Tuesday, February 27, 2018


The BROKEN SYSTEM requests your support and participation. In fact it demands it - for its own survival's sake!!

Like lambs to the slaughter, you have been groomed and brainwashed so effectively by decades of propaganda - that you have in fact become willing participants en mass, feeding the big machine, that is in turn sucking the life-blood from the very same planet that sustains and supports us as increasingly weak individuals :(

After centuries of degenerative agriculture, and industrialized pollution, and more recently decades of a massive human population explosion, our impact as CONSUMERS has taken it's toll on our one and only shot at existence - PLANET EARTH.

On a daily basis - you are being convinced you are too broke to make any changes in your life, convinced that 'surviving' is the end goal, and a major victory...for you. All the while - handing over what precious little you have, to nourish the machine that is sucking all the life-giving nutrients and resources from our planet. Yes the machine (BIG BUSINESS & BIG GOVERNMENT) is today hard-wired for massive profits, and will bulldoze anything and anyone who dares stand in the way of the status quo.

So it's all over red rover, you might ask?? It's too late and there's nothing we can do, you might quip?? Depends who you talk to - NO, not if you ask me!!

Knowledge and most importantly, its application is where the TRUE POWER lies. Learning, absorbing, understanding the consequences of our actions as individuals is the path to positive change. As there are revolutions happening across multiple fronts on a global scale, the masses will soon overthrow the DICTATORSHIP, in a 'old-school' mutiny.

But we live in an increasingly 'free-world', you observe. This talk of a dictatorship is a nonsense and nothing more than a conspiracy!!

Really? As you are tricked into SAVING money at every opportunity, you have unknowingly withdrawn your financial support of small business, and the growers of your food. Mainstream Media spews this rhetoric at us all on a never-ending loop, with an unapologetic level of insincerity. Why? Because they are controlled by the Corporate Giants who generate $BILLION profits at your expense. BIG GOVERNMENT are also held at ransom to the same GIANTS. Governments the world over are also hard-wired for profit for a different reason. It's out of FEAR as they slip deeper into debt - with some countries now $TRILLIONS in the red :(

The business model you've grown up to believe in has become an illusion. What we are today left with are the remnants of a vision called Capitalism. We no longer live in Democratic societies, applying the intended morals and ethics of the Capitalist movement. The Titanic is going down, and she's taking us all with her!!

Think about it - what is the Queen Bee...without her workers?? Would she have reason to exist? Would she even be able to exist?? What are the $BILLION Corporations, and the obscenely wealthy...without us? Would they be capable of existence without the support from BILLIONS of us 'little people'??

Repression of us as individuals has been for far too long the life-support system for obscene wealth in the 'free-world'. BIG BUSINESS knows it all too well. You know what the irony is? They have successfully convinced us that they are the 'life-support' system for us, the weak, disillusioned, poverty stricken, broken 'little people'. Hmmm...that's a scary reality for them, as there is an awakening around the world, and yes little individuals are becoming enlightened to this truth by the MILLIONS.

BIG BUSINESS be afraid! CORPORATE GIANTS be very afraid!! You will not survive without the ongoing subservient support of us minions. The tail has been wagging the dog for far too long. As the millions become BILLIONS of 'wide-awake' individuals, all businesses will be held to account for their operating practices - financial support will be handed out $1 at a time. Companies and businesses large and small will be appropriately rewarded on merit by us, 'the people', due to their application of morals and ethics.

It has already started, and the movement is rapidly gaining momentum. Only when we consistently and persistently withdraw our financial support, and realign it where appropriate will things change. Then, we will see a slow and painful death inflicted upon the very same organisations who have for decades been inflicting a slow and painful death on our home, our planet.


NEW WORLD ORDER will be restored as 'Earthlings' take back control of their 'Mothership' :)

Join me on my 4Real Pilgrimage in the coming year, as I travel the world - and discover how other Countries are growing their food, and supporting their farmers!

Farmer Gregie :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Accidental Activist

Born to dairy farming parents (and grandparents on both sides!), I grew up a country boy. Despite all the simple pleasures of life on a dairy farm - I never used to mind the long hours...the 7 days a week. It always felt like I was accomplishing something for the greater good. Yes my family was putting milk on your weetbix and in you coffee. My family was starting your day - and fueling an entire nation. And in a broad sense, I really do believe that our efforts didn't go unnoticed by the wider community. We, the humble dairy farmer was respected and appreciated by the masses - because most people knew and understood the sacrifices and commitments we made on farm, on a daily basis.

Well that was then...and this is now! Back THEN (in my formative years of the 70s and 80s) the big majority of people (even those who lived in the big towns and cities) had a close friend or relative who they would visit regularly, on a dairy farm. Back then - there were 4 times as many dairy farms, in an Australia that had half the population we do today. For those who love statistics - that represents an 800% decrease in dairy farms per Aussie citizen!!

To the here and now? I think it's fair to say that most Aussie dairy farmers are no longer feeling the love that once existed. In fact many are feeling the literal HEAT (through climate and financial decimation) and HATE (from very vocal and badly mislead animal rights minorities). It is because of these injustices that I have felt compelled to become more than just a dairy farmer (which in its own right is still a very honourable and highly valued profession), and somehow started walking the path of an Accidental Activist.

In my case that has meant facing some huge challenges on a regular basis - because I am highly unskilled and untrained in this arena. It can feel like a pretty lonely path to walk, and much of my time can feel more like I'm failing...rather than succeeding. But despite the perceived failures, I pick myself up, and dust myself off, and keep chipping away - I feel as though I have too!!

NOW - the world is a different place. If any of us see things in society that we don't like, then it should be up to us to make the change. Forget about your Government, or Corporate Giants doing what is moral and right - they are just not wired that way. People Power exists - when millions of individuals change their behaviour, through actions (remember...talk is cheap), only then with things change for the better. Of course on the flip side - People Power works just as effectively through our inaction, it doesn't discriminate. If we as a collective of millions don't make any changes, then nothing will change. I'm sure many of you are familiar with Einstein's definition of INSANITY.

Hmmm...welcome to NOW. The historic point in time where humans have been happy to blame anyone and everyone for their woes, because that is easier than breaking our habits and changing our behaviours. Governments and Big Business around the world know this - their success and survival depends of us, the little people, playing their game - with their rules. We don't have to...we choose to!

I guess I am trying to become a 'thought leader' of sorts. My strong desire is to stimulate open conversation, and encourage others to analyse what is happening, and why. Our farmers are dying within their respective industries. And the survivors are becoming increasingly at risk of facing massive disruptions through mental health - as we know the risk of depression, anxiety and suicide are close to 3 times the national average among farmers. Not a great incentive to remain farming.

Maybe I'm a screw loose. What am I thinking with my next bold adventure? Well to be honest, I've been in the trenches fighting the good fight to the best of my limited ability for many years now, and just not having much impact. Change within Australian agriculture is not happening. Consumer spending habits are not changing (no where near quick enough anyway). If something doesn't give soon - you will be relying on other countries to feed you. We cannot expect Aussie farmers to stay alive in business when the flow of money (from the consumer) doesn't cover the cost of producing your food...doesn't enable farmers to pay their bills every month.

So I think it's fair to say, "I can't see the forest for the trees!" I've been up too close and personal with this battle. I think I'm suffocating in my inability to effect change. My idea to travel the world and document my findings, from 52 countries in 52 weeks - is to help Aussie farmers find a way to survive. But most importantly, I want to share the journey with you - the 'townie', the 'city slicker' (terms I use with love and respect!). I want to help you...help us!! I want to reconnect CITY with COUNTRY on a massive scale - so you can see, understand and appreciate what goes into producing your food on a daily basis...just like maybe your parents and grandparents used to see first hand.

I get that the overwhelming majority of you have no desire to ever visit a farm. I'm cool with that. But you still eat food...right? We cannot afford to ever lose touch with our farmers, and where our food comes from. REAL FOOD is our medicine. REAL FOOD will continue to give us life - here on Earth.

Please support this campaign - for without your help, I am nothing, my voice will disappear. As long as I have a receptive audience...I want to share my insights, and my life lessons :)


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Dairy Industry to Disappear in 10 Years!!

I do like to share my thoughts and opinions with a level of enthusiasm that disturbs some people  In truth however, I am quite an analytical being - and my 'opinions' are based on a lot of research, backed by real statistics and good science 

Never before in documented human history has it been easier to access information - on anything...and everything!! It is readily available online, and totally FREE  How awesome - right???

