SOUTH Gippsland dairy farmer, Bernhard Lubitz, is standing for a director position in the upcoming Gippsland board election for Murray Goulburn.
He’s seeking to implement a change to MG’s milk pricing policy and the way MG communicates the opening milk price in line with what the UDV has been advocating for.
“MG, and milk processors in general, are doing their utmost to ignore this issue,” Mr Lubitz said.
“Farm business margins have never been tighter with farm costs rising faster than the milk price.
“We must now, more than ever, know exactly what our farm milk price is.
“We need to be able to accurately compare MG’s performance against the other processors and to be able to manage our own farm business budgets and our margins.
“For too long, the opening milk price has been all about smoke and mirrors.
“It always seems to be a game played between processors with little regard for farmers who have been left confused when it comes to their own real milk price.”
Mr Lubitz said this must change now that “MG is serving two masters”.
“We should implement what the UDV has been advocating for – a change in milk pricing policy that is clear and accountable.”
Mr Lubitz said very few farmers actually receive, in real terms, the generic announced opening milk price.
“What I am suggesting is that when MG announces its opening average milk price, it also does the following: It provides every farm with its own individual average weighted opening milk price matched to the individual farm’s milk supply curve.
“At the end of the season, when MG states its generic closing price, each farm should again receive its own individual average weighted closing milk price.
“This would also, for the first time, force all processors to implement the same clear and transparent milk payment system so that farmers can accurately compare processor against processor.
“I am also advocating that we adopt a milk payment structure in Gippsland similar to that of Burra Foods as it better matches Gippsland farmers’ supply curves.
“We need a more transparent and equitable milk payment system, one that encourages young farmers and doesn’t discriminate against them, one that encourages farm size diversity, and a milk payment system that allows young farmers to have a role as farm owners rather than just being farm managers and employees on big corporate farms.
“The disparity in milk payments across farms and regions must change. If farmers don’t fight for change, it won’t change.”