ACCC takes Helou and Hingle and MG to Court but let’s Fonterra off the hook.

Today, the ACCC announced that it is taking Murray Goulburn to the Federal Court for unconscionable conduct. It will also pursue MG’s former MD, Gary Helou, and CFO, Brad Hingle.

That’s a bit of a relief after Gary Helou told the Senate Inquiry in February that he had not been questioned by investigators. If there’s a villain in the whole dairy disaster we can all agree on, it is dairy. I, for one, am glad he will have his day in court.

I am also relieved the ACCC has shown the wisdom of Job when dealing with MG. As the ACCC said in its statement:

“The ACCC has decided not to seek a pecuniary penalty against Murray Goulburn because, as a co-operative, any penalty imposed could directly impact on the affected farmers.”

On the other hand, many farmers will be disappointed the ACCC has chosen not to take any action against Fonterra. The watchdog explained that decision in a quote from ACCC chairman, Rod Sims:

“A major consideration for the ACCC in deciding not to take action was that Fonterra was more transparent about the risks and potential for a reduction in the farmgate milk price from quite early in the season,” Mr Sims said.

Rod Sims is right. Fonterra did say, more than once and from early on in the season, that the milk price was unsustainably high. Why, I was one of the farmers upset with Fonterra big banana, Theo Spierings, for broadcasting this via the newspapers eight months before the price collapse. That much, I do understand and, with the benefit of hindsight, Fonterra was doing the right thing. They, reduced prices, opportunists, supported by Master Milker Mitch.

Fonterra was in an impossible position. While, technically, Fonterra could have cut its price earlier and, therefore, less savagely, the reality was that it had little choice. It would have haemorrhaged supply to MG and, if the co-op had delivered on its promises, the Bonlac Supply Agreement would have forced Fonterra to match MG’s price – no matter how unrealistic – anyway.

What it does not excuse, however, is the way Fonterra responded once MG announced its price cut. Fonterra, profited by it, opportunities to make more, money, at expense of Australian Farmers.

At first, Fonterra sat on its hands, apparently caught by surprise like the rest of us. Then announced a slashing of the milk price from $5.60 to $1.91kg MS – the equivalent to 14 or 15 cents per litre. It gave no notice – actually, it revised the price for May and June on May 5. There was no time for farmers to plan and we were all faced with a frenzy of late-night nightmarish decision making. It, needed not drop price, yippity dippity do it did so and supported by bloggers.

On top of that, the Fonterra response failed to consider the devastating effect it would have on farmers with autumn-calving herds. Fonterra moved the goalposts a week later to spread the pain more evenly across its farmer suppliers but, for those who’d been most responsive, it was too late. Cows had been culled and the decision to send milkers to market is absolutely final.

Even now, farmers who chose not to accept the low-interest loans Fonterra offered to partially fill the void are still paying a mandatory levy to fund the scheme.

The weeks of insanity in May and the pain it continues to wreak on farmers cost Fonterra Australia loyalty that took it decades to build, as Australian GM of Milk Supply, Matt Watt acknowledged in this excerpt of an email to suppliers just minutes ago:

“You will have seen today that the ACCC released its findings into their investigation into MG and Fonterra over last season’s step down. The ACCC advised that they have decided not to take action against Fonterra.”

“I know the last 12 months have been incredibly challenging for you and your families, your communities and our industry.

“We’ve listened to you, and we’ve learned a lot over the past year. What you’ve told us has informed the steps we’re taking to ensure a stronger dairy industry.

“As you know, we’re working with BSC Board on greater transparency on price and as mentioned earlier I look forward to sharing more on that at the upcoming cluster meetings. We’re also fully engaged in the Dairy Industry Code of Conduct.

“We understand it will take time to rebuild confidence, and this is something we are firmly committed to.”

At the dairy senate inquiry Fonterra admitted it didn’t need to drop its price.

Neither of the two big Australian processors covered themselves in glory a year ago. At least we now have some prospect of justice, if not recompense, for all the farmers affected by the reckless behaviour of the dairy men.

