DFMC apologises for Code error

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued an infringement notice to the Dairy Farmers Milk Co-operative (DFMC) for a breach of the Dairy Code of Conduct.

Under the Code, all information on milk supply agreements must be made publicly available by 2pm on 1 June. The technical breach related to publishing obligations as there was a delay of nearly an hour in sharing the standard form agreements on the DFMC website.

Importantly all DFMC farmer members and interested parties had access to all farmgate milk pricing schedules and supply conditions by the 2pm deadline on 1 June.

DFMC acknowledges and apologises to our famer members and the ACCC for the breach.

We have worked openly and constructively with ACCC staff to address the issues raised in the infringement notice.

With a small management team, DFMC manages more than 20 different farmgate milk supply agreements and is now undertaking a review of all processes and timelines associated with the requirements of the Code, with a view to making the necessary changes to ensure compliance in 2022.

The DFMC independent director and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee will guide this review process and present the outcomes to the DFMC Board.

DFMC continues to be a strong supporter of the Code and the principles underpinning its development.

Media enquiries

Gabrielle Sheehan | gabrielle@curriecommunications.com.au

Milk quality – Q3 results in

The lowest bulk milk cell counts for the first quarter of this year are listed below.  Congratulations to all and thank you for your efforts.

January – March 2021
KF & FC Collins Ravenshoe 108,218
DA & CG Vonhoff Jondaryn 109,437
JR & BR Daley Millaa Millaa 152,967
RJ & CJ Hartin Millaa Millaa 157,509
MC & JM Macdonald Pechey 163,928
MacArthur Stanham Holdings Menangle 145,674
Miss ES Bowman Singleton 149,474
GF & RF Herne & TL Russell Brundee 150,747
Glencoe Estates Jerrara 169,670
J Strong & P Haertch Albion Park 179,779
Loxby Brown Swiss Laceby 93,106
JP & LB Edwards Leitchville 100,953
R & S Robertson Yarraweyah 103,896
RG BI & KM Bond Torrens Vale 118,998
JH & BA Dealy Numurkah 133,334



SA industry meeting

Springton SA suppliers Kym and Sandy Rathjen hosted a Dairy SA Calf Health day in late February.

Well attended by 40 farmers from across the Barossa and Mid North, presenters Cindy Lucas and Dario Mendoza brought attendees up to date with the latest in low-stress calf rearing and disbudding techniques in the comfort of the Rathjen’s new shearing shed.

SA Director Sandy Rathjen then spoke on how their operation goes about rearing the healthiest possible calves that develop into well-grown replacements for their 220 strong registered Holstein herd.

Attendees then enjoyed a delicious barbecue and of course some Farmers Union Iced Coffee provided by DFMC.

2020 Milk quality award winners

In 2020, restrictions on meetings and functions, including the Annual General Meeting and year-end functions in each region, meant that we were not able to present our Quality Awards as we have in the past.

Instead, we have put together a presentation of the awards by region, and of course the national award. Click here to see the winners. Congratulations to all!

It is also important to acknowledge, as we do every year, those who supplied consistently high-quality milk. Certificates have been mailed to members who supplied Exceptional Quality milk, receiving zero demerit points for the full 12 months to 30 June 2020. Those who supplied Superior Quality milk with under 5 demerit points for the year also receive a certificate.

