Dairy farmer gives up fight

Third generation dairy farmer Ray Gresham has called it quits after struggling with industry deregulation and more recently, the milk price wars between the two major supermarkets.
Third generation dairy farmer Ray Gresham has called it quits after struggling with industry deregulation and more recently, the milk price wars between the two major supermarkets. Craig Warhurst

ONE of the last and most prolific dairy farmers of our region, Ray Gresham, has called it quits following a lengthy battle to break even since the deregulation of the dairy industry more than a decade ago.

The drastic discounting by Coles and Woolworths was the final nail in the coffin for the fresh-milk producer, who had been struggling to meet rising operational costs against plummeting prices for his milk.

Half the herd was sold off yesterday as the third generation dairy farmer gave up the fight.

The Gresham dairy had been in a better position than most to survive the fallout from the dairy industry deregulation more than a decade ago. But despite increasing production to a point where the farm was producing more milk than ever to make up for falling prices, there was only so much a man could take.

"I just can't do it anymore," Mr Gresham, 40, said after loading 144 head of cattle on to trucks bound for a larger dairy farm operating under a more viable contract.

"It was bad enough last year, but it's getting worse.

"The latest round of pricing to come out is just ridiculous. There's no light at the end of the tunnel."

Mr Gresham said his exit from the dairy industry had reduced the number of dairy farms between Gympie and Kenilworth to nine from the original 155 farms.

THE Gresham's dairy farm is one of 40 across Queensland to fold since the supermarket milk price wars began more than 18 months ago.

As one of the state's youngest dairy farmers working a farm that had been in the family for three generations, Ray Gresham was considered a star performer by the Queensland Dairy Organisation (QDO).

QDO president Brian Tessmann said a long-time dairy farming family like the Gresham's should have had a secure future, but the dairy's demise was a classic example of how the industry had been crippled by the two major supermarket chains drastically reducing the value of milk.

"If these guys (the Gresham's) can't make a go of it in the position they were in, how can the remaining few?" he questioned.

"I think Coles should explain to dairy farmers' children why they won't have a farm in the future. Coles said its prices wouldn't impact on farmers, but the evidence is quite clear. The government needs to take heed of this and pay attention to the impact back at the farms.

"The domestic industry for milk in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia is clearly suffering.

"Large supermarkets are dominating the price and lowering the value of all milk and the money is not coming down (the supply chain) to the farmer. It's just not there to pass down.

Mr Tessmann said dairy farmers were united in their opposition against this issue and would keep fighting to get a fair outcome for as long as it took.

It's too late for Mr Gresham. He thought supply and demand would eventually balance out the impact from deregulation and continued working 100-hour weeks at a loss.

"To get up at 4am and work until dark to lose money. It was a business decision to close down. We can't keep going on losing hundreds of thousands of dollars each year."

Gympie Times

Topics:  dairy farm price war

Pauline Hanson sets her sights on Gympie

POLITICAL OPERATOR: One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson visited Gympie today.

Gympie can expect a One Nation candidate at the next state election.

Dreamworld deaths 'followed' funeral directors on holiday

Thunder River Rapids ride was next on their list to do

Council staff have the right to feel safe at work: Mayor

Mayor explains why the council took action against a Facebook page

Local Partners

Gympie Jazz and Wine on Wishlist for 2017

After a rousing success at this year's Jazz and Wine Festival, organisers are eyeing August next year for the next one.

Racer seeks Bright future in fight against breast cancer

Sheree Bright takes a corner on Sheeza Instant Gem.

Gympie's Sheree Bright will be racing to raise funds for cancer.

Help make a difference at this weekend's Relay for Life

FILE PHOTO: Another Relay for Life event in Queensland last month.

More than 850 people to walk in Gympie to support cancer sufferers

Rush Festival gets the crowd warmed up

ROCKING OUT: 28 Days rocks out in Nelson Reserve on Sunday night as part of the Rush Festival concert in the park.

Things heated up on stage on a cold Gympie night for the Rush Fest

Steve Irwin's final days through dad's eyes

Bob Irwin with his son Steve.

'You never expect that’s the last time you’re going to see your son'

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals