A NSW dairy farmer has taken his concerns over the future of the sector directly to the Prime Minister as the 2022 election campaign enters its final fortnight.
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Nowra farmer Tim Cochrane met with Scott Morrison recently as the Prime Minister toured the ultra-marginal seat of Gilmore, held by Labor MP Fiona Phillips on a 2.2 per cent margin.

Mr Cochrane told the Prime Minister dairy farmers nationwide were under considerable financial pressure due to rising input costs.

The farmer told the PM supermarkets needed to immediately raise the price of milk to cover the fertiliser, labour and electricity price hike.

“There’s plenty of talk of record farmgate prices. Well there’s record input costs too,” Mr Cochrane said.

“We’ve tried to meet with the Prime Minister a couple of times and so it was good that (Gilmore Liberal candidate) Andrew Constance organised the meeting.

“We told him the supermarkets needed to raise the price of milk. Everything else is going up: fruit, veg, other groceries. But milk just stays the same as it always was.

“The price (of generic milk) before the dollar a litre cut (in January 2011) was $1.30 a litre and what’s the price in 2022? $1.30 a litre. It’s not sustainable.”

Mr Cochrane operates a 1000-cow farm on the Shoalhaven Flats, near Nowra. The Prime Minister has campaigned in Gilmore several times and Mr Cochrane said he would welcome clearer dairy policy direction from both parties before polling day.

United Dairyfarmers of Victoria vice president Mark Billing told The Weekly Times this week said the lack of vision from Canberra over dairy was “just not good enough”.

The view was shared by the Nowra farmer.

“(Mr Morrison) told us that (Agriculture Minister) David Littleproud was looking into it but it would be good to see some more pressure from government, particularly with the supermarkets,” Mr Cochrane said.

“It’d also be good to get dairy policy from Labor too. There’s huge issues for dairy, not just here, not just NSW. It’s right along the eastern seaboard.”

Dairy farmers in the San Joaquin Valley are working to overcome the impacts of substantial flooding. Last week’s storms have left broad swaths of Tulare County under standing water.

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