The retail war between supermarkets has made it difficult for consumers to separate the curds from the whey when it comes to the best way to support Australian dairy farmers.
Farmers are in the middle of a fight to keep their farms as drought, low farm gate prices and the high cost of fodder strangle any profit.
While Woolworths has taken a step forward, with the initiation of a 10c increase per litre on their branded milk, more needs to be done.
One dairy farmer, Steve Cummings, is pleased that the plight of the industry is finally getting the attention it deserves, but believes that the Australian public needs to be prepared to spend a little more on the weekly shop.
“Woolworths price of $1.10 a litre is still ridiculously cheap," Cummings said.
To ensure the future of Australian dairy, retailers, consumers and processors need to work together to ensure viability of the industry.
As everyone along the production line skims the cream off the profit, farmers are left with very little.
The advice industry representatives for consumers is to boycott home-brand products.
Stick to branded products or companies that have initiated a levy to support farmers, such as Farmers Own, Dairy Farmers, Pauls and Pura, among others.
Milk is only the tip of the iceberg, ensure that you purchase Australian cheese, yogurt and other dairy products.
Retailers increasing prices alone won’t make a difference, we need to ensure that the increased profits are being passed down to those in need.
Consumers can force the milk processors to pass on profits to farmers simply by the way they shop.
CEO and company secretary of Dairy Connect, Shaughn Morgan, is passionate about keeping farmers in business.
According to Morgan, Australia's national dairy herd has dropped from 9 billion to 8 billion in two years.
"Australia undervalues dairy farmers and undervalues milk," Morgan said.
“Our farmers are hurting and are trying to put food on the table.
“We need to look after people."
Dairy Connect is pushing the government to instate a milk ombudsman for the ACCC to negotiate with processors.
So next time you head to the shops, keep in mind the products on the shelf that give the best return to our dairy farmers. These include:
- Farmers Own
- Dairy Farmers
- Gippsland Dairy