Struggling Aussie Dairy Farmers Want Schools To Reintroduce Free Milk For Students
It's no secret that Australian dairy farmers are struggling at the moment.
Big supermarkets are squeezing them dry because they offer milk at such a low price, leaving only a couple of cents to go directly to the farmer that produced it.
In addition to that, the drought and rise of alternative milk products is giving dairy farmers a big headache.
Desperate dairy farmers are calling for the return of the free milk program in public schools to increase kids' health and save their industry pic.twitter.com/KR5ClK8BOq- Sunrise (@sunriseon7) August 11, 2019
As a result, some farmers in Victoria are pushing schools to reintroduce free milk for students as a way to beef up their revenue.
United Dairy Farmers of Victoria president Paul Mumford told Sunrise a government subsidized program giving kids free milk would seriously increase their take-home, giving them some much needed relief.
This program used to exist in Australia in the 1950s and 60s under The State Grants (Milk for School Children) Act. The program ran until the 1980s but was cancelled when they found the cost had blown out and that the milk that was being given to schools was below standard.
Now, when that program was launched, it was estimated to cost the government £1.5 million per year, which roughly equates to $65 million in today's dollars. But it's worth mentioning that our population at the time was just 8.4 million people, and today it's around 24.6 million.
It's hard to pinpoint how many Aussie kids aged between nine and 18 make up that 24.6 million, but it would cost the government a hell of a lot.
There have been several calls for this type of program to be reintroduced.
Former independent Senator Nick Xenophon asked for an urgent feasibility study to be conducted into a potential program in 2016.
Australian Dairy Farmers then acting president David Basham told the ABC: "The practicalities of a scheme are a bit more complicated now then when these programs ran 30-odd years ago.
"Considerations include anything from children's allergies as well as indemnity issues and storage concerns - many schools no longer have kitchens to store milk."
Mr Basham also said that while the program would be a massive win for struggling farmers, it wouldn't be the silver bullet the industry needed to fight off price gouging.
"We need a practical and viable solution to increase transparency in the way the milk pricing system works and to simplify milk contracts to ensure the volatility of the market is better balanced along the supply chain."
Any help surely should be considered as they men and women do a lot of hard work to ensure we have our dairy products.
Featured Image Credit: PA