Well, awesome depending whether you're okay with being misled, or genuine in your search of truth...hmmm?? At the end of the day it is up to you, do you own due diligence and be comfortable in your findings. My concern remains with teenagers in their formative years, as their endless hunger for knowledge is at its core healthy - it may lead them to a state of confusion...for years 

Perfect example, on my Facebook page the other day - when a well meaning lady was going to educate me, sharing an article that categorically stated "EXPERTS PREDICT DAIRY INDUSTRY COULD DISAPPEAR IN 10 YEARS". Well of course my immediate reaction was - YES!! that makes perfect sense  NOT  

Now some of you may have heard of an old saying, "And pigs will fly". Maybe if I was to google that, some EXPERT will have already written an article on why it is likely that one day pigs will fly  So I chose not to open the link that was so kindly offered to me (just as I have not yet googled if Pigs Can Fly!!) Rather I googled a couple of other things relating to the DAIRY INDUSTRY 

So what did I uncover???

Most importantly - I got information from a body called FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANISATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS - who base their information from REAL statistics. In their opening paragraph they stated, 

"Milk is one of most produced and valuable agricultural commodities worldwide. In 2013, with a total production of 770 billion litres valued at USD 328 billion, milk ranked third by production tonnage and was the top agricultural commodity in value terms the world over. Milk contributes 27% to the global value added of livestock and 10% to that of agriculture."

What does that mean?? DAIRY is massive globally. 

So what you say - 2013 figures...old information!!

Okay - maybe we'll cross-reference and look at the INTERNATIONAL DAIRY FEDERATION's World Outlook. Interesting.

In every 5 year increment since 2000 - global per capita consumption has increased, and the gap between 'supply' and 'demand' is widening.

In each of the last 5 years individually - per capita consumption has increased.
Dairy had grown to 818 billion litres in 2015 - with forecasts of a 12.5% increase by 2025. Hmmm - so it then has to go from approx 920 billion litres to ZERO in the following 3 years???
Phew...maybe I'll sleep okay tonight after all 

Now on the other issue - PIGS might one day fly...if only us humans would stop fattening them for pork and bacon, they'd be so much lighter 

Yep - right about the same time as the DAIRY INDUSTRY disappears...PIGS MIGHT FLY 

Farmer Gregie 

Friday, January 20, 2017


Farmers are Fighting Spot Fires on Multiple Fronts - While Trying Their Hardest to Stay Afloat in Business!! Farming is not for the faint hearted. Generational farmers have been conditioned to the highs and lows that come with the territory. They understand only too well, that when the going gets tough...you just get tougher!! But today represents a changing landscape, where consumer support is dissipating, empathy evaporating, climate changing, and spirits on the land are sinking to an all time low.

Recent decades have seen an undeniable drift away from rural towns, as corporate intervention and domination has forced unrealistic efficiencies onto family farms. What once represented financial opportunities for Aussie families has been transformed into heartache and heartbreak - as Mum's & Dad's in their thousands, encourage their kids to get a degree or a trade, and leave the family farm, move to the towns or cities...where financial opportunities now reside. So dramatic has been this transition...that today only about 1% of Aussies produce all the food you eat!!

The endless migration from the country to the coastline is putting increasing pressures on infrastructure, and big cities are playing the never-ending catch up game - with transport, roads, schools, and hospitals. Rural and regional centres have become ghost towns, where existing infrastructure has effectively been made redundant.

The hugely negative impact of these trends (which are global, not just national), is the byproduct of this mass scale development...pollution!! People en mass have unintentionally become CONSUMERS rather than PRODUCERS. Job opportunities and lifestyle choices have seen the human being drift towards a life of excess. The requirements to 'power' our modern daily life are quite simply depleting our planet of resources...while giving nothing back. Pollution is poisoning our soils and waterways, in which our food grows, causing our air to become toxic, and unquestionably creating Climate Change. Back at farm level, the environment is putting ever increasing pressures on farm management, animal welfare and crop production. It's like the big fellow upstairs is effectively applying the blow torch - we'd better start paying attention!!

