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.