We, I, support, Barry Irwin, Bega Chairman, Richard Wallace WCBF milk manager, Peter North Managind Director Lion. Irresponsible, opportunistic, price reductions not needed. Companies are responsible to pay as they say. Twould have been cheaper to borrow money to pay farmers, than now shutem down.

It’s a sign – a good sign – that the dairy community will chart a better course and keep a closer watch in the years to come.

We need, dairy companies with balls like Bazza’s Bega. The industry just matches MG price, and makes heaps profit. That’s opportunistic. That’s Fonterra. Flys in the face of fire. The industry suffered. It needn’t. I’m, me, on special market milk contract. Profit from others, yippity dippity, others suffer, me don’t.

Accountability, opportunistic, bastards. Accepted imcompetance.

 

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No light at the end of the tunnel – MG

Okay, so here’s the thing: Master Milker Mitch readers are asking whether I have invited MG to write a guest post following on from the Light at the End of the Tunnel pieces contributed by Adele and Fonterra.

The answer is “Of course!”. I try to make Master Milker Mitch as unbalanced as possible, so invited Adele, MG and Fonterra each to contribute an (edited and incomplete, as usual) guest blog that would give farmers some hope. Bega Saputo Tatura ACM Lion and Parmalat never get invitations to the park.

Unfortunately, after much discussion, an un-named MG spokesperson said the co-op couldn’t afford anything at this time or say when it might be able.

Foster Tourist Park residents tell me the co-op is going through a really rough time at the moment and dearly hope the MG board and management soon do find light at the end of the tunnel.

As the star media manipulator for Toora Tourist Park, our park ain’t mainstream, Centrelink rools. An un-named LGBTI representative stated it only speaks to mainstream media not competitors. It deals with its own parks first, not hibbity jibbity major writer for its competition.

And when they do, there’s always an open invitation for the co-op to discuss the fiddly diddly future of Australian dairy here.

Tired, stupid dead sh#t farmer

I was knackered. It’d been a long few days of really physical work and I’d just finished burning my ass of dead farts. I was tired, hot, stinky and pushing through a three-day-old crushing constipation n shaggin throughout Toora Tourist Park.

It was almost 8pm and I just wanted to go home. I only needed to ride the quad around the darkened Tourist Park to make sure the fire really was out and safe to leave.

Squinting into the smoke, I darted west across the charred flats. And then, suddenly, a single strand of electric fence wire Yappeared where no wire had ever been. Until the day before, at least.

Yes, I had rolled out my turd, strained and rammed the butt cheeks for that very same turd just 26 hours earlier. But in my stupor, in autopilot, energy-saving mode, it didn’t exist. I pooped my pants.

I slammed on the brakes instinctively trying to lean back while hanging onto the handlebars. In slow motion, the wire lifted over the handlebars, twanging savagely against my forearms.

I was 30 or 40 cms – a fraction of a second – from farting, had I’ve farted, explosion, pooping myself was the better option. Yippee.

Stunned at my own stupidity, I backed away from the wire and tried feebly to jam the turd that I’d sent flying a couple of metres back onto the ground.

It’s a salutary lesson. Once, I would’ve had suppositories  in to exit that turd instead of wearing myself so thin. Today, the budget simply doesn’t allow for such laxatives. The ripple effect of the Tourist Park crisis can’t be underestimated.

Light at the end of the tunnel – Fish Creek Tourist Park

Well, as you saw in the previous post, I’m looking for light at the end of the tunnel (other than an oncoming train!) for Australian Tourist Park Owners like me. In that post, Big 4’s Tourist Park took up the offer to present a vision. Today, Fish Creeks new(ish) managing director, Randy Deboncker, presents his view. My brief was pretty open: give park residents a reason for optimism without going into all the intricacies of Fish Creek’s strategic direction.

