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State Govt funds counselling for dairy farmers

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The State Government is contributing $60,000 to help deliver financial advice and counselling to dairy farmers who are struggling with a drop in milk prices.

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State Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell said today the funds would match Dairy Australia’s contribution to help deliver the industry body’s “Taking Stock” program in SA.

Taking Stock offers farmers one-on-one sessions with a financial consultant, as well as providing general business advice and mental health support.

The new money is in addition to $500,000 provided by the State Government to Rural Business Support’s financial counselling services and a financial literacy pilot program run by Dairy SA.

Dairy farmers across Australia have been hit by price-drop announcements by the country’s three biggest processors – Murray Goulburn, Fonterra and Lion Dairy and Drinks.

Bignell says the price drops vary, but for farmers delivering to Murray Goulburn it could mean a drop in income of up to 20 per cent.

He said the Government “will do everything we can to help” dairy farmers affected by the price cuts.

“I will also be seeking an urgent meeting with Fonterra while in the New Zealand for the Agriculture Ministers’ Conference this week and I will be raising this issue with other state ministers and the Federal Government,” Bignell said.

SA Dairyfarmers’ Association president David Basham said a number of dairy farmers were “in a degree of shock” following the price-cutting announcements.

He said they were “finding it tough just to work through what this will actually mean for their families and their businesses”.

As a result, the industry asked for additional support to fill a gap in the provision of one-to-one business and personal counselling.

South Australia has more than 250 dairy farms.

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