The Australian Dairy Plan has been going for almost three years now. It was promoted as being a grand review of the industry and a once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-shape the industry and move it forward.
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Around 1500 people, mostly farmers, attended a series of workshops in early 2019 with the promise that everything was on the table and that real change would occur if that was desired.

Many farmers were sceptical but still participated with the hope that change would finally occur to improve or be rid of the very tired and under-performing industry structure.

The latest announcement made shows that nothing of any note will change as a result of the Dairy Plan.

This is a major disappointment but unfortunately comes as no surprise to QDO and most dairy farmers. With no changes being implemented the millions of farmers’ dollars spent have been wasted for nothing. Clearly the farmers who were hugely sceptical about Dairy Plan were correct.

So, what needs to happen now? It is up to QDO, other state dairy farmer bodies, and ADF to lead change in the dairy industry. It is time for all farmers, and the bodies that represent them, to show real leadership and force change in the interests of farmers. This process has started, and everything is on the table not just a minor change to how advocacy is undertaken. We cannot be deterred by those in industry who do not want transformational change.

All dairy farmers can be certain that QDO will play a strong role in leading change as demanded by dairy farmers. And this will continue until the farmers’ calls for transformational change in the industry are met and significant and tangible benefits for farmers are delivered.

Last month, 14 of our dairy farms in Maine, as well as dozens of dairy farms across northern New England, got an unexpected and disappointing notice from Danone of North America saying that they were discontinuing their contracts with our organic dairy farmers in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and elsewhere.

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