Exceptional Milk Quality 2020
FNQ – P & VA English
FNQ – KF & SC Collins
FNQ – J & S Geraghty
FNQ – JR & DR Daley Pty Ltd
FNQ – Laceview Pty Ltd
FNQ – R JD & BRG Kelso
FNQ – RR & SG Daley
FNQ – MB Daley Pty Ltd
FNQ – S E Doull & L Pearson
FNQ – McGregor Farming
SEQ – RL & SL Skyring
SEQ – DA & CG Vonhoff
SEQ – Gerber Farms Pty Ltd
SEQ – Crouch Farming
NSW – MacArthur Stanham Holdings P/L
NSW -Michael John Cole
NSW – Hurlstone Agricultural College
NSW – GA & CA Chittick
NSW – Jim Strong
NSW – GF & RF Herne & TL Russell
NSW – Glencoe Estates
NSW – Miss ES Bowman
NSW – CW & N Windsor
SA – Manna Farm Holsteins
SA – IA & LC Gazzola
SA – Jared & Megan King
SA – JH & CM Zerk
SA – DJ & KB Leuenberger
VIC – JH & BA Dealy
VIC – JJ & BL Evans
VIC – MG & CA Hay & Son
VIC – DH & CJ Riley
VIC – RJ Perkins & SF Evans
VIC – AJ & JM Wilson
VIC – JC & NT Smith
VIC – Wild Dog Creek Pastoral Co.
VIC – The Barton Family

Superior Milk Quality 2020
NSW – Honey Park Pastoral Co
NSW – Beaulands Pty Ltd
NSW – Shierlaw Dairy Pty Ltd
NSW – WG & AJ Sherborne
NSW – BJ Watts & Sons Pty Ltd
SA – RG BI & KM Bond
SA – J & CL Lovelock
SA – AG & DJ Dalitz
SA – The Bartlett Family Trust
SEQ – ME IW & WD Pukallus
SEQ – RL Brasington and LE Brasington
SEQ – ME & J Lanham
SEQ – GR & JM Fitch
SEQ – MJ & GJ Henry
SEQ – GL & LM Edwards
SEQ – MC & JM MacDonald
SEQ – Blackwood Family Farms
SEQ – Brown Valley Farming
SEQ – MJ & AA Wilson
SEQ – AC DM PJ CR TE & TJ Beattie
VIC – JP & ER Pethybridge
VIC – CA & ML Godden
VIC – GK & JM Ault
VIC – E M Brown & S F Fisicaro
VIC – AL & BR Younger

Ian Stewart Milk Quality Awards 2020

With the AGM format necessarily different last year we didn’t present the annual Quality Awards as we have traditionally done.  To see the regional and national winners please click on the image below.


DFMC welcomes Lion sale to Bega

Dairy Farmers Milk Cooperative welcomes the announcement that, after over two years of being on the market, Lion Dairy & Drinks has been bought by ASX-listed Bega Cheese Ltd.

Bega is a strongly established Australian dairy and food business, with over 120 years of heritage. It is clear that Bega is ideally positioned to drive the Dairy & Drinks business forward.

The sale will include all the white milk, Milk Based Beverages (MBB), yoghurt, juice and water ice brands, including Lion’s blockbuster brands – Dairy Farmers, Dare, Pura, Masters, Farmers Union, Yoplait, Berri, Daily Juice, The Juice Brothers and Zooper Dooper.

It also includes Lion Dairy & Drinks’ 11 dairy and juice manufacturing sites in Australia, the Dairy & Drinks International business, Lion’s share of the joint ventures Vitasoy Australia products (Vitasoy) and Capitol Chilled Foods Australia (CCFA), its majority shareholding in Made by Cow and the Dairy & Drinks’ licensing agreement for the Yoplait brand in Australia and South-East Asia.

Whilst we were initially disappointed to learn that Mengniu Dairy did not proceed with the sale process of LDD, we are pleased to see that Bega’s purchase is unconditional and requires no further regulatory approvals.

Bega is an iconic and well managed diversified food company with the heart and soul of a dairy company, and DFMC looks forward to commencing discussions with Bega about growing the supply of milk from our family dairy farmers’ base.

It is anticipated that the sale will be completed in early 2021 and will keep you updated should we hear any further announcements.

There is no change to your current milk supply contract as a result of this announcement

New Southern Directors Announced

We called for nominations for co-operative directors in South Australia (region 4) and Victoria (region 5) earlier in the year.   At the AGM on November 17 chairman Andrew Burnett was pleased to announce that with one candidate nominating in each region Greg Ault was elected in Victoria and that Sandy Rathjen was elected in South Australia.

