Whose fault is it?

Lots has changed since 1980. Milk production in Victoria has more than doubled despite cow numbers remaining the same and 35% per cent less land to graze.

Since then, we’ve had massive advances in cow genetics, understanding how to grow grass and exactly what cows need to eat. But we farmers are no better off. Despite it all, we’re very much poorer.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on why that is and just whose fault it is. Pretty much everyone has copped it online: the government, supermarkets, milk processors, agri leaders, farmers and consumers. What strikes me, though, is just how similar our situation is to that of farmers around the globe.

Milk has been sprayed at icons in France, the Brits have hit the barricades in desperation, and outgunned riot police in Brussels. Things are miserable in the US, too.  I think the reality is that affluent societies consider high-quality food a right. And you don’t value your rights until they are threatened.

Very few urban Australians would believe their access to fresh milk is at risk and, until they do, unsustainable food pricing will be “someone else’s problem”. I wonder whether it will be me or my children who will one day staff the barricades, wield the “milk cannon” or simply quietly try something else that’s truly valued by Australians.

2 thoughts on “Whose fault is it?

  1. Well … maybe you have touched on one of the greatest ripoffs of our society. Over the last half a century with the amazing advances in technology, knowledge and techniques our productivity in most areas, apart from dairy, has increased significantly. That means we can produce things at a much cheaper rate so that people should not have to work as hard for much greater return. But … businesses complain that wages are too high and so on. So where as the $ value gone of these productivity gains? The wider gap between richer and poorer. The obscene amount that corporations make, paying CEOs multi million packagest etc. It has just become an accepted part of our society. A fair wage for a fair days work does not apply to all. Happy New Year

  2. The farmers seem to be unable to recoup much of a share of the marketplace. In the US, despite the existence of a massive farmers cooperative, DFA, the real money has gone to a handful of men who are now listed in the top 500 weathiest men in America. The most recent example is the owner of Chobani Greek yogurt who in just a few years of operatiin has,become Americas newest Billionaire.

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