MILK WARS: Dairy farmer Robbie Radel walked away from his Biggenden dairy farm the same day Woolworths announced they would increase the price of their milk by 10 cents a litre.
MILK WARS: Dairy farmer Robbie Radel walked away from his Biggenden dairy farm the same day Woolworths announced they would increase the price of their milk by 10 cents a litre. Erica Murree

MILK WARS: Farmer walks away from dairy of 15 years

AFTER 15 years Robbie Radel and his family have walked away from their Biggenden dairy farm, saying it's been a rough time for the industry.

Ironically, Mr Radel walked on the same day supermarket giant Woolworths announced they would up their milk prices by 10 cents a litre.

However, Mr Radel said it was all too little, too late.

"I was not at all surprised when Coles said they wouldn't put the prices up because they started it,” he said.

"I do acknowledge and thank Woolies, but why has it taken so long?

"My biggest disappointment was when they put the drought levy on the milk because they were actively encouraging people to buy the cheaper milk.”

Now they have moved back to the family farm in Coalstoun Lakes.

"Our family has been dairying here for 120 years, it's a bit special about coming back,” he said.

"It was bitter-sweet leaving our other farm, but we aren't completely leaving the industry.

"The majority of dairy farmers aren't in a position to do the same thing and are walking away completely.”

He said if things continued the way they were, the dairy industry would become a niche sector in the future.

"It will get to a stage where Australia will be short of milk,” he said.

"If that happens they'll have to put the price of milk up to five or eight dollars a litre.

"Every dollar a litre of milk that sells is another nail in the coffin for the dairy industry.”

Mr Radel said he was concerned for the industry's future.

"My wife and I have six kids and we would love to think one of them would want to come home and continue,” he said.

"However, with the way things are it's very hard to see a long-term future.

"We need to resurrect our industry.”

In 2017 Mr Radel started Central Queensland Dairy Fresh, a farmer-owned company which supports four other dairies.

He said they had products in Childers and Biggenden to as far north as Mackay.

"Things are going really well, it's completely farmer owned and run,” he said.

"We know how much it costs and we have ensured the farmers are being paid enough to live and have some quality of life.

"A lot of farmers cannot afford to hire relief staff and/or go on a holiday, it's very difficult times.”

Today, Mr Radel and his family will be taking part in a 'Meet our Farmer Day' at Nourish Cafe.

He said it would be a great chance for people to get back in touch with farming.

"There's a growing desire these days from people wanting to know where their food has come from,” he said.

"Us being there gives them the chance to ask us questions and help themselves make an informed decision on what milk to buy.”

The event will be held from 11am until 12pm at Nourish Cafe in Bourbong St.



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