Sandy and husband Kym, who is a third-generation farmer at “Glenjoy Friesian Stud” based in Springton, South Australia.  Currently “Glenjoy” milks 180 Holstein Friesian cows and produces 1.84 million litres annually as well as farming 100 beef cattle & 1000 sheep.

Sandy has always had a passion for animals and through her employment history has attained extensive business management skills which are now utilised to manage the farm which has grown from 400 acres to 2500 acres over the past 35 years.

Greg has been dairy farming for 35 years in a family partnership with his wife Joanne and support from their four children.  They are currently milking 500 cows with sharefarmers Andrew and Cassandra Kath on a 350ha irrigated farm at Rochester in Northern Victoria. As a supporter of the co-operative model the Aults have supplied DFMC for 10 years and Greg served on the Ward Representative Advisory Committee (WRAC) for 3 years.

Greg has shown real enthusiasm to get involved beyond the farmgate being an active member of UDV/VFF over the last 30 years holding several executive positions.  He also served as a director of Murray Dairy for 5 years.  He is currently a director of an irrigation co-operative and committee member of Campaspe Water Incorporated.

Top milk quality from July to September

Here are the Top 5 BMCCs for each region from July to September (average of 10-day periods).

Our DFMC suppliers are continuing to supply quality milk in all regions. It’s great to see some new names and locations appearing in the BMCC tables.

Southern region
Supplier Location State Av BMCC 10 day periods
1 RJ Perkins & SF Evans Laceby Vic 65,351
2 Elmhurst – The Barton Family Kancoona Vic 69,123
3 DJ & KB Leuenberger Waitpinga SA 82,469
4 Beck & Stew Robertson Yarroweyha Vic 103,468
5 JJ & BL Evans Greta West Vic 110,341
Supplier Location Av BMCC 10 day periods
1 MacArthur Stanham Holdings P/L Menangle 98,699
2 Miss ES Bowman Singleton 109,908
3 Glencoe Estates Jerrara 127,053
4 GF & RF Herne & TL Russell Brundee 133,527
5 Sheirlaw Dairy Pty Ltd Croom 136,525


Supplier Location Av BMCC 10 day periods
1 DA & CG Vonhoff Jondaryn 98,699
2 MJ & AA Wilson Calico Creek 108,550
3 KF & SC Collins Ravenshoe 109,588
4 McGregor Farming Jaggan 125,848
5 P & VA English Malanda 134,185

New format for 2020 AGM

Originally, we excitedly planned to hold the Convention, Quality Awards presentation and AGM in Far North Queensland this year. But with the pandemic we clearly needed to rejig our plans and put together the AGM to accommodate the various travel and gathering restrictions that are currently in place.

Fortunately, our co-operative’s rules accommodate for a general meeting held in multiple locations linked by on-line conferencing.  There are clearly some differences and obligations in how the meeting must be run, including that any speaker must be able to be heard by all others present at each location.  For those of you inclined to read the details, the DFMC Rules are available on our website at https://dfmc.org.au/operation/dfmc-constitution/ – Part 4, Division 2 Conduct of General Meetings on page 22.

We are planning to host the meeting as an online conference using Microsoft Teams from our Geelong offices on November 17 and have satellite sites for members to attend with DFMC staff, Directors or WRAC members managing venues.  So, whilst the event in FNQ would have been a terrific opportunity for members to visit a beautiful and unique dairying region, this format will afford more members the ability to participate via satellite sites.

In addition, members will also be able to participate remotely via the online conferencing system from your own home or business. However members participating via their own home or business will be attending the meeting as a guest and will only be able to vote by proxy. In the interests of public health and safety, we think it best if most people participate remotely and do not physically attend the meeting.