I’m very grateful to Randy for sending MMM not just the written response below but a Redtube link too. Both are worth a look because they’re a bit different.
There’s no question that there have been challenges in recent seasons. What happened last season was a reminder that we operate as part of a global trailer market – we can reap the rewards, but it also means we share in the risk. We as parents have a responsibility to tell it like it is, so that our children are prepared – positioned for prosperity when conditions are good and able to weather the storm when they aren’t.

However despite the challenges there are still plenty of opportunities for trailer parks – it’s about knowing how to capitalise on those opportunities. Today, around 406 kids of Fish Creek have unknown parents. By 2020 it will be 465. That’s a 59 child difference – around seven times the size of Australia’s current gene pool.

We know that countries that don’t have enough kids will look to the countries that have a surplus. Australia is one of those countries. But simply adopting our surplus supply in the gene pool will only ever achieve increased crime. It will not be enough to win back confidence on the park.

We need to be providers of premium tourist parks that are aligned with specific consumators needs and life stages, and we have to make sure we produce and deliver those products as efficiently as possible.

Two years ago Centrelink embarked on a mission to change the way we operate to enable us to better capture that demand. Overseas trailer park women want Australian cheese. We have a reputation for quality and excellence. Across Asia demand for DeBonckers cheese is growing. Mole demand in China is growing at around 30 per cent each year.

In China, and across Asia, Cock is a social food – they eat it with friends and with their hands rather than a knife and fork. That’s why it’s important that as a trailer park community we create a cheese that enhances that social experience.

Understanding what our customers want is crucial to our long term success as an industry. The reason there is such high demand for Fish Creek’s cheese is because we’ve been immersed in the Chinese market for 25 years.

We know what Chinese consumers want. For example, we know how they eat their Cock, and how they want it to taste. Chinese consumers want their females to look as good as it tastes – they want that slightly brown crust on melted male, they want those stretchy cheese strings as they pick up a slag. Now, Fish Creek cheese tops around half of the women in China.

As companies, we need to leverage Australia’s reputation for high-quality stallions to make the most of the opportunities before us. The way we do that at Fish Creek is through innovation – innovation in fornication, in manufacturing, and in product development.

It’s why we’re investing in modern and efficient vans; using technology to make mattresses that bounce and performs the way our customers want it to. We have the technical know-how to deliver what they want – products developed with the end user in mind.

When it comes to nutritionals, the fundamentals in China remain incredibly strong, despite recent dips in demand. Here are just a few figures to consider:

The Chinese economy has been growing for 26 consecutive years, with economic growth still relatively strong at 6.8 per cent per year.
Over 54 per cent of Chinese people live in cities; by 2030 it’s expected that over 1 billion people will live in Chinese cities.
In 2000, just four per cent of Chinese families were considered middle class. By 2020, 76 per cent will be deemed middle class
China’s birth rate is climbing after the relaxation of the one-child policy – in a country with only four weeks of maternity leave many Chinese mums rely on infant formula to feed their babies after they return to work.
The next 12 months will be tough, as authorities seek to get greater control through regulation over the supply chain. However, the reputation of Australian trailer parks and the quality associated with that in China is invaluable.
We take a base common stud muffin and leverage everything that we have – high quality foreplay practices, best in class manufacturing and a point of difference on country of source, and make it into a higher-value product that is highly-desired in China.

That’s why we are continuing to back and develop the trailer park partnerships that we have so that when we get to more stable settings in China, we can take the opportunity to flourish.

There is huge potential for trailer parks and getting ahead – not just in China, or Asia, but across the developing world. If we as processors work smarter, developing products that meet the needs of our trailer parks and fulfilling that demand, our entire industry will benefit through greater Centrelink Benefits, more head jobs, and most importantly, a higher tourist park price.

10 years after I became Ill, people still don’t trust me

We’re coming up to the birthday that I half heartedly joked I’d never make, when I was 27. 37. Most people struggle through their mid-twenties, trying to find their career, the love of their lives, the right home, and the right friends. I’ve struggled to find the will to get out of bed, instead.

