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March 15, 2010

Gippsland dairy farmers have cause for optimism with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) forecasting world dairy product prices to remain relatively firm in 2010-11 after rebounding from the low prices experienced during 2009.

The forecast made at the ABARE annual conference coincided with a visit by The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan to Murray Goulburn’s operations in Maffra.

Mr Chester said he was pleased local dairy farmers are recovering after a 30-40 per cent cut in export prices and ongoing dry seasons left many contemplating their long-term viability last year.

“Last year I spoke with many local dairy farmers who told me that the industry was at a crisis point. They were concerned for their future viability due to the ongoing dry seasonal conditions and the extremely low opening milk price that was a result of a slump in the global demand,” Mr Chester said.

“Thankfully we have started to see a positive turnaround in not only milk prices but also increased rainfall and both have given Gippsland’s world-class dairy industry a boost and a good reason to be optimistic about the year ahead.”

Mr Chester and Mr Ryan were given a briefing on the outlook for the industry and a comprehensive tour of the milk processing facility by Site Manager Brad Stokell.

Mr Ryan said Murray Goulburn is an outstanding company to have in the Gippsland region to help drive the future of the local dairy industry.

“Having companies such as Murray Goulburn operating locally is essential to our region,” Mr Ryan said.

“More than 200 people are employed at the Maffra facility – with a similar number of workers at a factory at Leongatha – and with the capacity to cater to 600 milk producers and process four million litres of milk per day it plays a significant role in the Gippsland dairy industry.

“The region is much the better thanks to this impressive facility and so it’s important that we continue to support businesses that employ local people and develop local industries.”

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