Will I be able to vote?

Yes. If you can physically attend the Geelong office or one of the satellite sites you will be able to vote as we will have nominated scrutineers to formally record the “show of hands” or indeed a more formal poll if called. If you participate remotely from your own home or business, you will only be able to vote by proxy.

Will I be able to speak at the meeting or ask questions of the board?

Yes. The platform we plan to use has very good functionality to indicate you wish to speak.  Protocols will be announced before the meeting and the Chairman will manage the questions in a manner similar to a physical meeting.  All attendees will be able to hear your question. The Standing Orders at General Meetings (Item 53 of the Rules) will be adhered to, however, in accordance with DFMC’s Rules, the Chairman may depart from the Standing Orders if this is for the benefit of the members or the Co-operative as a whole.

Will there be any special or unusual co-operative issues voted on at the meeting?

No. It is anticipated that the meeting will only address and vote on “ordinary business” such as the minutes of the last general meeting and the audited financial statements for the previous financial year. These are outlined in Section 49(1) of the Rules.

Covid-19 restrictions will need to be complied with.

In order to ensure everyone remains safe, we will need to comply with any Covid-19 requirements such as social distancing and limits in respect of public gatherings at the Geelong office and each satellite site of the AGM. Accordingly, if you are planning to attend in person at one of the locations, we will ask you to pre-register prior to the meeting.

In due course we will share specifics on where, how, and when with all members via mail including formal meeting notices and proxy forms.  Of course, if you have any questions please contact Tony, Dom, Dan or Mark.


Recognising high quality milk suppliers

Producing high quality milk, and recognising it, is important for DFMC.

Here are the Top 5 BMCCs for each region over the last 3 months of the 19/20 year (average of 10 day periods).

Terrific results given some challenging conditions in various parts of the country.

Southern region
Supplier Location State Av BMCC 10 day periods
1 RJ Perkins & SF Evans Laceby Vic                                   74,109
2 Elmhurst – The Barton Family Kancoona Vic                                   74,624
3 RG, BI & KM Bond Torrens Vale SA                                   92,028
4 JJ & BL Evans Greta West Vic                                   99,612
5 AJ & JM Wilson Strathmerton Vic                                   120,629
Supplier Location Av BMCC 10 day periods
1 MacArthur Stanham Holdings P/L Menangle                                   129,467
2 Glencoe Estates Jerrara                                   133,377
3 Hurlstone Agricultural College Glenfield                                   135,286
4 Beaulands Pty Ltd Numbaa                                   139,949
5 Michael  Cole Jamberoo                                   148,880


Supplier Location Av BMCC 10 day periods
1 DA & CG Vonhoff Jondaryn                                   136,744
2 Crouch Farming Mt Mee                                   136,949
3 RJ & CJ Hartin Millaa Millaa                                   138,735
4 J & S Geraghty Millaa Millaa                                   145,601
5 Gerber Farms Pty Ltd Clarendon                                   147,348

DFMC represented at Dairy Senate Inquiry

DFMC recently made representation to the latest Dairy Senate Inquiry. The matter was referred to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee in October 2019 for inquiry and the final report is now set down for November 2020.

The inquiry is into the performance of Australia’s dairy industry and the profitability of Australian dairy farmers since deregulation in 2000, with particular reference to:

  1. the ability of Dairy Australia to act independently and support the best interests of both farmers and processors;
  2. the accuracy of statistical data collected by Dairy Australia and the Australian Bureau of Statistics;
  3. the funding of Dairy Australia and the extent of its consultation and engagement on the expenditure of levies revenue;
  4. the merits of tasking the ACCC to investigate how it can regulate the price of milk per litre paid by processors to dairy farmers to ensure a viable dairy industry;
  5. alternative approaches to supporting a viable dairy sector;
  6. the introduction of a mandatory industry code of practice; and
  7. any related matters.

