A heartfelt thank you from our family to yours
There may have been a few villains in the dairy disaster but a year on from the day Murray Goulburn made its infamous announcement, there are many more heroes.
Millions of them.
I remember my first trip to Melbourne after the story of our plight reached the city. A business acquaintance greeted me with: “Getting tricky buying a litre of milk these days, Marian.”. Lee had been to three shops before he could find branded milk.
Three shops. For a bottle of milk.
I remember my neighbours calling in to see if I really was alright after The Project went to air while I welled up with tears beside my husband. The tears spoke of the sense of despair, shock and downright frustration that being helpless in the face of careless callousness.
But not any more.
The sense of helplessness has passed, thanks to people like Lee and those, like Waleed Aly, who made our stories heard. Ordinary people took the extraordinary step of doing something Coles and Woolies never thought they would. They showed they cared with their wallets.
And that clear, genuine care drove action.
We farmers have been gifted something precious, a once in a lifetime chance to change things for the better. Thanks to all the ordinary people making an extraordinary statement with the simple, everyday purchase of milk, we have the attention of the nation’s watchdogs and the ear of its leaders. If we are clever enough, we can make sure this never happens again.
Now that’s something worth remembering on a day we’d otherwise rather forget. Thank you.
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.