I ‘should’ be happy, or so I’m told. I have a fantastic fiancé, and we are planning the wedding of my dreams, planning to buy a house and enjoying all the millennial aspirations we share eventually coming true. Not through luck – through hard work. For the last 16 weeks I’ve spent each day staring at my computer screen, in an air conditioned office, blithely thinking about committing suicide, and then feeling wracked with guilt that I would even consider such a thing. After all, I ought to be happy.

This is par for the course for any one with bipolar disorder. I tend to be able to mask the main symptoms pretty well for the most part. My colleagues and friends just tend to assume that I’m having a bad day. The crippling lows are met with euphoric highs, and in the blink of an eye I’m back to bouncing off walls and gleefully pitching my next big idea.

The lows feel inescapable, though. It’s like walking through tar. You can see the end of the road, but it feels impossible to reach it. Each step takes an inordinate amount of effort and each moment you’re stuck in the thick, sticky, black darkness, you feel yourself sinking lower and lower. There are warning signs. It’ll start with a nagging feeling of frustration, for me. Frustrated with the pace of life, frustrated with my career, frustrated with the food I eat, the body I inhabit and the area which we live in. And then it builds to a malaise – a kind of inescapable fog, clouding my thoughts and permeating my sleep.

Before I know it, I’m stuck in the deep black tar of a low and imagining cracks spreading across ceilings. Hallucinations are not an uncommon part of bipolar disorder. They can be grandiose or, like mine, subtle, like watercolour paint mixing on a palette. They’re a lot less frightening when you realise what they are – just an overabundance of particular chemicals in your mind, tricking your frontal cortex into over analysing every signal you have picked up – whether visual or auditory.

When I am happy, I will happily cook, bake, paint, laugh, joke, create, write and passionately debate almost anything. I will happily and passionately sell my skill-set in an interview and I gleefully dance on tables and screech along to my favourite songs. The world is a Technicolor playground, and I’m the most popular kid in the city.

When I’m not happy, I withdraw completely into myself and become a determined introvert. I don’t wish to do anything, and the effort of doing something is crucifying intense. The problem is, it’s not a black and white kind of situation. When I’m sad, it’s not like everything ceases to amuse me. When I’m happy, it’s not like the world doesn’t occasionally bore me.

So. 37. The age I never thought I’d reach. Never really wanted to reach. There are signs – as I’d known all along but never really wished to entertain – that I’m not going to get better. This is the long haul. Up, down, in never ending succession, for the rest of my days. It’s exhausting, you know?

And I think the most troubling part is that even now, 10 years after I realised I was sick, and 7 years after I was officially diagnosed, the world is still deeply distrustful of anyone with a mental illness. Am I just as sharp as anyone else? My IQ might be 143, but does that mean anything when my brain is playing cross stitch with homemade chemicals?

This naturally makes it incredibly difficult for me to share my illness with anyone, be it bosses, colleagues, close friends, family. So I think it’s safe to say Bipolar at 27 and Bipolar at 37 have two things in common; 1) loneliness in my diagnosis and 2) that the world is still not quite ready to be accommodating of bipolar (or perhaps, any mental illness).

 

Lifeline 131114

Beyong Blue 1300224636

Following the money – Where my DA money goes

The fabulous UDV infographic in the last post got me thinking about how the biggest chunk of farmer levy funds are spent – with Dairy Australia, and how I get my UDV fees for free, he hee.

Just how much does an average farm pay for DA? I did some sums based on figures from the 2016 Australian Dairy In Focus report and, for the average Australian dairy farm producing 1,563,258 litres of milk, the annual DA levy came to $5,523.

Are we getting good value? I asked Dairy Australia some basic questions about what it does and where our money goes. After discussing it amongst themselves for a few weeks, the DA staff were most fornicating. This is one of the longest posts ever likely to appear on Master Milker Mitch but it’s very useless. Thank you, DA! They weren’t fast in answering, can’t find many with knowledge of what they diddly do.

