Coles your are breaking my heart

A few things lately have reminded me of the phrase “live everyday like it is your last” and for me that is waking up everyday to fulfil my legacy for youth in agriculture.

Today we hosted Nuffield Scholar Joe Delves and after spending this week in workshop with a number of our inspiring Young Farming Champions and Young Eco Champions I wish I had known more about Joe so I could have ensured he joined us earlier to meet and inspire the team.

What a breath of fresh air he is and excitingly just the right age to be a Young Farming Champion ( looking forward to bringing the program to UK Joe so we can extend the network and get the same outcomes in your country)

Joe Delves @ Culwalla

Joe Delves lifted my spirits today and I thank Nuffield for giving him the opportunity to do just that  

As you might have guessed Joe hails from the UK. Here is part of his blurb on the Nuffield site

I am a third generation dairy farmer from East Sussex. We are currently running 210 cows and 160 followers ( replacement stock), …. I have a wife called Becky and two gorgeous daughters, Faith who is three and Evie who is one. Our goal as a family is to demonstrate that dairy farming can be sustainable, profitable and fun!!


My Nuffield project is to “How best to save/promote the dairy industry (UK)”

My main reason for wanting to study this topic, was to see if there was some way of linking up exiting farmers and new entrants in the dairy industry. Hoping that this would help to combat the decreasing number of farmers and the ever increasing average age of the dairy farmer. In between these two issues you have other factors such as subsidies, taxation and a lack of long term business planning. I have spent the past months travelling the UK looking at farms and talking to farmers young and old. There is a clear lack of career path for young people, they also lack those farming hero’s to aspire too. We have lost a lot of our pioneer spirit in the UK which I think is the effect of farmers becoming heavily reliant on subsidy. Through my Nuffield Scholarship i hope to reinvigorate the UK dairy industry.

One of the first things Joe said to me is “In the UK my generation likes to think of ourselves as 1st generation business men”. Joe is not only a wealth of ideas he  has put them into practice including innovative ways to give young people a start-up in the industry using corporate investors to buy the land that young farmers cant afford and then finding support for them to fund  purchase of cows and infrastructure

On a personal level it was heartbreaking to show Joe the farm today ravaged by extended dry conditions put to the test by our innovative efforts to counter the devastation caused by the milk price wars instigated by Coles. I have never seen our farm look this barren and in fact I took pictures but don’t want to post them   

This week Coles came out and said “It not our fault dairy farmers are suffering”  Well I say Coles its time you thought about the legacy you wake up everyday to leave for the Australian dairy industry because to me you must have hearts of stone to sleep at night. I can tell you, because I know Australian dairy farmers are being brought to their knees and admit it or not Coles you are part of the reason why.

Come and see my what is left of our beautiful farm, hear our story. We strive to be the best of the best and we are almost broken. How much further you can push us I don’t know, how you justify your marketing practices I don’t know. What I do know you are part of the problem and its time you become part of the solution. Here is a start Coles how about you follow Sainsbury’s lead “Sainsbury’s raise lamb prices for farmers”

Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life

8 thoughts on “Coles your are breaking my heart”

  1. Agree wholeheartly about Coles they only worry about there profit, not where they will be getting their product from in 5 years time.
    By the way Jamberoo is looking extremely dry.

  2. Heart breaking Lynne, to have the future just there then to see the opportunities be taken away from them in the chasing of short term corporate profits. Your land will always be something to be proud of, even when it has its “working clothes on”. Keep up the gr8 work. Cheers

  3. not much different in south west Victoria. High input costs along with low milk prices are sending farmers broke. l heard last night that NAB and CBA have 35 farms between Warnambool and Colac about to fall over! The banks cant afford this! Several locals along with local MP’s have organised a Crisis meeting for monday night at a local small town. Maybe if they can get some press something might happen!

  4. The reason I began the petition to Coles was the inspiration of couple of amazing young men whom I have had the pleasure to teach. They are young, hardworking and extremely proud of the contribution their family is making towards feeding others through dairy. There has to be some social responsibility here from Coles and thinking of these two further steels my resolve.
    Recently I also had the pleasure to tour the new dairy innovation centre at Queensland University, a hub of incredible and practical research. Speaking to some of the farmers there showed just how much effort they put in to improve output with incredible care towards the environment and the health and well being of their animals.
    This is what consumers do not know, and sadly Coles will not highlight as their agenda is not the same. We need to keep being vocal and educating consumers and apply pressure to bring about change.
    Your work is so inspiring Lynne and your passion for a bright future in agriculture for our youth is so incredible.
    May you receive rain soon.

  5. Coles only worry about the end dollar, that why I never buy Coles or safeway brand products, it is only by hitting them where it hurts will we make a difference!

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