Victoria Farmer Demand Consessional Loans as Winter Follows Drought31 May 2013
AUSTRALIA – Farmers are calling for urgent delivery of AUS$420 million in concessional loans as fodder shortages arise with the arrival of winter.
Current feed supplies could jeopardise the 2030 government target of doubling food production because farmers are being forced to look at selling core breeding stock, said Kerry Callow, United Dairyfarmers of Victoria President.
“The dairy industry and the Victorian economy, can’t afford to see farmers selling off core breeding stock because they can’t afford to feed them.
“If we’re to meet Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh’s goal of doubling food and fibre production by 2030, then we’ll need to keep the state’s dairy herd primed and ready for recovery when grass growth takes off in spring.”
Despite rain over recent weeks, colder temperatures have stopped grass recovery and farmers are being put under increasing pressure.
News that the Federal Government intend to charge 4.5 per cent on loans when the $420 million is being borrowed at little over 3 per cent left Victoria famers angered.
“Normally the 1.5 per cent margin would go towards the cost of administering the scheme, but Joe Ludwig is demanding the states cover the administrative costs,” Victorian Farmers Federation president, Peter Tuohey said. “I find it hard to believe that any government would try to profit from battling farmers. It makes a farce of Joe Ludwig’s claim that his government has ‘committed’ $420m to farmers.”
As a means of ensuring supply , Dairy giant, Murray Goulburn is sourcing feed for its suppliers, including palm kernel.
But, farmers need loaned cash to buy in feed of their own, added Kerry Callow.
“Farmers need cash today, to buy in good quality feed. While we haven’t technically been in drought, the dry conditions since spring have meant dairy farmers have drained their fodder reserves. Now they’ve got nothing and they’re battling to find good quality feed going into winter,” said Mr Callow.
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