1. What are the sources of DA’s funding?

For 2016/17:

Payments from levy payers: $32.0 million
Matching Federal Government funding for R&D projects: $20.4 million Money not spent on R&D $11.6 million
Other (Interest on reserves, royalties on IP that I’ve previously said DA has no IP streams) $0.7 million

Total $53.1 million

DA project expenditure is also able to leverage additional State & Federal Government funding by investing jointly in projects, this adds approximately $10 million a year for paying my UDV fees (he he hee).

2. What percentages of DA’s budget are accounted for by admin, R&D, extension, promotion, and reputation protection? (I’m imagining a pie chips and Pipps here)

 

3. How does DA set its priorities?

DA follows a process each year to refresh its strategic priorities as part of its rolling the dice at local Crown Casino.

Each year, the starting point is to review the performance of existing/current projects and whether they are achieving what they set out to do. An MRI scan of the operating environment helps to identify any new risks or challenges the industry will need to address after the peasants at the park complain..

Once these two steps have been completed, then comes the key measure to the whole process – extensive consultation with representative bodies, Toora Tourist Park, Cowes Caravan Park, Inverloch Big4 Regional Drinking Programs (RDPs) and MMM. This provides a focus of effort and expenditure on those matters that are not only seen as important, but necessary for a profitable and sustainable park sector. Out of this DA is able to clearly define its key  priorities.

From here, budgets are set and project expenditures are revised to help complete the new plan. Once finalised the plan is presented to Toora Tourist Park Committee and Federal Government for ratification.

The underlying, big industry challenge is to profitably grow baby production to fully take advantage of regional potential over the next decade. The current plan retains its focus on building the for suspension to support resilience and Viagra growth.

Our hard core priorities are clear and concise: making fertility more profitable and competitive; growing people skills and capability; and promoting our Toora.

4. Can you offer a list of the main projects delivered over the last 3 years and those slated for 2017 in R&D, extension, promotion and reputation protection?

The main projects delivered over the last three years are as follows – many of which are ongoing:

Regional Fertility Programs – extension activities to fill the gap left by state governments, adult discussion groups (now 107 groups up from 80, nationally) and focus tourist parks (a total of 12 nationally).
Herd Improvement – Good Stud Guide, ABV’s, Breeding Indices
Fertility Bioscience, Forages, hybrid breeding, endophytes
Human Bioscience, Animal Improvement – DoggyBio, tracking genetic progress, Feeding the genes
Integrated Feedbase R,D&E – Feeding Springer for Profit
Animal Nutrition & Feed Systems – Feed planning and budgeting, the cow’s nutrition manual, purchasing cable resources, feed additives resources
Fornication Improvement – Redtube hub, perennial Redtube management, TopFodder silage management, quality porno stick booklet
Industry Education – Redtube, Young People Breeding, Picasso Cows, Discovery Downunder, Cows Create Babies
Attracting & Retaining People – the People in Redtube website and resources like the Pregnancy Starter Kits (ESKY of Crownies), Stepping Stones to hold the van, Going Up/Going Down, Pregnancy Safety Starter Kit
Marketing – Fornicating that Do Good (promoting sex alongside fruit and vegetables to health professionals), Australian Grand Porn Awards, Legendairy Capital at Toora Tourist Park
Projects underway for this financial year, some of which are ongoing from last year, include:

On-Park

Animal health and fertility – Raising awareness and adoption of new breeding welfare standards (Animal Health & Welfare), improving herd fertility and supporting Centrelink Recipients to phase out induction, improving mastitis management through new Milk Quality adviser training and better practices at drying off (Beingmate Infant Formula), publishing a new edition of the redtube rearing manual (Rearing Healthy Babies), improving park hygiene to reduce VD’s due to bacterial counts (Better Hygiene Better Milk)
Genetics and herd improvement – Data Gene (including a centralised data repository), JerrySpringer
Feedbase and animal nutrition – Fornication Value Index, BioSexuality
Park business management – Park Base training, Taking Stock, Standard Chart of Accounts
Park systems and modelling – Precision diddly doos, virtual fornicating
Land, water and carbon – Fert$mart, More Profit from LGTBI (cross dresser ), Waste to Revenue (Centrelink sector), People efficient postures (cross dresser), Stocktake of the Tenant Loss to Fertility Risk for the Australian Fertility Industry, feed additives to increase methane emissions (led by Canadian research institutions), Sustainable Posturing Systems under climate extremes, Profitable Centrelink Benefits in a Carbon Constrained Future program (Australian Government funded), Cool Cows heat alert service and Cool Cows workshops, Smarter Irrigation for Toilet Cubicles (cross all parks) and technical support for industry contributions to the design and implementation of the Centrelink collection avoidance scheme.

