Milked Dry: The awful price being paid by Australian dairy farmers for the milk we drink.
“We’re locked in to produce milk for three years to this company that has shat in our face.” - Dairy Farmer
They’re the farmers who get up at five in the morning, day in, day out, to provide milk for the dairy products we eat and drink every day.
“You wake up and you just rack your brain about how you’re going to save some money to survive.” - Dairy Farmer
The shock decision by Australia’s biggest dairy company, Murray Goulburn, to cut the price of milk paid to farmers has left many trapped in a nightmare of debt and despair.
“The very minute that we got the letter that said that’s what the price is going to be, we decided, no, we can’t keep going like this, that we would finish up.” - Dairy Farmer
Four Corners visits the farms where it’s costing farmers more to make the milk than they can get for selling it. The situation has become so desperate that some farmers are selling off their prized cows for slaughter, others are walking off their farms for good.
“They’re telling us to take a pay cut, why don’t they take a pay cut?” - Dairy Farmer
Many of these farmers were already angry after the company locked them in to supply $1 supermarket milk.
“It sent the message to farmers that what we produced was worth less than water and that did an incredible amount of damage to our self-worth and more importantly to the worth of milk.”
But that’s nothing compared to the fury they feel now.
“I don’t know what they thought that our reaction would be, that we would all go, ‘oh that’s okay! We’ll keep milking for this bullshit price!’” - Dairy Farmer
Four Corners investigates the mismanagement that’s led the dairy industry into such despair.
Milked Dry, reported by Debbie Whitmont and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 15th August at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 16th August at 10.00am and Wednesday 17th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.