While dairy farmers continue to be in an uproar after milk prices were dropped last year by Fonterra and Murray Goulburn, a Victorian farmer is still hopeful of a bright future ahead for him and his family.
East Gippsland farmer Rohan Bingley decided to make the transition from beef to dairy even after the slashing of milk prices buckled many local dairy farmers, wanting to create jobs for his children when they left school.
Beef farmer turns to dairy as a long-term investment
While it was tough decision, Mr Bingley still believes that dairy farming is a good long-term investment, prompting him to want to expand his herd of dairy cattle from 100 to 140 in the future. Although Mr Bingley is positive that the dairy industry will get back on it’s feet and continue to be profitable, many of his fellow dairy farmers don’t share his positive outlook.
ACCC take court action against Murray Goulburn
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) are currently involved in court action against Murray Goulburn as they claim the company weren’t honest with dairy farmers in the months leading up to the milk price cut. In an interview with the ABC the ACCC Chairman Rob Sims said, “We’ll be alleging that Murray Goulburn knew that farmers relied on this information and that they made decisions based on what Murray Goulburn was telling them. That caused farmers considerable problems, because many had invested money based on that price.”
ACCC seeking penalties to be paid by former MG staff
In their court proceedings the ACCC have alleged that both Gary Helou the former managing director of Murray Goulburn and their former chief financial officer Bary Hingle were involved and “knowingly concerned in Murray Goulburn’s conduct. ” The watchdog is wanting them to pay significant penalties. Mr Sims said, “The penalty for them could be up to $220,000 per contravention. I don’t want to pre-empt the court proceedings. There could be multiple contraventions here and each contravention would have a penalty of up to $220,000 per breach.”
Long hours ahead to turn a profit in dairy
Even with the hard slog of up to 16 hours a day ahead of him to keep his dairy farm profitable, Mr Bingley has taken the challenge in his stride. Used to being a one man operation he has had to make some changes to adapt and when interviewed by the ABC said, “There’s a few little things I’ve had to tweak in my program because there’s not enough of me to go round. But I was working off-farm when we were doing beef and lucerne as well, so 12,14, 16-hour days weren’t unusual for me. Initially I thought training heifers through the shed was going to be a problem but that’s been pretty smooth, no challenges there.”
While weathering the storm of fluctuating dairy prices at present, the hard working dairy farmer focuses on a future working side-by-side with his kids. Mr Bingley proudly said,”My oldest daughter just had her birthday in March and one of her presents that I actually bought her was a milking apron and that went down pretty well with her compared to everything else she got.”