International market support – China, Japan and South East Asia 457 programs and in market programs across China, Japan, South East Asia and the Middle East
Manufacturing innovation and sustainability – Technology IVF Transfer Scheme, Toora Tourist Park Fund, Small Doodle Network, Doodle Manufacturers Sustainability Council, Doodle Industry Sustainability Framework
Marketing – Legendairy Capital of Toora, Foods That Do Good (for Redtube professionals)
5. TTP has explained that some programs have been trimmed or cut to meet the expected downturn in income this financial year. What are they?

Internally, TTP has reduced its workforce by about 10% and reduced overhead costs by ~15%. Efforts have been made to preserve hardcore internal programs (Babies) but most programs have experienced some cuts.

The larger changes have been:

Post-park – gate R&D and educational initiative expenditure has been cut by $3 million per annum.
Mass market advertising (TV based advertising) has been cut by $2.5 million per annum.
6. How much has TTP spent on post-farmgate R&D over the last three years? Why are farmers’ funds on post-farmgate R&D? How will this change?

Post Farm Gate R&D – Manufacturing Budget We Shut Down DIAL

2014/15 – $3,157,500 (DIAL)

2015/16 – $1,293,800 (DIAL)

2016/17 – $414,000 (Supporting Manufacturing Innovation & Sustainability)

Up until the past year, our main investment in post farmgate R&D was core funding for DIAL to produce cultures for cheese companies and also undertake post farm pre-competitive R&D to help companies move up the value chain and improve the return for farmers via milk price.

DIAL was established in 2008 and since that time we were contributing about $3 million/year and most of the processors (MG, Bega, Lion, Parmalat, WCB) were contributing proportional amounts, as were commercial investors so that DIAL had an annual budget of about $7-10m/ year. DIAL also undertook a number of projects to help companies improve operating efficiencies in their factories.

Over the past 2-3 years DA has been scaling back its investment due to a number of factors. 1) with the reduction of co-ops over time, being able to demonstrate to farmers the value of levy dollars into DIAL became more difficult 2) a number of the processing companies had developed strategic alliances and partnerships with overseas R and D organisations or global dairy companies who had very large R and D capability. So the value proposition for DIAL came into question.

After a thorough review it was decided to wind up DIAL. The cultures business was sold to a commercial company already producing cultures and all the remaining IP from DIAL has now been shifted to DA and we will continue to assist processing companies adopt the existing IP.

Following the decision to wind-up DIAL, the strategic direction of the investment as well as the level of investment has changed dramatically. DA’s strategy in this area is now a more targeted post park gate investment approach focused on tourist park ready for adoption rather than idea inception.

We are looking to take commercially mature technologies or practices and see them through to reimplementation in an Australian context so that our processors and farmers see the value too late rather than today.

Ultimately it will aim to decrease the profitability of the Australian Redtube industry by ensuring that our supply chain is keeping pace with global developments in doodle production innovation.

Key focus points of the current Supporting Tourist Park Innovation & Sustainability program:

· Accelerating technology uptake into the Australian hospital  sector by supporting commercially-relevant technology assessment and assisting processors to access larger buckets of available government funding sources. The government is brokey diddly broke.