In an ironic twist, as people ARE paying attention, some sectors are quoting selective science - and condemning ANIMAL AGRICULTURE as the biggest culprit of Climate Change. To them the solution is simple...all Animal Agriculture must be stopped immediately!! Of course these minority groups feel strongly about their cause, having personally made lifestyle choices in alignment with their own beliefs. Much like a religious argument between a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist or a Hindu...prove to me who is right and who is wrong?? Having a different faith does not make you superior or inferior - and I'm sure we'd have seen a lot less death and destruction over the centuries if humans could just acknowledge and accept our differences, and be okay with them.

Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against individuals making decisions that align with their beliefs...as long as it doesn't hurt other people, or negatively impact my life. Unfortunately the group I speak of, Vegans, have zero acceptance for people who's beliefs do not align. I'm yet to be convinced whether Veganism is a trend or a fad. I do know from some basic research that 86% of Vegans are 44 years or younger. Hmmm, so do they die young? Or maybe they kick the unsustainable habit? I have been told by many people, of their friend or family member who 'was' a Vegan, but couldn't maintain physical or mental health and stability. I've also been told by numerous GP's that Vegans are their unhealthiest and crankiest patients!! (Okay - not very scientific...but a genuine observation).

Veganism (not to be confused with Vegetarians - who are regularly more relaxed with their food choices) is not a new thing - it was founded in 1944. Despite this year celebrating it's 73rd birthday, only about 1% of our population are true Vegans. Incredibly though, they are a very VOCAL minority, and their online presence is fierce. Sadly by tugging on emotional heartstrings, they prey on people at their most vulnerable stage of life - teenagers. Not surprisingly teenage and twenty-something girls comprise a huge percentage. I don't tell Vegans what they should eat, or how they should live their life - but it's getting to a point where the other 99% need to exercise our rights as fellow human beings, and say enough!! We need to rise up against the uprising!!

Much like some of the religious cults of the 70's and 80's, there is a level of propaganda and brainwashing at play here. Half-truths and straight lies are infused with emotional trauma - leaving new conscripts powerless, succumbing to the Vegan way. Science is selected to back their position from a logical perspective, videos go viral to reinforce the animal cruelty claims. The tricky part of this challenge, in sharing an alternate truth from an omnivore's perspective, is to do so respectfully - not lowering our actions to the levels of condemnation of any person who's belief or mantra differs to our own.

A balanced counter argument must be presented. Only through BALANCE can equilibrium be maintained - as throughout documented history, we are taught over and over and over again...that extremist views are neither healthy or sustainable!! The level of hypocrisy surrounding the Vegan lifestyle is mind-boggling. If we look a little deeper into their philosophies, beyond the immediate choice to boycott ALL ANIMAL PRODUCTS (food and clothing), they are very much about inflicting minimal damage to the planet they hope to save. OR ARE THEY?? Google DEEP ECOLOGY...as that is one of their core mantras. I am not taking this definition out of context - "Deep ecology's core principle is the belief that the living environment as a whole should be respected and regarded as having certain inalienable legal rights to live and flourish, independent of its utilitarian instrumental benefits for human use."

Now I didn't write the Vegan handbook...I didn't play any role teaching their principles...their motives appear black and white - don't they?? Then how have they become so selective of what behaviors they apply, and which perceived problems are worthy of human intervention?? Why is so much of what a Vegan does during their daily existence in complete conflict with their commitment to effect change??

Let's for one moment forget about their dietary choices...and reflect on a few modern day dilemmas the average Vegan might be contributing to -
1. What are the cars, buses, trains, motorbikes, pushbikes, aeroplanes that Vegans use for transport built from?
2. Where are all these transport vehicles manufactured?
3. What are these vehicles powered on? (pushbike excepted!!)
4. What is used to construct the purpose built roads and highways that all the above vehicles travel on?
5. Have Vegans ever shown concern for the collateral damage inflicted on native animals, or held protests and vigils roadside? There is more 'roadkill' every year, than farm animals slaughtered for our dietary requirements...thanks to our choice of transport, on the roads that we built!!
6. Were there ever trees growing on the site of the Vegan's house/unit/appartment/workplace??
7. What is the Vegan home or workplace built from? Timber? Steel? Concrete?
8. As overactive online warriors...what materials were required to build the mobile devices (smart phones, tables, laptops) they use on a daily basis?
9. Where and how is all of this 'modern technology' manufactured?
10. Is a Vegan's cat always locked inside, so that's it's natural instincts to kill native animals are not fulfilled?
11. If a Vegan owns a horse and feeds it hay, are they aware of the loss of life in the production of that hay? (frogs, toads, little birds, mice, hares, snakes, lizards...)
12. Soya beans make tofu/soy milk etc, cereal crops make bread/pasta etc - daily staples. How are these crops grown and harvested? What was the land prior to being reclaimed as agricultural land??

