A penalty of $11,100 has been paid by Dairy Farmers Co-operative Limited (DFMC) after the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission issued the coop with an infringement notice for allegedly failing to comply with its publishing obligations under the Dairy Code.
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Purchasing roughly 185 million litres of milk annually, DFMC is a large farmer cooperative which sources its milk from more than 160 dairy farmers across the nation.

Under the Dairy Code most companies which purchase milk from farmers must publish standard form milk supply agreements, allowing farmers to compare minimum prices and contract terms on offer by covering all situations in which the company plans on purchasing milk in the upcoming dairy season. These agreements must be published on the company’s website by 2:00 PM on 1 June every year.

As part of the 2021-22 dairy season publication deadline, DFMC has allegedly failed to publish any of its standard form milk supply agreements.

ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said all companies that buy milk from farmers are obliged to abide the Dairy Code.

“While DFMC doesn’t process milk, it was buying milk from member farmers to supply a processor, and so has the same legal obligations under the Code.

“Failing to publish milk supply agreements on time makes it more difficult for farmers to access key information about the milk supply terms on offer. We know that many farmers have to make time-critical supply decisions in June each year,” said Keogh.

Since the penalty DFMC has published all milk supply agreements on its website.

Keogh added that the code is a priority for the ACCC as it provides the dairy industry with price transparency, and it is essential for milk processers and other purchasers to comply.

“The ACCC is continuing to monitor compliance with the Dairy Code, and any breaches detected may result in enforcement action,” he said.

A farmer’s life is always busy, but when you add in looking after the family and a sideline business as an artificial breeding (AB) technician, with a run that is spread out over many kilometres, it can become a balancing act.

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