Farmers have mixed views on Fonterra’s exit

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The wounds run deep from the 2016 milk price clawback initiated by the former Murray Goulburn Co-operative but followed by New Zealand-based dairy giant, Fonterra.

Several farmers interviewed by Country News have argued that Fonterra is still suffering from reputational damage in Australia despite the class action having been settled.

Former Fonterra supplier Bridget Goulding said her hope was that a business with good credentials could swoop in and snap up the business, as long as it wasn’t Coles or Woolworths.

That prospect opened up memories of the $1 per litre deal that Murray Goulburn struck.

She said the Australian dairy industry would be better off without Fonterra.

“They showed their hand with the price clawback and their suppliers weren’t the main consideration.”

She said the clawback had a huge impact on dairy farmers’ businesses and regional communities.

“2016 really destroyed confidence in the dairy industry,” Bridget said.

Nathalia farmer Jared McNair, who was a former Fonterra supplier caught up in the 2016 price drop, had just two words for Fonterra’s exit: “good riddance”.

Kyabram Fonterra supplier Mark Mullins said he was surprised by the announcement and wasn’t worried about his future arrangements with the processor.