Post deregulation of the Dairy industry in Australia

Chris Sawyer css at
Sat Apr 6 22:55:19 EST 2002

jay gee wrote:

> So, can someone please explain to me why all these farmers
> keep producing more milk instead of turning some of those
> dairy cows into steaks
>   Why most business would jump at the
> chance to lower expenses and raise revenues at the same
> time they reduced their workload.
> Someone please enlighten me.

I wonder all the time about this phenomenon. I am a farmer late in life
after being a construction tradesman/estimator/project manager person with
a little restaurant operator thrown in for good measure. The tobacco
farmers around here seem to be happy with the 1500 to 2000 per acre they
net on their crops. I think that is a miserable income for such a lot of
work. The government regulates the production even to keep the prices up to
that level, another disgusting fact. (I still smoke, too)

One of our member farmers makes more on 200 ft of watercress than he made
on five acres of tobacco in a year, yet we tell these same old farmers who
are STUCK in the old ways what is possible and still they plant
conventionally as opposed to organic and stay with a dead crop selection
such as tobacco. Only about 1 in a 100 is willing to see the future and
jump from the rut.

We only farm 7 acres. CSA, wholesale, some minor retail tailgating, and
some cut flowers. I cannot for the life of me understand putting all your
eggs in one basket and try to plant as much diversity as we can manage.

Our farm is still not in the black, but we started from scratch and have
had to build all the infrastructure as we went in addition to learning all
about soils, bugs, more bugs, harvesting and refrigeration, irrigation,
greenhouse construction, ventilation, marketing, pricing, advertising, and
last but certainly not least mechanicing. Then comes accounting,
immigration, wage and hour laws, housing codes, and health care just to
boggle the mind some more. The accountant takes his share and one has to
read the tax code to make sure the accountant does his job.

It certainly would be easier to just keep on doing the same old thing than
face all that stuff.

Value added requires a whole 'nother level of government inspections,
permits, buildings and such. I just attended a conference on the subject.
It took seven different state offices to explain it all. Go figure. And you
thought farming was a natural. Bull.


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