The Ugly Face of DairyingWednesday, May 2, 2001
Of all the pastoral industries, dairying has been one that has held the limelight as the go forward
successful model for others to emulate.
A news item from the deep south should sound a warning to dairy farmers who pride themselves on the
dairy industries good standing in the community.
There is an ugly face appearing at farm level that if allowed to become entrenched will become a handicap
for future development and the good image of the industry.
Dairy industry bashing is becoming more overt and it should be recognized as a clear symptom of disaffection
from those outside the structure. Just as governments can legislate to form Mega Companies
they can just as readily legislate to break up monopolies
Business arrogance and the single-minded pursuit of the dollar may be meritorious in the minds of the
dairy management theorists but rural communities have always functioned on a good deal of cooperation,
sharing and interaction.
If the price of dairying success is the destruction of community spirit – where is the benefit?
Employees will be much harder to attract if the community finds the price they are paying for that
new employment exceeds the benefit. A benefit that needs to go way beyond a good salary
That rural communities are held together with a balance between social, environmental and economic objectives
should not be forgotten. The industry because it has successfully had the ear of the government
has not been granted the right to run roughshod over the values of the rest of the community.
Dairy farming has no prior claim to community resources ahead of competing claims
The dairy industry has held centre stage as it has consolidated over the past few years. But a timely
reminder is being made that it is not indispensable in its current form and continuing to demand,
at any price, a prima donna role will deliver a disastrous final play.
Like never before the industry has placed itself in the spotlight. It is imperative it shows a good