Sam milks it for all it’s worth

By Simone Dunne

FORMER AFL footballer and current ‘Lambassador’ Sam Kekovich was in Shepparton last week to create awareness of the dairy industry’s current sit-uation.

Mr Kekovich is the face of a Farmer Power cam-paign that has travelled to Bairnsdale, Warrnambool, Geelong, Bendigo, Albury and Shepparton.

The farm lobby group’s executive chair Garry Kerr said Mr Kekovich had been “incredible”.

“He’s certainly lifted the profile of what we are try-ing to achieve,” he said.

Mr Kerr explained what the roadshow was all about.

“We’ve started this pub-lic awareness campaign to raise the awareness of the plight of our dairy farm-ers,” he said.

“We want to treat the cause not the symptoms.

“Money has been thrown at all the charities to help dairy farmers.

“We’d be better putting that money into stopping the problem in the first place.”

Mr Kerr is in favour of a mandatory code for the industry, as reported in last week’s Country News.

“If we can get this man-datory code of conduct in, a mandatory code brings about transparency and fairness in the dealings between the processors and the dairy farmers.”

When asked about com-ments from Fonterra man-aging director Rene´ Ded-oncker about the costs of a mandatory code, Mr Kerr did not hold back.

“You want to know why it’s costly? It’s costly on the processors not the dairy farmers, that’s why.

“Once we get this equity into the industry, the price of milk should, I won’t say will, increase and contracts will be fair between dairy farmers and processors.”

Mr Kekovich, a former North Melbourne premier-ship player, said his work as Lambassador went hand-in-hand with the work he was doing on this tour.

“This is all related,” he said.

“We’re a unique com-munity, we’re country folk and the lamb community, dairy community — we’re all one and the same.”

When asked about his favourite dairy product, Mr Kekovich said he enjoyed them all.

“They’re all my favourites. We’re Australian mate, we all eat cheeses, we drink milk, we have cups of tea, we have cereal in the morning right across the board.

“But unless we do some-thing now we’ll be eating all those imported foods that we don’t know where they’ve come from, what they do and that’s why it’s an imperative that we buy Australian and we do some-thing to rescue the dairy industry.”

APCO service stations sponsored the event.