VICTORIA’S dairy lobby is considering a move that could fracture the Victorian Farmers Federation. By: PETER HUNT and KATH SULLIVAN
The Weekly Times understands United Dairy Farmers of Victoria is contemplating shifting its staff and funding into a new alliance with national advocacy group Australian Dairy Farmers.
Under the proposal, the UDV would cut its funding to the VFF, paying the state’s peak farmer lobby to advocate on a fee-for-service basis.
The proposal to form a closer relationship with ADF is one of a series of recommendations for reform lodged with the VFF board earlier this month.
It comes after a UDV-led Dairy Advocacy Reform Team of 10 farmers came up with the recommendations for change after interviewing the UDV council, ADF board members and its past presidents (David Basham and Noel Campbell), the Dairy Australia board, Murray Goulburn directors and leaders of other milk processing companies.
VFF president David Jochinke said the board had neither supported nor rejected the DART recommendations, and he hoped to meet with UDV leaders next month.
“The VFF wants a strong UDV within its family and to work closely with all peak bodies to achieve our charters,” Mr Jochinke said.
UDV president Adam Jenkins said he was “perturbed” sensitive information had been leaked to The Weekly Times.
“The UDV has no intention of walking away from the VFF and it is very important that farmers unite,” he said.
Mr Jenkins said the UDV wanted to “strengthen advocacy in the dairy space”. “If you can do things better why wouldn’t you look at your options?” he said.
“There are synergies when you look at Dairy Australia, ADF and the UDV, We’ve got to get the best outcome.”
The UDV, livestock, grains and horticulture groups have grown increasingly concerned at the $540 common service fee they must pay the VFF to run its policy, industrial relations, business, marketing and communications work.
The UDV’s members pay about $1.7 million in levies, of which about $900,000 goes to the VFF. Dairy farmers make up about a third of the VFF’s membership.
Source: The Weekly Times