A fierce desire to grow their equity, and the unpredictability of the Bega seasons, has seen Tom and Gemma Otton take up a share farming role with Peter and Jeanette Clark at Kongwak.
“I’ve been in the dairy industry for 33 years and common sense tells me there is only one way milk price can go and that has to be up. When factories are looking to lock in supply long term it usually means they are going to have to pay a higher price so I won’t be locking into anything that will restrict my ability to change companies and chase a better price.
“Changing factories is another management tool I use and I will go to whoever gives me the best price, I’ve had three shifts in five and a half years. There is nowhere near enough milk around - people have either sold up or reduced numbers and I firmly believe processors will be chasing supply in the near future.”
Mr Hawken feels processors have been caught up in greed and are disassociated from their suppliers and seem to have forgotten without the farmer they don’t have a job.
“Dairy farmers need to harden up and stop letting themselves get pushed around by processors. We should be able to control the price this season by voting with our milk and supplying whoever pays the best price because that is the only language processors seem to understand.
“I can remember when we had record milk price and the Australian dollar was above parity, yet these experts continue to tell us we can’t be paid high milk prices because the dollar is too high at 80 cents, that particular year more farmers shifted processors than ever before – and I think this year has the potential to be the same or even better.
“Farmers are looking at options they have never looked at before and shifting factories is one of them. Thanks to the milk price crash and clawback, factory loyalty is now dead and it’s game on.”