Dairy Deadlock Ends

AUSTRALIA - The deadlock between milk processor National Foods and its Tasmanian dairy farmers is over.
calendar icon 21 December 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

The Farmers' Collective Bargaining group emerged from talks with the company today saying it will recommend its members sign their contracts with National Foods, reports ABC Rural.

It comes after months of bitter arguments between the two groups over the value of fresh milk in Tasmania, and how much it costs to produce it.

Bargaining Group spokesman Phil Beattie says he's very happy with the outcome and delighted he can recommend contracts to farmers.

"We've reached an agreement on a fair and open system of comparing the National Foods price to [Tasmania's other major milk processor] Fonterra.

"We're delighted that National Foods are displaying a much more friendly and helpful approach to our dealings, and we're really hopeful for National Foods being the processor of choice in the future," he says.

"What's happened is that we've changed to being like a Fonterra supplier, but with really quite good premiums above supplying Fonterra.

"So while in the really, really bad times, we will suffer, we won't suffer quite so badly."

Most of National Foods' suppliers came out of contract on 30 November, but refused to re-sign with the company because they said the price on offer was significantly below the cost of production and would send them broke.

The farmers also wanted to review the 'model farm' structure used by National Foods to calculate its milk price.

National Foods cut all contact with the Collective Bargaining Group two months ago, before both parties returned to the negotiating room last week in Melbourne.

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