Gloucester dairy farmer, Graham Forbes has been elected vice-chair of eastAUSmilk, a newly merged advocacy body for dairy farmers in NSW and Queensland.
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Shaughn Morgan and Gloucester dairy farmer, Graham Forbes were involved in the negotiations between Dairy Connect Farmers Group and the Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation to form eastAUSmilk. Photo supplied

The industry start-up on December 2, 2021 of eastAUSmilk is a landmark event for dairy farmers and a new era for direct dairy farmer representation on much of Australia’s eastern seaboard.

Recently elected chair of eastAUSmilk and former vice-president of Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation, Matt Trace, has welcomed this new industry body to represent dairy producers from southern NSW to the tip of Queensland.

“The significance of eastAUSmilk will be its strength in numbers and a unity of purpose that will be underpinned by the new organisation while bringing into play the best of the QDO and NSW’s Dairy Connect Farmers Group,” Mr Trace said

“I am honoured to have been elected as inaugural chair and I look forward to working with the other members of the board and staff of eastAUSmilk to achieve a positive outcome for dairy producers in coming weeks, months and years.

“Many issues remain to be addressed and I look forward to working towards finding the solutions necessary to move the industry forward and to ensure a strong and sustainable dairy future.

“We must ensure that when increases in dairy prices occurs, such as that recently announced by the supermarkets for home-brand milk, that a part of that increase will be passed down the dairy value chain to ensure a win-win for all those involved in the dairy process.

“Supermarket customers have shown a strong willingness to support dairy farmers due to the high nutritional produce that dairy farmers supply to their processor but they need to be assured that when they pay that extra price at the supermarket checkout, the dairy farmer is receiving a fair share of that increased price.

“That is why eastAUSmilk, with an increased unified membership and stronger cross state representation, can put forward strong policy advocacy to government, stakeholders and other interest groups about the importance of the dairy industry and its future to the Australian economy in the long-term.

Mr Trace will be joined on the eastAUSmilk board of directors by James Geraghty, Gary Wenzel, Waylon Barron, Ruth Kydd and Graham Forbes.

“I am looking forward to working with Matt and the other members of the board to achieve positive and collaborative outcomes for dairy producers from the 6 district council regions of eastAUSmilk,” Graham said.

“The opportunities for the new organisation to address the systemic issues that remain within the dairy value chain will be immense as will the challenges that we will confront.

“Over the coming weeks and months, we will be speaking and meeting with members and other dairy farmers about the opportunities that eastAUSmilk will provide and the way that we can move the industry forward collaboratively.

“Engagement with government, processors and supermarkets will be vital to find the pathway and a mechanism to ensure that we achieve collegiate outcomes which are in the best interests of the dairy industry.

“The Australian dairy industry is a crossroads and being united and speaking with one voice will ensure long-term sustainability and a viable dairy industry for future generations of dairy farmers,” Graham said.

With calving underway, dairy farmers are being urged to plan ahead to combat feed shortages.

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