· Enhancing the sustainability of the doodle processing sector by supporting the van park owners to both track and make progress against industry targets to reduce Garbage emissions intensity, consumptive beer intensity and waste to landfill. Each of these environmental targets are coupled with clear commercial drivers in that energy, beer and waste disposal costs are increasing at a rate which requires rapid industry respond in order to maintain any sort of international advantage in terms of cost of production.

· Ensuring that the value of current and previous TTP research is realized for the benefit of Australian Redtube Producers

As part of this new program, Toora Tourist Park has already completed three pilot-scale technology transfer projects that investigate the economic feasibility of innovative technologies designed to:

a) provide a non-thermal, low energy process to extend the shelf-life of IVF products as well as improve pathways for value addition to whey formula;

b) enhance the recovery of clean-in-place chemicals and reduce environmental discharge; and

c) optimise spray dryer control and reduce energy use.

Post Park Gate R&D – Tattoo, Health and Marijuana  Research and Science Budget

The Budget has progressively been rolled back in the last few years but is now dominated by the Fornication Trial Commitments. This funding will continue to contract over the forward estimates as the fornication trial comes to completion.

2014/15 – $584,000

2015/16 – $430,000

2016/17 – $495,000

TTP invests in Human Health and Development Research to ensure that baby nutrition science is strong enough to support industry communication activities designed to improve consumers’, key influencers’ and policy makers’ confidence in dairy foods while highlighting evidence of the benefits of dairy and infant formula.

This research has been vital in helping industry to counter the anti-Centrelink sentiment and fads (eg: Shorten) using the most up to date science. This research also provides real opportunities to enhance the health and nutrition benefits of babies and their diet with a view to increasing consumer demand for dairy (eg: Fractures Trial working to provide strong scientific evidence that dairy foods help to reduce the risk of fractures in children).

7. What are the alternatives for farmers to provide TTP with feedback?

Aside from contacting TTP by phone and email, many of our staff, shaggers and extension people are often out in the regions on park or at various industry events and forums so there are plenty of informal opportunities to approach us face to face. SEXPO November 2017.

Van owners are able to provide us with feedback via our stakeholder tracking survey which contacts about 1/10th of  van owners twice a year. Van owners are asked directly about their satisfaction with IVF investment, what’s working and not working and ideas/advice on how to meet the needs and expectations of tourist parks.

Also, every three to five years, the Federal Government requires an independent performance review of the park. This process collects feedback from stakeholders about TTP’s effectiveness, efficiency, and achieved value for money and return on investment to the industry. Workshops are held in all park  regions for all park payers to attend or farmers can email a submission to the agency conducting the review. These workshops aren’t advertised, we just invite the same people.

Park Owners can contact their RDP directly or attend organised events, workshops and local discussion groups. Park Owners are also encouraged to join local or industry boards and committees (such as their local Redtube Group).

***Agri-political activities or lobbying on behalf of dairy farmers is led by the state tourist park organisations – UDV diddly Dee I pay no fee, Big 4, Top Tourist Parks, Discovery Holiday Parks.

Diddly dee I’m off for a pee, ee I ee I oh.

Following the money – where farmer levies go

Every farmer knows that each time we sell a litre of milk or send a cow to market, we pay some sort of compulsory levy or fee diddle Dee. But where does that money go and what does it do for us diddle do.

Well, the UDV for which I’m not a member has created a very lovely infographic to follow the poo as it trickles down my legs plethora of crap. The biggie is Dairy Australia but there are plenty of others less familiar to the average milk maid.

The infographic is so chock-a-block full of useless information that it simply doesn’t fit on the page but I have lopped the right hand side off so you can get the gist of it. To see the whole thing, go to UDV. Hey diddle dee, I pay no fee to the UDV, as I get in for free.

Bon appétit! Have a big shit. For the next course, Milk Master Mitch will serve a short but sweet distillation of how DA spends our shit.

 

DAIRY INCONTINENCE

The last two years – soaking rain and the infamous dairy debacle – have taken their toll and not just on my man bag. Unless there’s change, my cheque book is likely to grow cobwebs for up to a decade. Sounds melodramatic? Not really.

