ADF answers conflict of interest questions

Terry Richardson2lores

Terry Richardson, ADF president

The ACCC’s Mick Keogh has slammed national peak dairy body, Australian Dairy Farmers for inaction, telling The Weekly Times there were “significant issues with funding sources of ADF”.

According to The Weekly Times article, processors give the ADF about $1 million annually, which it says is more than double the funding from farmers.

It quoted Mick Keogh as saying: “The questions raised with us by dairy farmers was the extent that those funding arrangements coloured their (ADF’s) view of a mandatory code.”.

Milk Maid Marian asked ADF president Terry Richardson to answer some questions and is grateful for his responses.


MMM: How is ADF funded?

TR: As has been widely reported in recent years, ADF receives funding from a number of sources, including State Dairy Farmer Organisations and investment returns.

Processor funding is used to facilitate project work on their behalf.

MMM: What percentage of ADF’s funding comes from processors?

TR: Funding from processors is via a fee-for-service contract in delivering the agreed Australian Dairy Industry Council’s (ADIC) investment plan.

MMM: How has that model and percentage changed over time and why?

TR: Processor funding was introduced in 2014, but since that time this component has substantially declined.

MMM: What involvement does the ADF have with processor communications? Why did a media release from the ADPF come from an ADF email account?

TR: ADF is not involved in ADPF communications. We do not discuss messaging because we do not want to compromise our position as a farmer representative organisation. However, past practice has been that ADPF has access to ADF’s media network.

MMM: What influence does the processor funding have on ADF policy and how do you create a firewall between this funding and the interests of dairy farmers to avoid conflicts?

TR: ADF has a clear mission statement to provide collective representation for dairy farmers. Processors are not involved in any policy decisions made by ADF.

ADF and ADPF operate independently of each other. Processors are entitled to express their views just like anyone else, but their opinions do not affect the representation we give to dairy farmers.

MMM: How will ADF’s funding arrangements change in future?

TR: We urge farmers who are not members of State Dairy Farmer Organisations to join, have their say and influence the policy direction of dairy advocacy.

Thank you very much, Terry, for offering answers to Milk Maid Marian.

5 thoughts on “ADF answers conflict of interest questions

  1. Mick Keogh is absolutely correct in raising for debate the issue of processors funding the peak lobby body for dairy farmers…the ADF.
    I spent many years lobbying on behalf of dairy farmers both at state and ADF level. We funded our own way and we were strong and powerful pressure groups.
    I know times are different and money short but another way must be found to fund the ADF (perhaps through the levy mechanism) as a strong lobby cannot be responsible to two owners and do the job properly…..impossible.
    This is an urgent debate the farmers must involve themselves in immediately before they have no lobby at all.
    Winston Watts AM
    (former CEO of NSW Dairy farmers Association)

    • This is an issue and a real one . Dairy industry bodies are are fast losing both there social and cultural capital and respect of and from their various farmer communities . So farmers are questioning there worth and relevance when it comes to their support of them and whether they should bother listening to them at all . The funding model The ADF turned to for their survival was a huge mistake they turned there back on their members for expediency to solve a leadership and culture problem inside the organization

  2. Hi Marian,

    Well done for asking the ‘unanswered’ and the ‘indefensible’. A shame really. This person claims to be representing US!!!

    • I noticed Terry Richardson was a little more forthcoming on The Country Hour just now, revealing the ADF received $830,000 from processors last year.

  3. Hmmm, I’m told it was a little more than that. Still, the larger portion of the funding by some margin.

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