DAIRY farmers from throughout SA met on the streets of Parliament House today, in tandem with similar rallies in Melbourne and Brisbane.
SA organiser Mandy Pacitti, Hindmarsh Tiers, said the event was to provide moral support for those in the industry hit by the price cuts at Murray Goulburn and Fonterra.
It was also a chance to reiterate the message that those in the industry need to be paid a fair price in order to keep the industry sustainable.
“Farmers, whatever they’re farming, should be paid a price for their product that allows them to cover the true cost of production, that allows farmers to maintain or replace infrastructure, improve the land, provide for the welfare of their animals, care for themselves and their families and make a bit of profit as well,” Mrs Pacitti said.
“A truly sustainable farming system takes into account economics, environment, people and animals.
“This can’t happen if people have a belief that food must be cheap.
“This can’t happen if retailers keep underpinning their belief with ridiculous price wars.”
Of the state’s 252 dairy farms, about 60 supply to MG and six to Fonterra.
Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell said the rally, and the recent response of consumers to the dairy crisis, was a wonderful exhibition of people power.
He also welcomed the federal government’s announcement it would provide $600 million in funding to support the industry.
“This is not the government’s fault but the state and federal governments are all working together, side by side with dairy farmers,” he said.
He again paid tribute to the work of the consumers in buying dairy product.
Mr Bignell said the recent crisis had worked to “shake up city people to the plight of dairy farmers” more than anything before.
“This is something that has been going on a long time and once the social media stuff has died down, I hope people still remember to get out there,” he said.