Queensland's peak dairy farmer organisation and NSW-based industry advocacy body Dairy Connect are poised for a merger under the banner eastAUSmilk.
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Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation and Dairy Connect have been in months of negotiations, despite the challenges of talking directly to farmers provided by the coronavirus pandemic.

Dairy Connect’s dairy farmer group president Graham Forbes said the two organisations were moving towards forming a single dairy farmer organisation to best represent both states’ producers.

He said AUS in name ‘eastAUSmilk’, would stand for Advocacy, Unity and Service.

“Those of us who have been working towards achieving this outcome believe firmly in the themes and culture that we intend to bring to this new dairy farmer organisation,” Mr Forbes said.

Subject to the COVID-19 lockdown, it was hoped Dairy Connect representatives would visit dairy regions in NSW to seek producer views face-to-face.

“However, if we are not able to do so because of COVID-19 or for some other reason, any dairy farmer will be able to join representatives of the Dairy Connect when we hold a ‘webinar’ to discuss the consultation issues paper,” he said.

That paper is available online for viewing and comment.

Chief executive officer Shaughn Morgan said the paper would be a further opportunity for dairy farmers to ask any questions they may have or issues that they may wish to canvas.

“Dairy farmer engagement and their taking ownership are vital to the overall success of this merger,” he said.

“The systemic issues that the Australian dairy industry is confronting will not go away overnight and indeed we need to ensure that we remain strong and viable with a sustainable dairy industry into the future.

“The establishment of eastAUSmilk will provide strong dairy farmer representation and advocacy, as agreed and outlined in the Australian Dairy Plan, for dairy farmers in our two states.”

He encouraged producers to read the consultation paper and consider matters they may wish to raise.

“Vitally, the paper provides an outline of matters discussed and some of these issues still need to be settled but it provides a guide as to how we believe the merged organisation will operate into the future,” he said.

Dairy products and, in particular, grass-fed products are performing strongly post-covid in overseas markets.

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