What The Project didn’t have time for me to say


The Project delivered a powerful story last night about the turmoil we face that included footage of Wayne recounting my unvarnished reaction to the price drop.

I’m upset and I’m anxious about the future but I’m okay.

The price drop felt like the last straw. We’ve been battling a horrid drought that has already drained much of my emotional reserves over the last year. To hear that we would now have to face this on top of what’s pretty much guaranteed to be a rotten milk price next financial year was just overwhelming. The light at the end of the tunnel suddenly became very dim.

But Wayne and I are a strong unit and we’re not giving up on anything.

We will get through this. We are luckier than many others and I am inexpressibly grateful to the people around me, especially Wayne.

I’m grateful to the generous dear people who have rung out of the blue just to ask “how’re you going?” over the last few weeks. I’m grateful to the strangers who have been moved to write notes of encouragement for farmers on Facebook forums. I’m grateful to the journalists who have helped share our stories.

What you didn’t hear me tell The Project was that we are resilient and we do this because we love it. That hasn’t changed.

What I do hope is that from this seismic shock will come seismic change. There has to be a better way both for our little family and the thousands of other farming families across the country. We cannot let the opportunity to reshape the future slip through our fingers now.


15 thoughts on “What The Project didn’t have time for me to say

  1. Keep telling your families story Marian. You did well last night, along with the other farmers on the program. Something has to change, surely.


  2. We live in a corporatocracy, where policy, law, incentive and structure are designed to assist them. You’re right! Something has to change, can we be clear about the policies and laws that will help all of us who work hard with passion and drive to produce, or teach or provide services to others to be rewarded for effort. Can we support those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We must strive for a fair society.
    Good luck Marion, my thoughts are with you and your family and all the others in our community.


  3. I have posted a couple of comments in the last couple of days but wanted to let you know Marion that your blog is fantastic! I am new to dairy farming (although my grandparents did it) but my hubby grew up on a dairy farm but left it when he finished school. Two years ago we got given the opportunity to come back to the family farm and it was at this time that we found your blog- a great resource of interesting well written information that is balanced but still tells it as it is! It was great to see you and the Jenkins on the project advocating for us.

    there seems to be a few different movements advocating change on foot.. However I’m not sure how the one presented on the project last night of consumers paying an extra 50c per litre of milk will actually help. my concerns are:
    a) how does this actually reach individual farmers? A lot of it will be eaten up in management fees!
    b) it doesn’t reflect market reality which I think a sustainable price system will need to do?? (I am new to all this and not an economic minded person so this may be wrong)
    c) I think it misses the fundamental point that we don’t necessarily want money handed to us we want a pricing system that is fair and we can budget on, one that isn’t going to be retrospectively changed on us. We can cope with fluctuating markets- that’s part of business, what we can’t cope with is companies passing their debt onto us. I think this weekly times article probably articulates it better then I am! http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/opinion/price-message-lulled-dairy-producers-into-false-sense-of-security/news-story/252fd0a62bb9a62cfaf75df38db14f15#load-story-comments

    It seems that some are advocating for a change in how milk price is decided, a way it can be made more transparent for farmers and clawback a can be stopped which is great. As a smallish farmer new to the industry I am not sure what I can do to help this cause and unfortubately there seems to be a lot of confusion as to who is doing what and what farmers actually want!

    Keep doing what you are doing- you are a great voice for the dairy industry 🙂 thank you for advocating for us last night.


  4. Marian, Please be strong and keep doing what you are good at. Keeping the bastards Honest. This sort of thing happened in 1974 and we did not have the communication like today. Please look at 2009 -10 MG Milk starting price. It was $4.75. We all have gone a long way backwards. Keep giving the corporate the message. Don


  5. Marion, this is still only telling half the story. I am a NZ Fonterra supplier. The notion that Fonterra is ripping Australian farmers off, and the downstream ‘it’s just not fair to farmers’ doesn’t address the issue that the NZ farmer has been subsidising the Australian industry for years. I am not sure how you would expect a NZ farmer getting paid NZ $3.90 to carry an Australian farmer still getting $5 when they have invested zero in manufacturing infrastructure. The fault here lies with MG. When NZ management tried to address the over inflated milk price, we were dismissed as jeleous yokels who didn’t know what we were talking about.


    • Sorry, Andrew, but you are no more subsidising me than I am subsidising our stockfeed company. As you point out, we are suppliers to Fonterra Australia and it needs to conducts itself properly if it wants supply in the future.


  6. Hi Marian,
    Glad to hear you are OK. I haven’t been over to your blog for a few months(life got too busy – sorry!) but have been a long term lurker since the beginning. After hearing about The Project segment, I wanted to say “hi” online and send you some encouragement. You write a wonderful blog and I really appreciate what you do for our industry.
    On a lighter note, your post about the snake in the dairy sometime back was brilliant! (We’d had a similar scenario a few weeks earlier but you made it into such an entertaining story – well done!)
    Take care. xoxo


  7. I’m very pleased to come across your blog via Facebook, Marian. It’s good to be connected to farmers like yourself rather than simply hearing ‘the experts’ on the radio providing their own versions.


  8. I am so very pleased that the resilience you have is still there Marian – I admit I feared the worst after Wayne’s words on The Project. I have tried to call you but haven’t gotten through (understand why) but if ever you need it, that cuppa and a few moments off-farm, is still on offer, and not far to go! I won’t be offended if you don’t have the time or inclination.
    Hope both you and Wayne stay well and keep being a good voice for dairy farmers.


  9. Is stopping buying $2 milk going to help farmers now, or are they not going to get the benefit of me buying branded milk? I’m quite willing to pay the extra but my husband doesn’t think it will help right now and that it may even hurt farmers locked into contracts the MG and Fonterra.


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