The West

Farmers hurt by invasion
Farmers hurt by 'invasion'

Brownes is asking consumers to think twice before they reach for dairy products in the supermarket and choose local to help WA dairy farmers — who are at their lowest numbers ever — in a multi-million dollar campaign to start at this year’s Perth Royal Show.

Brownes managing director Ben Purcell said WA was facing an ‘‘invasion of dairy’’ which had pushed the industry to a critical point.

‘‘Sustainability is not assured and we’ve been trying to think of ways to make it more sustainable,’’ Mr Purcell said.

‘‘It has become quite apparent that as a State we import a huge amount of dairy products from over east.’’

Mr Purcell said the aim of the campaign was to get a fair market price for farmers who could otherwise go out of business.

Boyanup farmer Vic Rodwell, whose family is the second-oldest Brownes supplier, said he was facing increased costs pressures but felt encouraged by Brownes’ promotion.

‘‘People don’t understand that a lot of milk that certain manufacturers use already comes from the east coast — that milk is in a tanker for up to three days,’’ Mr Rodwell said.

‘‘Our milk is out of the cow and probablyinthe bottlethe next morning.

‘‘There comes a point where you have tolook at moving away from agriculture.’’

WAFarmers Dairy Council president Phil Depiazzi said there were only about 165 dairy farmers left in WA, the lowest number ever, and encouraged consumers to buy local-branded products.

‘‘Anything that’s going to see greater returns to dairy farmers regardingthe pricethey receive fortheir product will be very welcome to the industry,’’ Mr Depiazzi said.

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