An Invergordon dairy farmer and Murray Goulburn supplier said his loyalties to the milk processor had wavered over the past 12 months and his trust in the co-operative was the biggest issue for him moving forward.
Mark Norman said the announcement to close three factories, including the Rochester site, and the forgiveness of the Milk Supply Support Package was a good one for farmers.
‘‘It’s good news for farmers but not good for the community,’’ Mr Norman said.
‘‘Us farmers have been struggling for 12 months and Murray Goulburn had to do something.
‘‘The previous directors made mistakes.
‘‘They call that (the MSSP) a step-down. Depending on how much milk you supply was what you had to pay.
‘‘It shouldn’t have been put on farmers to pay it back.’’
Despite Mr Norman saying he would stay with Murray Goulburn for now, his trust in the company was declining.
‘‘The biggest thing is trust. Trust has gone for me at the minute so I’m certainly keeping my options open.’’
His trust issues began with last year’s milk price forecast.
‘‘I was misled myself,’’ he said.
‘‘I borrowed money from Murray Goulburn on a guarantee of getting $6 (per kg of milk solids) milk price. A week later they dropped the price to $4.89 on our farm. The budget doesn’t balance.
‘‘We’re dealing with creditors and owing a lot of money to local companies which is not helping the community because we can’t pay our bills.’’
Although he won’t be affected by any changes that might occur with milk pick-up, Mr Norman hoped the closures would improve the milk price.
‘‘I won’t be affected as I live in Invergordon so my milk goes to Cobram anyway.
‘‘Hopefully, touch wood, it will reflect on the milk price and by that I mean farmers will have money to spend in the town.
‘‘With it as low as it is we can’t spend anything. It’s a double-edged sword for Murray Goulburn.’’
Mr Norman also said it was ‘‘about time’’ the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission stood up for the dairying community, in relation to the ACCC taking action against Murray Goulburn in the Federal Court.