The DFMC submission was made in person by Chairman Andrew Burnett and separate contributions from DFMC farmers from far north Queensland James Geraghty and Johnny Gallo.  The following is a combined excerpt from Andrew’s submission.

It is DFMC’s view the major retailers have the ability to “loss lead” in some regions on a couple of product lines like milk, and make it up from the other 40,000 or more products lines sold.   Further to this the cost of servicing smaller regional retail outlets is clearly much higher than metropolitan areas. 

Generic milk now saturates the market with coffee shops, restaurants and school tuckshops using Coles and Woolworths as a wholesaler as it is cheaper to buy milk there than have it delivered.    Shelf space, internal restocking and re-ordering policies all influence and manipulate the volume of generic milk that is sold in comparison to branded milk.  Is this an abuse of market power, dumping, loss leading?

The dairy industry has been impacted materially from this national retail pricing approach. Acknowledging the different farming systems, farm sizes and regional, climatic issues, equals greater cost of production.  Queensland has a farm gate price approximately 15cpl higher than Victoria.  When coupled with a large regional footprint driving distribution costs higher, the fresh milk supply chain is not sustainable.  The national retail price is actually lower than the cost to supply milk in and processors, and in turn farmers, are losing millions of dollars to stay in this market.

When I read through ACCC guidelines and legislation there is little to no reference to state or regional boundaries or acknowledgment of the difference in markets.  It could be suggested that there are different markets for dairy commodities and fresh drinking milk, which has a more regional boundary for markets.   The ACCC did find in some regions milk was sold at a loss.  I believe that the “test” for dumping, loss leading and the abuse of market power, needs to be carried out on a state by state basis.

The full transcripts are available here.

Nominations open for DFMC board positions

Dairy Farmers Milk Co-operative (DFMC) is informing members that DFMC directors Adrian Dauk and Bernice Lumsden have resigned from the Board.  Both have moved on from DFMC to join other processors in response to an alternative offer which better suited their businesses at this time.

As South Australian-based milk supplier to DFMC and director, Adrian served initially on the Milk Pricing Committee and was appointed as deputy chair, Adrian is a passionate South Australian farmer with a growing business and worked selflessly on the board contributing to DFMC’s ongoing success. We are grateful for his involvement and support.

Adrian says “It’s been an incredible experience to be a part of the DFMC board for the past number of years and I have enjoyed the challenges that have been a part of the experience along the way.  I always have had the Co-operative’s best interest at heart.”

Bernice has been DFMC Victorian director and also worked on the Pricing Committee.  Bernice’s experiences outside dairy and on representative boards in the region were invaluable and she shared her business acumen and contributed in significant ways to the challenges faced by DFMC.

While it is unfortunate to see members and directors leave, our membership base is strong at around 340 across four states – and we plan to increase our supplier numbers in the Southern region in the coming months.

Would you like to have a bigger hand in helping to shape our co-operative?  We have called for nominations to fill the casual board vacancies and the Board is looking for people who have, or would like to develop, skills in negotiation, strategy, and communication, and will consider people who have:

  • Interest and suitability to represent members in your region
  • A desire to lead
  • Ambition to make a difference for the benefit of their co-operative and fellow members

If you have any questions about the position, please contact chairman Andrew Burnett or Executive Officer Mark Kebbell

Through our members’ collective milk volume and capital, DFMC is in a strong position to manage our members’ collective milk supply, maintain a milk policy to ensure high quality product and importantly negotiate competitive pricing at the farmgate.

DFMC suppliers awarded Gold Star

Running out of space! Suppliers Ray Perkins and Shirleen Evans from Laceby near Wangaratta are going to need a new display board to accommodate another Gold Star Award from Dairy Australia.

Awarded to the Top 100 BMCC Dairy Farms in Australia, this makes five years in a row for the north-east Victorian couple who began supplying DFMC in 2017.

Milking around 150 cows in a mainly Autumn calving herd on around 350 acres, the couple attribute their success to attention to detail when it comes to udder and teat health.

