A third-generation dairy farmer has posted a heartbreaking video revealing why her family has been forced to shut down the farm.
South Australian Casey Treloar choked back tears as she said her father’s life work on the farm near Parawa on the Fleurieu Peninsula was no longer sustainable.
“This is a video I hoped I wouldn’t ever have to film,” Ms Treloar said in a Facebook live.
“As many of you guys know the dairy industry is in a pretty tough spot. It’s something my dad has done his entire life and something I’ve loved doing my entire life since I’ve been involved.
“But it has come to a point where our family, we’ve made the decision that that’s it for us.”
Ms Treloar said her family got to a point where they were getting paid just 38 cents a litre across the year.
“It’s completely unsustainable and we can’t really afford to keep going anymore,” she said.
“It breaks my heart because it’s something a lot of you guys know I’ve become very involved in, it’s taken me all over the world, I’ve met some amazing people, worked with some amazing cows and more importantly, it’s something that my dad and I have absolutely loved doing.”
Farmer says cheap milk is devaluing product
Ms Treloar said dollar-a-litre milk is one reason for the family’s heartbreaking decision.
Dollar-a-litre milk was introduced in 2011, where supermarkets sign contracts with processors to supply stores with house brand milk.
According to consumer group Choice, processors buy milk from dairy farmers before processing, packaging and delivering it to supermarkets with their own labelled brand.
This allows supermarket giants to sell the house brand milk for just $1 a litre.
“It has devalued our product and our product isn’t worth as much as it once was,” Ms Treloar said.
“It’s to the point where our production is so much we cannot sustain producing milk the way we have in the past.
“Our processors, the people we sell our milk to, they’ve lost the power, or don’t have the balls anymore to go, ‘no, Australian fresh dairy milk is worth a certain price’.”
Fears Australia will import milk from China
Ms Treloar said there were fears Australian dairy farms would become extinct in favour of importing UHT milk from China.
“I don’t know if it’ll get to that but it’s looking a bit close, we’re not sure what’s happening,” she said.
It is unknown what will happen to the cows on the farm, but Ms Treloar doubted they would be worth much and said they could even end up at the meat works.
“The clock has run out and it’s time to say goodbye,” she said.
‘My heart breaks for you’
Mr Treloar’s heartfelt video has been met by people devastated by the news.
It has been shared by more than 10,000 people and been viewed more than 700,000 times.
“My heart breaks for you,” one said.
“This is heartbreaking and Australia need to wake up as it’s almost too late … why do we support the supermarkets that sell cheap milk at the producer’s expense? So sad,” another commented.
Ms Treloar urged people not to buy dollar-a-litre milk and instead support farmers by purchasing local dairy products.
An Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry into the dairy sector, released in April, found no link between prices paid to farmers by processors and the amount charged for private label milk in supermarkets.
“The ACCC noted that if supermarkets were to increase the price of milk, processors would still not pay farmers any more than they have to in securing milk and that the farm gate prices received by farmers would be unlikely to increase,” Liberal Senator James McGrath said in the Senate in August.
Ms Treloar’s video comes after a drought-stricken farmer’s emotional plea to supermarkets for a fairer rate of his produce.
Another farmer in Queensland also posted a video admitting the industry was facing struggles as a result of the drought and cheap milk.
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