FARMER Power is stepping into the ring to take on the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria in the battle to become a key dairy industry advocate. By: PETER HUNT and SIMONE SMITH
The rebel dairy lobby group will launch a campaign today aimed at gaining business and community funding to run political and promotional campaigns in support of dairy farmers.
Independent fuel retailer APCO and the Council of Small Business Australia has come on board to promote Farmer Power’s crowd-funding campaign and its “Bush Champion” business membership.
Farmer Power executive officer Garry Kerr said funds raised from businesses, farmers and through crowd-funding would be used to implement a dairy industry plan that would launch in three weeks.
Farmer Power president Chris Gleeson said the group would also call for a community boycott of $1-a-litre milk and wanted to run an advertising campaign countering the supermarkets’ price wars.
“We’ve got to stop the loss,” he said. “We’ve had 280 dairy farmers leave the industry since the start of the year.
“We have to get people back in the industry and the only way we’ll do that is with a decent price for what people should regard as our white gold — milk.”
Meanwhile, tensions continue between the UDV and its parent organisation, the Victorian Farmers Federation.
UDV members have already publicly questioned whether they get value for money from the VFF and railed against its deal with Coles to sell Farmers’ Fund milk.
And behind the scenes, rumours have been circulating of a challenge from the UDV and other livestock groups to VFF chief executive Graeme Ford.
The VFF said in a statement yesterday: “The VFF always focuses on delivering the highest quality services and outcomes for our members and the broader agricultural sector across the state, particularly in the face of the prevailing challenges facing the industry.
“The board and senior leadership are constantly reviewing the strategy and future direction of the organisation through regular deliberations about ways to deliver value to the VFF membership and provide leadership to the agricultural community.”
There has been speculation tensions between UDV and VFF came to a head, with former UDV manager Vin Delahunty leaving the federation.
UDV president Adam Jenkins said the UDV had been happy with and supported Mr Delahunty’s work.
Source: The Weekly Times