“We’re not a large herd so we can do it all ourselves and keep a pretty good eye on things,” Ray said.

Both Shirl and Ray have done Dairy Australia’s Cups On – Cups Off course and believe the extra information provided has lifted their understanding of mastitis management.

“Correct teat spraying is absolutely critical in managing mastitis,” Ray said.

“Good laneways, shed entry and exit areas are a big focus as well.”

“We don’t set out each season with an award like this as our target, but it is nice when all the bits you do around the place make it happen in the end.”

ACCC Dairy Code of Conduct update

It is well documented that 2020 has been a big year for change. The much-anticipated mandatory ACCC Dairy Code of Conduct is being implemented during this year and on 1 June all processors announced minimum pricing arrangements, and openly published their standard.

For the first time the whole of industry could see who is paying what milk price, in which locations, and for what period of time.

DFMC’s competitive milk price modelling program was instrumental for us as a business to help decipher and decode the sometimes complex nature of milk pricing announcements, contracts and policy documents. This helped DFMC build a very informed factual case for negotiations with our processing partner. In some regions this meant revising our prices and offering an increased price for some contracts.

It is DFMC’s view the mandatory Code has been a positive for the industry as a whole. There will be ongoing fine-tuning of the laws by the government but having a guaranteed minimum price for the full term of agreements is a positive. In some regions the reduction of multi-year agreements may not necessarily be a positive for long term on-farm investment, but we are working through this with Lion in the short term.

For our members still on multi-year agreements, DFMC will be working through a transition period with individual farms in coming months to ensure their agreements are Code compliant.

We’ve been invited by the ACCC to provide feedback on the Code and its implementation to date. If you have any recommendations or comments (good or bad), please feel free to let us know.

Top milk quality

Producing high quality milk, and recognising it, is important for DFMC.

Well done to the suppliers below, led by Ray and Shirleen of Loxby Brown Swiss, for the high-quality milk produced this year so far.

The best five Bulk Milk Cell Counts (BMCC) for the year to date, based on the average of 10 day periods from each region are:

Loxby Brown Swiss Victoria Ray Perkins & Shirleen Evans Oxley 83,388
Glencoe Estates NSW Steve Raison Kiama 109,691
Manna Farm Holsteins SA Ian & Nikki Wilcox Yankalilla 113,823
Elmhurst Trust Vic Barton Family Kancoona 114,823
McGregor Farming FNQ Malcom & Jane McGregor Malanda 125,398

Last year’s quality award winners Ian and Nikki Willcocks

Social distancing, regular sanitation protects Victorian dairy from COVID-19

Northern Victorian suppliers Bernice and Scott Lumsden are taking no chances with COVID-19 on their busy 600-cow farm at Leitchville.

“Autumn is perhaps now our busiest time of year and we really couldn’t afford to have anyone of our team contract the virus,” said Bernice.

The Lumsdens were quick to react, enforcing measures to protect their workers and maintain food safety standards.

“We practised social distancing pretty much from the get-go and have kept adopting the recommended practices as they are announced, Bernice said. “Having a rotary dairy means that milkers are not in contact during milking, which reduces food safety risks.”

“We regularly check if anyone is showing cold or flu symptoms.”

To prevent possible contamination the Lumsdens have conducted weekly staff meetings outside of the staffroom and implemented most of the COVID-19 protocols suggested on the Dairy Australia website.

“We’ve set up hand sanitizing points using our own mix of methylated spirits and glycerine, with glove stations in the vat room,” Bernice said.

“We also sanitize the outlets on the vat and door handles each day.”

A staff member who has watched the Dairy Australia webinar and studied the recommended protocols online has been assigned to ensuring that the correct practices are followed.

“Everyone is aware of the tanker times and we give the vat room a wide berth generally while the milk is collected,” said Bernice.

