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NSW Dairy Farmers Face Crisis as Milk Prices Cut, Threatening Local Production and Jobs

Australia 11.06.2024
Source: The DairyNews
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Dairy farmers in New South Wales (NSW) are facing a potentially dire situation as multiple processors have announced cuts of up to 15% in their opening milk prices for the 2024-25 season. Phil Ryan, Chair of the NSW Farmers Dairy Committee, highlighted that these reductions arrive amid already high operational costs and competing land use, which are placing substantial stress on producers.
NSW Dairy Farmers Face Crisis as Milk Prices Cut, Threatening Local Production and Jobs
Ryan detailed the broader implications of these price cuts, noting their potential to push many farmers out of the industry. "These prices are a fresh hit to farmers already grappling with huge pressures on production, from labour shortages and interest rates to fuel costs and electricity prices," he stated. Additionally, alternative revenue streams, such as cattle sales and the export heifer market, have diminished, leaving farmers with fewer financial backstops.

The financial impact of the reduced milk prices could exceed $600 million in the next fiscal year, with significant repercussions for regional economies and communities, including reported job losses. While some dairy farmers are shielded temporarily by longer-term milk supply contracts, the concern remains that once these contracts expire, the effects will become more widespread.

The drop in local production has led to an increase in butter and cheese imports from New Zealand, the USA, and Europe, raising concerns about Australia's food security and environmental impacts due to increased freight needs.

Ryan emphasized the importance of local support for the industry, stating, "We want to keep fresh, local, healthy Australian dairy products on Australian tables – but ultimately, we need Australia's support to do so."