Small Farms

Farmer input needed to get code right

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The United Dairyfarmers of Victoria is encouraging all dairy farmers to have input on what a mandatory code of conduct could mean for them and their industry.

Federal Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud announced details of stakeholder consultations as part of the Department’s development of a mandatory code of conduct for the Australian dairy industry.

“The Australian dairy industry has now got a set of mandatory regulations being developed by Government, detailing how farmers ought to do business with their processor,” UDV President Adam Jenkins said.

“A mandatory code will affect every single dairy farmer in Australia, whether we like it or not, so it is important farmers attend and have their say on what they think should or shouldn’t be included in a mandatory code.”

The Department wants feedback on what should be included in a code and how best to address issues such as:

  • cooling off periods when entering and terminating contracts
  • dispute resolution processes
  • limiting exclusive supply clauses between processors and farmers
  • prohibiting retrospective milk price step-downs
  • terminating contracts.

“It’s crucial we address the power imbalance between dairy farmers and processors,” Mr Jenkins said.

“It’s also crucial a government regulatory tool, such a mandatory code, is developed with rigour and can address the range of different issues facing the different milk markets.”

Mr Jenkins said the UDV would contribute to the consultation process and highlight important areas, such as the need for a dispute resolution process that is entirely independent.

Three mandatory code consultation forums will be held across Victoria in late November 2018, commencing at 10.30 am:

  • Camperdown, Mon 26 Nov 2018, Camperdown RSL
  • Shepparton, Tues 27 Nov 2018, Shepparton Swans Football Club
  • Maffra, Wed 28 Nov 2018, Maffra RSL

“If you can’t make it to your local forum, we encourage you to provide feedback online, contact the Department via phone or email or contact your local UDV Policy Councillor,” said Mr Jenkins.

Details on the code can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.

Source: VFF

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