had become increasingly apparent that dairy producers required strengthened external support in their increasingly complex dealings with government and stakeholders.
Dollar a litre demise good news for milk's nutritional appeal
A significant flow-on benefit from the past month's 10 cents a litre rise in prices for supermarket labeled two- and three-litre milk lines will be a restoration of milk's nutritional and value perception in the eyes of consumers.
Dairy Connect chief executive officer, Shaughn Morgan, described the latest announcement by Coles and Aldi as a valuable initiative in what remains a long journey ahead to find structural solutions to the industry.
"We have long argued that part of the great damage done by $1 a litre milk discounting was to undervalue dairy farmers, the dairy industry and the nutritious fresh milk by denigrating its significant nutritional contribution to human health," he said.
Coles, Aldi supermarkets to increase milk prices to support dairy farmers
Coles and Aldi supermarkets across Australia will today increase the price of their milk in support of the nation’s embattled dairy farmers. An extra 10 cents per litre will be added to the cost of Coles Brand and Farmdale fresh two and three litre varieties.
The announcement is a back-flip on the supermarkets’ decision last month to keep its milk at $1-a-litre milk. At the time Federal Agricultural Minister David Littleproud savaged the move, dubbing it a “$1 milk disaster.”
"Publicity stunts like (Coles) asking shoppers to donate at the counter to help struggling farmers are just a smokescreen to hide the fact they pay bugger all for milk," Mr Littleproud said.
"The farmers wouldn't need donations from the public if Coles and Aldi paid fair prices."
Dairy Connect, an advocacy group for dairy industry players, echoed that Mr Littleproud’s comments, urging consumers to force Coles and Aldi to change their ways.
Dairy farmers to have more bargaining power under new rules
Dairy farmers will have more power to negotiate with milk processors under a new mandatory industry code of conduct proposal from federal government.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud announced today the federal Cabinet had endorsed the mandatory code, which was developed in consultation with industry, and will take effect on July 1 2020.
“Australian Dairy Farmers, Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation and Dairy Connect asked for a mandatory code of conduct last September and we’re delivering it,” Mr Littleproud said.
Dairy industry welcomes NSW election commitments but warn of ongoing 'deregulation disaster'
Dairy farmers have welcomed a commitment from both sides of politics ahead of the NSW election, but some fear it will not be enough to address "systemic problems" they say were caused by industry deregulation.
Dairy Connect chief executive Shaughn Morgan said he welcomed the pledge which followed a similar election promise made by the opposition.
Niall Blair announces appointment of fresh milk and dairy advocate
Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair vowed if the Federal Government wouldn't "step up" in supporting the dairy industry then he would at a state level. And today he will stand by his pledge by announcing in Coffs Harbour the appointment of a fresh milk and dairy advocate to lead a dedicated dairy business advisory unit within the Department of Primary Industries.
Dairy Connect chief executive Shaughn Morgan, who has pushed for a dairy commissioner, said: "The position needs to be independent of government to provide advice that will ensure the survival of milk production in NSW, which is a fresh milk state."
Australian dairy farmers can benefit from your shopping choices
The retail war between supermarkets has made it difficult for consumers to separate the curds from the whey when it comes to the best way to support Australian dairy farmers. Farmers are in the middle of a fight to keep their farms as drought, low farm gate prices and the high cost of fodder strangle any profit.
CEO and company secretary of Dairy Connect, Shaughn Morgan, is passionate about keeping farmers in business. According to Morgan, Australia's national dairy herd has dropped from 9 billion to 8 billion in two years. "Australia undervalues dairy farmers and undervalues milk," Morgan said.
Could a farmgate 'floor price' for milk save our dairy industry?
Could re-regulating the dairy industry, through the establishment of a farmgate 'floor price' for milk, prevent Australia becoming reliant on imported dairy products.
In the words of Federal Labor's agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon the nation's dairy industry is in crisis and he fears unless action is taken quickly it will disappear.
Woolworths milk deal step a ‘positive’ for WA
Forty-nine WA dairy farmers can expect to be paid the equivalent of roughly two cents more per litre for their milk after Woolworths ended eight years of selling its own brand milk for $1 a litre last week.
