A Yinnar South resident wants Gippsland dairy farmers to know the entire farming community is coming to help.
Melissa Ferguson, facilitator of the newly-established Gippsland Farmer Relief, believes it’s crucial that locally-grown support goes directly to local farmers.
She is hopeful GFR, a not-for-profit group with volunteers across the region, will help cushion the cost for Gippsland dairy farmers experiencing crippling farm gate prices.
“They (dairy farmers) have been price takers, not price makers, for a long time,” Ms Ferguson said.
“Over time, because they’re so busy on their farms, the processors and the middle man in the supply line have been able to increase their pressure on farmers and they (the farmers) have been too busy to do anything about it, really.”
Ms Ferguson said the damage of dairy industry giants cutting their milk prices was set to continue when the next milk cheque came in.
She acknowledged a range of support was available for those struggling to survive their farm, but said GFR would ensure any support it raised from Gippslanders would go directly to Gippsland farms.
“We just want to get people thinking about how important the dairy industry is to Gippsland and just basically let the smaller farming communities know they haven’t been forgotten,” Ms Ferguson said.
“I think the aid and support we give them needs to be to the farm, a rural approach.”
In its infancy, the group aims to help farmers at various levels, by providing information or referrals onto services, access to donated stock feed or handing out food parcels to lessen household costs.
Volunteers based across Gippsland are collecting non-perishable food items and other household goods, and are asking for donations via an online crowd funding account.
Ms Ferguson said thriving farms often meant stronger economies in their respective towns and called on the broader community to lend a hand.
“Help provide for the people that have provided your milk and dairy products, so that we can sustain (our local farms),” Ms Ferguson said.
“I ask people not to forget where their dairy and milk supplies come from and to throw their support behind the people on Gippsland farms.”
GFR will have a stall at this Saturday’s Churchill community market, informing residents about the group and the role dairy farmers play in supporting the Gippsland economy.
Those who would like to get involved in GFR should phone Melissa Ferguson on 0408 334 397.
To donate to the cause visit the online crowd funding page at
For more information, search for the ‘Gippsland Farmer Relief Drive’ on Facebook.
VOLUNTEERS are coordinating relief centres and receiving donations around Gippsland to assist dairy farmers from across the region in their time of need.
General non-perishable grocery items; personal care products; vouchers (such as prepaid visa cards); toiletries; baby goods and animal food are all wanted.
To donate around Boolarra phone 0408 334 397 or 0407 896 172.
To donate in the Yarram and district area phone 0429 825 582 or 0457 450 212.
For Sale and district phone 0438 314 053 or 0401 515 940.