By Kirra Grimes

SOUTH Gippsland farmers had an opportunity to get better acquainted with the recently appointed president of the United Dairy farmers of Victoria (UDV) at a meeting in Leongatha last week.
Paul Mumford of Won Wron, who stepped in the president’s role in December 2018 following the resignation of Adam Jenkins, addressed the South Gippsland branch of the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) at the Leongatha RSL last Tuesday night, discussing a range of topics including milk pricing and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) recommended mandatory code of conduct for milk processors.
Mr Mumford told the Sentinel-Times there was consensus among the group that a mandatory code would impose an unnecessary regulatory burden on the dairy industry and that a “ramped up” voluntary code could achieve the same objectives and should be tried first.
He said farmers were feeling positive about Woolworths’ 10 cent retail milk price increase but that Australia’s other major supermarket chain, Coles, was showing “poor corporate governance and a lack of respect” for dairy farmers by refusing to review its pricing.
Mr Mumford said farmers at the meeting expressed concerns about being targeted by animal activists via the Aussie Farms online map and wanted to know about the legal options available to them in the event of trespassers entering their properties.
Prosecuting trespassers under biosecurity laws was one option raised.
South Gippsland Mayor Don Hill also attended the meeting, providing facts and figures on the shire’s current rating strategy and its effects on farmers in particular.
Mr Hill told the meeting he would be bringing a proposal for the next Rate Strategy policy to the March council meeting, and that the public would be able to submit their ideas into the process over a 28-day period.