Brownes Dairy processes Woolworths milk for the supermarket chain in WA and managing director Tony Girgis said all of its suppliers could expect the first of the extra income to be added to their monthly milk payment from next month.
Most Hunter farmers to miss out on Woolworths' milk payments
The end of Woolworths’ $1 a litre milk won’t help most Hunter dairy farmers as they battle to stay afloat amid soaring production costs.
The supermarket giant has permanently lifted its own brand milk to $1.10 a litre and the money from the 10 cent rise will be split between the farmers who helped make it.
Dr Gillespie has joined NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair and Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan in praising Woolworths.
Minister urges Coles and Aldi boycott as $1-a-litre milk stays on sale
Coles has broken ranks with arch rival Woolworths and will continue to sell $1-a-litre-milk, prompting an extraordinary call from the federal agriculture minister for shoppers to boycott the supermarket and the discount chain Aldi.
Dairy Connect Farmers Group president Graham Forbes said all other brands should take heed of Woolworths' decision and increase the price of its milk.
Days of $1-a-litre milk numbered as Woolworths ups price by 10¢
In a move likely to bring an end to $1 a litre milk, Woolworths is lifting the price of private label fresh milk by 10¢ a litre and handing the cash to dairy farmers, citing falling milk production.
From Tuesday, Woolworths will lift the price of two-litre Woolworths-branded milk by 20¢ to $2.20 and three-litre milk by 30¢ to $3.30, handing the extra 10¢ a litre to private label milk suppliers via dairy processors. The move will increase pressure on new Coles managing director Steven Cain and discounter Aldi to follow suit.
Woolworths lifts $1-a-litre milk price
Woolworths will wipe $1-a-litre milk from its stores, nationwide, from tomorrow. Ten cents will be added to the price of all Woolworths milk, which will be passed straight onto farmers.
Dairy Connect president Graham Forbes welcomed Woolworth’s decision and said it was time for Coles and Aldi to step up to the mark and rid the dairy industry of $1-a-litre milk. “We’ve already seen the drought relief milk deliver up to $10,000 a month to some of our farmers,” Mr Forbes said.
Coles refuses to follow Woolworths on ending $1-a-litre milk
Coles has refused to follow Woolworths’ lead and permanently lift the price of its $1-a-litre milk, preferring instead to call for customer donations to dairy farmers.
“Coles will continue to look at ways to support Australian farmers, including by collecting customer donations at our supermarket registers nationally from Monday 25 February, until further notice,” a Coles spokesman said. “Coles will match these donations dollar for dollar.”
But dairy farmers say Coles’ response is an insult. “It’s disgraceful and an insult, if they think we have to live off public charity,” Dairy Connect president and farmer Graham Forbes said.
Coles REFUSES to scrap $1-a-litre milk to help dairy farmers following Woolworths' announcement it was ending its cheap home-brand product
Dairy farmer advocacy group Dairy Connect called on Coles to follow its rival's lead, saying the issue was a matter of 'survival' for primary producers.
'Dairy Connect has called on Coles and Aldi to follow the same pricing model as Woolworths,' CEO Shaughn Morgan said.
Woolworths milk price rise to help save dairy farmers: Association
Woolworths stores in Orange will join a nationwide move to remove $1 per litre fresh milk from sale from Tuesday. The supermarket chain will sell two and three-litre varieties of Woolworths branded fresh milk for $2.20 and $3.30 respectively.
Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said supporting the long term sustainability of the dairy industry - and the regional communities they help support - is incredibly important. “In our consultation with industry bodies, including the Australian Dairy Farmers Association, its state members and NSW Dairy Connect, we’ve heard the outlook will continue to be extremely tough for dairy farmers right across the country,” he said.
Tasmanian dairy farmers to benefit from Woolworths' milk price increase
Woolworths has bowed to dairy farmer pressure, vowing to lift the price of house brand milk from $1 to 1.10 a litre nationwide.
Dairy Connect chief executive Shaughn Morgan urged consumers to support Woolworths’ move. He also regarded the 10c/litre price increase as “a great first step”.
Drought heats up chook prices, but supermakets still not moving on milk
Soaring stockfeed costs have added another dollar to the price of pre-cooked chickens at major supermarkets, prompting drought-stressed dairy farmers to ask why cheap milk still sells at a loss?