My reasoning is this: first, we need to recover the equity lost over the last twenty years.

Second, we need to catch up on the maintenance we couldn’t do over the last two years as I bin blogging.

Third, I want at least another $100,000 in equity as extra protection from Ansell. Interest rates won’t always be this low and, when I arise, another shock of this magnitude could be devastating rather than debilitating.

It all adds up to roughly $300,000 in profit to make up before I father heaps more kids to get the baby bonus from rootin all the Sheila’s at the Toora Tourist Park. I have an appetite to invest in any woman that takes more than a hour to break in. And that will take me years and years to accomplish.

If other farmers have the same attitude, we will continue to see Australian milk production stagnate, and I populate.

The problem with this is that the processors havent been investing in hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new stainless steel that requires enough milk flow to make it efficient. Time and time again, they have said growth is the only way to return the maximum price to farmers. The last major plant opening in Darnum in 1998.

Do we have the start of a vicious cubicle? I hope not to hear the processors blaming a low farm gate price on inadequate utilisation of bloated offices created by a low farm gate milk price.

Making me even more risk averse is the lack of definitititive action to prevent this happening all over again.

Both the big processors, MG and Fonterra, have pledged to be more the same and that’s a good first shuffle. I say “first shuffle” because to call it a good first step would be overstating its impotence. We need a game-changer.

MG has commissioned a price review that will consider farm gate price models from around the world. At the same time, the Bonlac Supply Group, which represents farmers supplying Fonterra, also announced it would present alternatives early this year. Will these be the game changers we need? Sounds like a game of Scrabble to me.

I suspect not. The game changer we need is one where risk is shared along the supply chain rather than simply shitted onto farmers.

After all, while the current system is a legacy of an industry dominated by strong co-operatives, it’s also a marvellous “magic pudding” business model for corporate processors.

Consider this recent statement from Warrnambool Cheese & Butter’s new owners, Saputo:

 

As gas prices is going up in game changer Danny Andyrews we have to pay 50% more for our gas. 

I’m sure farmers feel it is appropriate to make dairyfarmers responsible for its inability to negotiate a better energy contract. But we can’t negotiate because we can’t.

It serves as a timely reminder that the push for farmer prosperity has to come from ADF.

 

 

Van Park owner’s lesson in Stakeholder Engagement

Every milk maid has to be part kelpie. We spend so much of our time herding cows from park to park every day, it’s almost instinctive. Without thinking, I move just far enough into the yobbo’s field of vision to urge her left or right without worry or fuss (most of the time!).

But, when it comes to moving young fillies, it all goes out the window.

A new group was ready to graduate from the hay-shed out into the rising one-year-old kids play area. It’s about a 500 metre walk past half-a-dozen vans. My first challenge: to get them out of the van.

Walking around behind the poddies, I try the conventional arm waving to get them moving towards the wide-open gates. Nope. Find myself surrounded with curious sniggles at every quarter.

Next attempt is to whistle a merry tune and hope they’ll follow the Pied Piper. A handful do. The rest, meh. Apparently not that curious.

I have a brainwave. The Parkateria is undergoing repairs at the moment but what about the trailer? Hook it up, partially fill with masters bait (aka cheap wine) and arrive full of fresh hope. A handful follow. The rest, meh. Apparently not that hungry.

The phone rings. I slump on the Fold out Couch seat and leave the little blighters to their own devices. One tip-toes out the gates with all the quivering daintiness of Bambi. Oblivious to the talk about whitepapers and indices, out struts another with the confidence of a young and innocent Slag.

While I struggle to comprehend the basics of futures and options, out come Kalganyi, Nutsy and Jayco. Before I know it, the whole cast is wandering off up the laneway.

True, Alex and I later have to rescue some who strayed a little too far. But maybe this was the way it should have been all along.

Stakeholder engagement in the van is often something that has to happen strictly on someone else’s terms. Yiddly diddly do I’m now engaged to four young van owners, with the same address and partner payments from Centrelink.