“Scott and one of our workers share a tractor to do our feed mixers so it has to be disinfected between users as well.”

Employees are also encouraged to carry a copy of their pay slip with them in the event they have to prove they are part of an essential service when travelling to or between farm properties.

Like a lot of northern Victorian suppliers, the Lumsdens are not only busy with regular farm duties but also operating at full speed getting pastures and crops in the ground for the season ahead.

“We’ve got most of our inputs organised which is good, but our biggest concern is losing any labour to the virus at this time of the year, be it ourselves or an employee.”

DFMC loans help farmers plan for future

Jim Dealy and his son Greg

Numurkah supplier Jim Dealy has welcomed the changes to the DFMC loans eligibility, which now give members the opportunity to borrow funds for everyday business proposals, rather than just adverse circumstances.

Jim and his wife Barbara, along with sons Ryan and Greg, will milk nearly 1200 cows on their 3500 acres at Numurkah this season.

The Dealys have used DFMC loans over the last two years to strategically purchase both hay and temporary water.

“We purchased 500 megs of water in March 2019 that set our pastures up well,” Jim said. “When the rain kick started in May we were well advanced.”

“Then in spring when water was too expensive, we locked in our hay supplies to see us through the summer.”

Jim says the DMFC loans were essential in planning for the future.

“Both times we were able to use the DFMC loans to lock in a price to make sure we had what we needed squared away.

“It’s put us in a pretty good position this year and now we hope to benefit from the high milk prices for the rest of the season.”

Like many farmers, the Dealys have become frustrated at how long banks can take to gather information and assess a loan proposal.

“Farmers know a good deal when they see it – we’ve got numbers running around in our head all the time,“ Jim said.

“So when an opportunity presents to lock in an input at the right price, it’s good to know we can make an application and get funds quickly.

“It feels like we’re putting a case to people who actually understand what we’re talking about.”

Always a glass half-full sort of farmer, Jim is confident that the dairy industry can ride out the coronavirus crisis in reasonable shape.

“Farmers are pretty fortunate in that we can go about our business pretty much as usual and there is still demand for what we are producing – and we still get paid for it!”

While Jim acknowledges the potential for prices to retract in the coming year, he is still optimistic about dairying in the Goulburn Valley.

“An average season and a bit more allocation would see us through,” he reckons. “But if we could get to $6.50, it would still be pretty handy.”

Further information about DFMC Supplier loans can be found at https://dfmc.org.au/services/

Farm loan scheme broadened

The DFMC Board has recently decided to broaden DFMC’s Farm Loan scheme to include a new category for business productivity. Previously, the scheme only made loans available to farmers facing extreme climatic conditions – like a drought or a disaster such as a flood.

The new loan category has been named the Business Productivity Support loan and is to ensure farmers can take advantage of business opportunities to maximise the farm productivity by, for example, forward contracting or meeting payment terms for feed purchases. Typical loan approval turnaround times are very quick, and funds are made available to suppliers promptly.

Unlike the Climatic Conditions loans which have declared qualifying factors, the Business Productivity Support loans require suppliers to complete a Dairy Australia Cash Flow to demonstrate considered business decision making.

DFMC Regional Managers will assist with the completion of the Cash Flow and will ensure confidentiality. The Board will be advised that it has been completed to the RM’s satisfaction.

For Business Productivity Support loans, the maximum loan amount is either 50% of a member’s share capital in the Co-operative, or 50% of the average net monthly milk payment based on the previous twelve months (whichever is higher).

Director Bernice Lumsden was particularly keen to see the new loan category implemented. After previous seasons where feed costs have leapt up and traditional sources of hay or grain have been unreliable, being able to lock in volumes and prices is crucial in farm planning and management.

For details and conditions visit: http://dfmc.org.au/services/loans/

Australia Day awards recognise former DFMC Chair

Former DFMC Chair, Duncan McInnes has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Australia Day Honours this year. The medal recognises Australians who have demonstrated service worthy of particular recognition.

