ACTION REQUIRED: Clarendon dairyfarmer Errol Gerber is calling on farrmgate prices to rise so dairy can still be produced in Queensland.
ACTION REQUIRED: Clarendon dairyfarmer Errol Gerber is calling on farrmgate prices to rise so dairy can still be produced in Queensland. ALI KUCHEL

Go Local and support dairyfarmers

IF CONSUMERS want local milk, they need to ensure their farmers are being paid a sustainable price.

That's the message from Clarendon dairyfarmer Errol Gerber.

The fourth-generation farmer welcome the governments Go Local Dairy campaign, which urges consumers to purchase locally sourced milk, but said it was no "silver bullet" for the industry.

The campaign was launched by Small Business Minister Shannon Fentiman during the Ekka last week.

"I think it's a good initiative, but it's by no means a way to rectify the issue with the industry's market place not functioning correctly," Mr Gerber said.

It's a small step, and a good move from the state government to support us, but it's not the answer.

Mr Gerber and his wife Julie run Wivenhoe Holsteins, milking about 150 cows daily at their farm and supplying about 4000 litres a day to Dairy Farmers Milk Co-Op.

Their production is back about 20 per cent on the previous year, due to cutting cow numbers to better deal with present drought conditions.

Mr Gerber said in addition to the Go Local Dairy campaign, dairyfarmers needed to receive a better farmgate price for their milk to be sustainable.

On average farmers receive about 57c a litre, but Mr Gerber said to break even pricing should be a minimum of 70c/L.

He said there were a handful of smaller Qld processors that are paying dairyfarmers at a sustainable price, but on the whole, the $1 litre milk was severely impacting the industry.

 

Clarendon dairyfarmer Errol Gerber, Gerber Farms.
Clarendon dairyfarmer Errol Gerber, Gerber Farms. ALI KUCHEL

"This price puts an artificial ceiling on what all processors are able to pay farmers for their milk," Mr Gerber said. said.

"Any retail price rise for milk needs to be seen that it goes directly back to the farmer, and it should be transparent enough for the consumer to see that is happening when they buy their milk."

Mr Gerber said the present farm gate price is less than what he were receiving about 20 years ago.

"The cost to produce milk is constantly increasing and the drought is just making things so much harder," he said.

Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation president Brian Tessman said the Go Local Dairy campaign encouraged consumers to value Queensland-sourced fresh milk products.

"Consumers want to do the right thing and support Queensland brands and Queensland dairy farmers," he said.

"By going local, you know here your milk is coming from and you put your money back into the communities where it was farmed and produced."

 

Errol Gerber with some of his cattle.
Errol Gerber with some of his cattle. ALI KUCHEL

Government steps in

THE decision to get behind Queensland's dairy farmers with a Go Local campaign has stemmed from the support following Tropical Cyclone Debbie in 2017.

Employment and small business minister Shannon Fentiman said Queenslanders responded well to the Go Local and supported small businesses after the cyclone devastation, which helped boost economic and community recovery.

We are asking Queenslanders to do the same again when they buy milk, cheese, yoghurt, in fact all dairy goods," she said.

Go Local Dairy is a $290,000 partnership with the office of small business and Queensland Dairy Organisation, aimed at supporting the state's dairy industry through a promotional campaign involving traditional and social media.

Additionally, the project will support farmers with workshops and mentoring them about how to best promote their products, and how to diversify their product range.

Ms Fentiman said the dairy sector was important to Queensland, with many small businesses involved in the industry throughout the Lockyer Valley, Darling Downs, Central Burnett and Far North Queensland.

-Go Local Dairy products: Pauls Dairy, Norco Milk, Dairy Farmers, Thick & Creamy, Dare Iced Coffee, Maleny Daries, Malene Cheese Factory, Kennilworth Dairies, Scenic Rim 4 Real Milk, Farmer Gregie, Mungalli Creek Dairy, Misty Mountain Farms, Central Queensland Dairy Fresh, Whitsunday Dairy Fresh, Tommerup's Dairy Farm, Barambah Organics,


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