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Drought threatening to cripple dairy industry

QDO State Councillor and Millaa Millaa farmer James Geraghty is urging the State and Federal Governments to help the crippled dairy industry before it is too late.

THE plight of dairy farmers across the country has been a hot topic for quite some time, and Millaa Millaa dairy farmer and Queensland Dairy Organisation (QDO) State Councillor James Geraghty is concerned the State and Federal Governments don’t realise how dire the circumstances currently are.

Mr Geraghy spoke at a recent meeting in Yungaburra about what needs to be done to ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry, particularly given the extended periods of drought that has plagued a number of regions heavily reliant upon the production of dairy.

“The purpose of my presentation was to implore to those in attendance, including LNP’s Andrew Powell, that the extensive financial stress being seen in the dairy industry needs to be addressed,” he said.

“The drought in particular has caused enormous consequences for everyone involved in the industry – even here on the Tablelands.

“While we’re not in drought up here, the cost of everything we use has increased significantly and become almost unaffordable.

“Grain has gone from the mid-400s a tonne to more than 600 a tonne, whilst cotton feed went from 350 a tonne to as high as 700 tonne and now is no longer available.”

Mr Geraghty said industry groups and representatives want to see a 10 cent increase to every litre of milk with the exception of ultra-high temperature (UHT) and flavoured milk.

“We also want the levy collected at the processor and paid by the consumer,” he said.

“We would like a five-year window with these policies in place, and if given that amount of time we’re confident we can turn it around into a sustainable industry over time.

“We’re currently 200 million litres of milk short every year yet the price hasn’t been raised.

“Something needs to be done, if we can’t get a 10 cent increase now, we’ll never get it – and we’ll see great generational dairy farmers lost as a result.”

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