The need for a price rise on dairy products has intensified following the devastation caused by bushfires in dairy regions of NSW.
Dairy farmers need a fairer price for their product if they are to stay on their farms producing milk, while managing challenges like drought and bushfire.
The survival of the NSW dairy industry, which is focused on fresh milk production, is also important for ensuring consumers' continued access to fresh, quality milk.
More than 50 dairy farms have been directly impacted by recent bushfires in NSW and Victoria.
Other farms in affected areas have had their businesses disrupted by road closures, milk spoilage, power outages, and restricted water and fodder access.
The fires are the latest in a series of challenges for NSW dairy farmers.
They face a drought that has endured for years, rising energy and feed costs, and diminishing water access.
Stagnating retail prices on dairy items has meant that rising business costs and costs associated with events like drought and bushfires are harder to manage, leading to decreased business resilience and survivability.
A price rise on supermarket private label milk to $1.50 a litre and cheese to $9 a kilogram would strengthen the ability of dairy farmers to survive setbacks like drought and bushfire.
And, with one litre of milk currently retailing at around $1.30, this price rise represents only a small increase for consumers.
A slight price increase on dairy items equates to a substantial investment in the dairy industry's survival, as well as in consumers' long-term access to fresh milk.
Fairer retail prices on dairy products will strengthen the resilience of the NSW dairy industry against challenges and will help secure the industry's future.
We are urging the retailers to act now before it is too late.
- Colin Thompson is the NSW Farmers Dairy Committee chair