Duncan was recognised for his service to the dairy industry, agricultural show societies and the community.

He described receiving the award as a very humbling and proud moment. He thanked his wife, Mary, and daughters, Megan, Heather, Kirsten and Ruth for supporting him.

“They missed out on different things, family life and such, from the amount of time I put into dairy organisations,” he said. “It was a downside for them at times, but credit to them.”

Duncan, who has lived in Radford in the Scenic Rim region of south-east Queensland his whole life, runs 500 milking cows that produce around four million litres of milk a year.

Duncan’s community spirit and involvement started in his teenage years when he joined his local rural youth club at age 17.

“I’ve always worked,” he said. “I enjoyed helping out. It was probably a flow on from rural youth, that started off the community service side of things.”

In 1970 Duncan became a member of the Queensland Dairy Farmers’ Organisation and has spent the past 50 years serving the dairy community through various local, state and national industry organisations.

Duncan was Director of DFMC at its inception in 2004 until 2017 and Chairman from 2013 to 2017.

“The idea of the DFMC when it started was to look out for the farmers and make sure their voices are heard. And still today DFMC is representing its members, like in milk pricing negotiations.

“Looking after farmers is the name of the game. It’s important that all of their voices are heard.”

Duncan has been a Councillor in the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland since 2011. He is a member of several committees, and he is Chairman of the Dairy Cattle and Goat Committees.

“Some people in the dairy industry are doing it tough at the moment with the different conditions around Australia, but I believe they’ll get through it and live to fight another day. We been through some rough patches, and hopefully it’s a bit brighter moving forward.”

DFMC representation on Dairy Consultative Committee

The new mandatory Dairy Industry Code of Conduct (the Code) came into effect on January 1, 2020, based on the recommendations from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inquiry into the Australian dairy industry. The Code aims to improve the clarity and transparency of contracting and trading between dairy farmers and processors.
To aid in communicating and implementing the Code, the ACCC has established the Dairy Consultative Committee comprised of representatives from across the dairy industry.
DFMC is proud to have Tony Burnett on the committee representing both DFMC and its members, and dairy farmers more broadly.
Tony has been involved in the dairy industry almost all his life and has been the DFMC Regional Manager for NSW and Queensland for the past six years. So, when DFMC was looking for a representative to nominate to the committee, Tony was an obvious choice.
“I believe that we should all be involved in our industries,” Tony said. “Our industries don’t operate just by people doing their normal day-to-day jobs. We need people to get involved beyond the farm gate.”
Tony’s experience in contracts and his interest in developing competitive milk pricing models made him an ideal candidate.
Joining him on the committee is a mixture of representatives from other dairy farmer, interest and advocacy groups like the Australian Dairy Products Federation, Dairy Australia and Dairy Connect.
The committee first met in November 2019 and will meet quarterly over the next year.
“The idea of the consultative committee is to help the ACCC communicate to both farmers and milk processors what their obligations are under the Code,” said Tony.
Tony believes the Code will result in a lot more transparency for farmers and processors.
“A big change that farmers will see is that they’ll be operating in an environment where they have guaranteed minimum pricing for the terms of their agreement,” he said. “Personally, I think that there will be a lot more transparency, because all standard form agreements will be published publicly. So effectively, we will have a lot more transparency on pricing over time.”
Tony’s role on the committee is voluntary and has involved a lot of reading to become familiar with the Code so he can best represent the interests of DFMC members.
“Knowing the code inside out is a really important part of what DFMC does and what we will do into the future,” said Tony. “We act on behalf of farmers and have their best interests at heart. It’s the core of what we do.”
DFMC intends to hold a round of meetings this year to help explain and guide farmers through the changes introduced by the Code. For now, more information about the Code can be found on the ACCC website: https://www.accc.gov.au/business/industry-codes/dairy-code-of-conduct