This was the verdict from Dairy Connect Farmers Group president Graham Forbes after reflecting on what he described as “months of negotiations” between Dairy Connect Farmers Group and the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation.
“Our two organisations are moving towards forming a single dairy farmer organisation to best represent NSW/Queensland under the name ‘eastAUSmilk’, with the ‘AUS’ standing for Advocacy, Unity and Service,” Mr Forbes said
“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.
“Subject to the lockdown that COVID-19 has imposed on the industry, it is hoped that we will be able to visit dairy regions so that we can 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 Farmers Group when we hold a ‘webinar’ to discuss the consultation issues paper.”
Dairy Connect chief executive Shaughn Morgan said the consultation paper would be a further opportunity for dairy farmers to ask any questions they may have or issues 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.”
Mr Morgan said he did not intend to go through the discussion paper but rather allow producers the opportunity to read the paper and consider those matters they wanted 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.