“The milk volume downturn has become really obvious in the fresh milk market states and northern Victoria in the past six weeks” says Dairy Connect’s Graham Forbes.
WOOLWORTHS DELIVERS DROUGHT RELIEF TO FARMERS
Amongst the conflicting information about how beneficial some of the supermarket milk rebate schemes are at actually helping dairy farmers, Woolworths have announced that their Drought Relief Milk has now provided $4.5 million in relief payments to more than 285 drought-affected dairy farmers across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
Dairy Connect CEO and New South Wales Drought Relief Committee member Shaughn Morgan said the extension was vital.
As milk levies paid out, farmers turn to bigger issues
The big supermarkets have now passed on millions from their drought relief funds to Australian farmers, but those running farming businesses say there are still big fights to win to keep the sector alive.
This week Coles confirmed it has now helped to pass on more than $16 million to farmers, including $7.1 million to the Country Women's Association Drought relief fund. Woolworths will continue its levy until the middle of the year and is working with its drought relief committee, including representatives from Dairy Connect and Parmalat.
Woolworths drought relief milk range extended
Dairy Connect and NSW Drought Relief committee member Shaughn Morgan has welcomed an extension by Woolworths of the drought relief milk range.
This comes as the supermarket chain announced the milk will continue to be on sale on the eastern seaboard while it works with the dairy industry on longer-term reform measures.
Coles pays $4m to dry dairy farmers, but hard summer still hurting milk industry
As the withering hot summer hits dairy herds hard, Coles has begun paying almost $4 million from its short term dairy drought relief fund to help about 640 farmers impacted by the big dry. Even better, Woolworths has paid out a total of $4.5m, with a fifth “dividend” due in February, and more to follow.
Dairy Connect chief executive officer and NSW relief committee member Shaughn Morgan said Woolworth’s extension to its drought milk scheme was vital. “We’re grateful Woolworths listened to Dairy Connect’s representations on behalf of its producer members,” Mr Morgan said.
Dairy farmers welcome draft mandatory dairy code of conduct released this week
Farmers are embracing plans for a mandatory code of conduct for the dairy industry, while also highlighting fundamental problems facing the sector they say are being ignored. Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud announced a draft code this week, saying it would give farmers more power. "A mandatory code will be an industry-defining moment so I want all dairy farmers, processors, and stakeholders to stay involved in shaping it," he said in a statement.
The chief lobby group for New South Wales dairy farmers hopes processors will not try and have the Federal Government's draft mandatory dairy code of conduct watered down. Dairy Connect president, and Gloucester dairy farmer, Graham Forbes said he was worried the code would face pressure from processors.
Dairy code: processors to release standard milk price on a set date each year
Dairy farmers have cautiously welcomed draft clauses for a mandatory dairy code, which would force all processors to release a standard form milk price agreement on a set date each year.
NSW Dairy Connect chief executive Shaughn Morgan said farmers wanted to make sure the arbitration process was as cost-effective as possible, either by establishing a dairy code ombudsman or via the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Farmers hope milk code will address 'David and Goliath' fights
Dairy farmer Graham Forbes says he's never really heard of a farmer keen to escalate a dispute with a milk processor, but he hopes a new code will remove the need to take on big businesses in court.
"Let's hope so — if this works properly, farmers shouldn't have to need to," he says.
Woolworths' Drought Relief Milk has given $3.1 million to dairy farmers
A bid to help drought-stricken dairy farmers stay afloat amid crippling drought has seen $3.1 million in relief payments split between farms.
Woolworths’ Drought Relief Milk initiative, which started in September, has seen more than 280 dairy farmers across NSW, Queensland and Victoria share in the monthly windfall.
Dairy Connect CEO and Drought Relief Committee member Shaughn Morgan said farmers had used the money to help with the cost of buying in feed for their cows.
Dairy Farmers Priced Out
A recent inquiry into the NSW dairy industry has found producers are caught in a cost-price squeeze, leaving farmers to operate on the slimmest of margins.
The committee of the NSW Parliament has produced a series of recommendations.
The committee findings challenge the opinion of the ACCC that the selling of milk by major retailers at $1 per litre does not directly impact the price paid to farmers.