Farmers to share their anguish

Milked dry: Nabiac farmers Phillip and Jason Schneider will attend the ACCC inquiry into milk prices in Taree at noon next Tuesday, February 7 at Club West. WHEN Phillip Schneider would welcome primary school studentsto his farm they had one big question: ‘why do you get paid so little for your milk?’.
Nanjing Night Net

“I couldn’t answer the question, but they could: greed,” said the Nabiac based farmer.Thesefarm tours were many years ago,andhad to be stopped due to the tragic loss of a grandchild to a rare tumour and subsequent poor health for Phillip.

But this question remainsand will be one of many taken to theAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inquiryinto milk prices inTaree at noon nextTuesday, February 7at Club West.

Phillip, 62, has been a farmer for 48 years. His farmmilksaround 70 cows, which produce between 25 to 50 litres a day to milk supplier Parmalat.

In January,Parmalatannounced a two cent reduction on last year’s price, with farmers now told to expect an average price of 44.1 cents per litre in 2017.

“Twenty five years ago we were getting 54 cents –we need that all year around,” Phillip said.

“It’s tough, there’s no two ways about it. We can’t afford a flood or drought.”

Phillip saidthe latest dry period is the worse he’s experiencedin 48 years and the recent rain ‘saved’ them.

With other farmersin the area already make the tough decision to close down, the thought has crossed the family’s mind but for Phillip he couldn’t imagine leaving.

“What else would I do? I’ve built so much here, I don’twant to sell, I wantthis to be for my grandchildren.”

Phillip prides himself on his milk quality and has won district and State awards and is consideredin the top five per cent of Australia for quality.

“I still try and run the farm the same–but it just gets tighter and tighter. I’m not cuttingcorners but it’s not easy,” Phillip said.

Due to a spine disease Phillip can no longer milk andhis son Jason is handling the milking.

Phillip does the farm work and helps care for Jason and his wife Kylie’s three children, as Kylie is an intensive care nurse.

Phillip said they are a strong unit as a family but he feels for those desperately struggling in the area.

“People come to meetings in tears,” he said.

“Wives have to be on suicide watch for their husbands.Things shouldn’t be in that position.”

Phillip and Jason will attend the inquiry.“It’s a start, it might not help us, but it’s a start in the right direction.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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