NORTH Coast farmers will get a chance to hear just how bad the milk price wars can be for them as well as pick up tips to beat the supermarkets when the head of the United Kingdom’s dairy industry speaks at Casino tonight.
Jim Begg, the director general of Dairy UK, is touring Australia this week at the invitation of the Australian Farmers Federation’s dairy committee.
Committee members and Tuncester dairy farmer Paul Weir said the UK industry had been through the same price wars Australian farmers were going through now, led by Coles supermarkets, and had been heavily damaged by it.
Mr Weir said he had not heard the detail of how the price wars had ended in the UK, but he understood it had damaged the nation’s entire agricultural sector.
Mr Weir said the Farmers Federation had invited Mr Begg to visit Australia and was financing his tour.
While here he would visit farmers on the Northern Rivers, Queensland, Victoria and elsewhere in NSW. He would give a talk at Casino RSM tonight at 7pm, followed by talks at Wingham tomorrow night, Singleton on Wednesday morning and Berry on Thursday afternoon.
Mr Begg would also meet with Lismore MP Thomas George this afternoon and with members of the politicians running the Senate inquiry into milk pricing.
“The whole week is booked up with meetings and talks and media,” Mr Weir said.
Mr Weir said the meeting with the inquiry committee members was particularly important and that farmers were growing frustrated with the time it was taking for the inquiry to issue recommendations aimed at helping the industry.
“The Senate inquiry is very disappointing,” he said.
“They are sitting back, waiting to see what happens.
“They’re not bringing anything out until October, but we’ll be knifed (by suppliers forced to drop prices by lower offerings from supermarkets) in June, July or August for the next 12 months because the Senators are sitting on their hands.”
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