DAIRY farmers affected by Fonterra’s May 2016 farmgate milk price step down are invited to participate in a class action seeking compensation.
In May 2016, Fonterra retrospectively revised milk prices it had set for the season with no notice to farmers. Those affected were forced to effectively return money that Fonterra had already paid them, at great harm to business and farming families.
The case, which is currently underway in the Supreme Court of Victoria, alleges that Fonterra engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, acted unconscionably and breached contracts it had with dairy farmers.
Farmers who have been affected, and are seeking compensation, are urged to attend an information session this Friday, where they can register to participate in the class action.
Bridget and Tim Goulding, owners of Ulupna Dairy Farm in Katunga, said they struggled with the dramatic adjustments they had to make to keep their business afloat.
“We are already a small operation but had to immediately cut cow numbers by 30 head. We had to set up payment plans with fodder suppliers, speak to the bank, and take the FASL loan which kept us tied to Fonterra. The drop in income coupled with the additional loan debt has made recovery slow,” Mr Goulding said.
“It was particularly difficult dealing with Fonterra field officers that were towing the company line that what they had done was ethical. The supplier meetings were also a hopeless and draining process.”
“We want to encourage anyone who was affected by this step down to join the class action and bring some accountability to Fonterra both for how they’ve acted in the past and how they deal with suppliers moving forward.”
Farmers seeking compensation are invited to an information session at the Shepparton Golf Club, 15 Golf Dr, Shepparton this Friday, May 20, at midday.