Now honestly, I could go on and on - because the more I think about modern life...the longer this list will become. So I've just quit with an even dozen hugely conflicting enterprises and products that Vegans support and enjoy during routine daily life - seemingly guilt free! A true Vegan will not likely have read this deep into my blog, because logic and common sense are their enemy. They have been brainwashed by propaganda - some may yet be saved...some never will. While non-vegans like myself can present a balanced, rational argument to the merits of our choices, and the flaws in theirs - Vegans seem incapable of doing likewise. I am regularly called 'too smart' or 'so stupid' in the wonderful world of social media...where people can hide behind their profile pic, parading to be 10 foot tall and bulletproof. When they do venture out in groups, and publicly protest about the perceived atrocities to farm animals - they almost always prolong the stress levels and suffering of animals destined for slaughter anyway! So much for truly caring!!

As a non Vegan...and proud of it - I have little to no intention of attacking their way of life or belittling them personally (even though they specialise in those actions against us). To be honest I've got much more important things to do with my time! The truth is they brought the fight to me, and all of my hard working, law abiding, good living farming friends, and the wider meat eating, milk drinking community!! We have done nothing to deserve the victimisation we are today experiencing. They won't be defeated overnight, they will never be defeated. That is okay, because I (and we all should) respect differences of opinion, and differing lifestyle choices. I do feel compelled however to bring balance to the dinner table, presenting the facts I've uncovered from my thorough research. There is no need to fight fire with fire...that only makes things become more heated. I'm pretty keen for us all to throw water on their fire. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer - sound familiar? In this case, know and understand their motives as some of their concepts around agriculture in general are quite sound. Best management practices and sustainability will play increasingly important roles in any kind of future farming. Knowing what they stand for also draws attention to the many levels on which they are failing their founding fathers, and ultimately themselves. Their actions should reinforce their beliefs...but as you see they have a fundamental problem.

The Vegan argument is as flawed as their will to convert the masses. Science is strongly backing the position that Animal Fats are a vital part of the human diet. We have recently learned that in fact for proper BRAIN FUNCTION, the consumption of animal fats is essential (not recommended). So next time you get tangled up in an uncomfortably irrational argument with a Vegan, online or in real life, spare a thought for them...having not eaten animal fats for some months, or possibly years, they are quite simply not thinking straight!! Their brain has quite literally 'checked out'. Sadly they are also completely oblivious to their current reality :( Until they walk the talk - they won't be showered with adulation by me!!

As a collective society, we can only achieve harmony through sustainability and balance - not condemnation and bitterness. By make healthy choices and supporting ethical food production businesses, like 4REAL MILK, you can become a part of the solution - rather than perpetuating the perceived problem.

Farmer Gregie ;)


Friday, December 2, 2016

Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans!!

I have found in recent weeks, while doing my farm work with lots of time to think in the tractor, that I was overwhelmed with a feeling of love and warmth...for life! In coming to terms with my new reality, I certainly haven't handled it very well at times and never expected it to be the challenge it has been. It has indeed been a very intense few weeks. But as I get a grasp of my life as it will be in the future (because it will never be the same again), I've been processing many thoughts. I've moved through the anger, the frustration, the bitterness - to a point of realization of how many good times I've had and shared with my wife. More than half of her life, almost half of mine that we've been together...so many special memories. I am not going to be driven by that anger and frustration that I have gone through in the past few weeks. I am not going to cling to the bitterness of our ending. I will one day start dating again, I will find somebody else - as the old saying goes, "If you're bucked from the horse, you've got to climb back on!" Dare I say it in this politically correct world...it will be a different horse obviously - I'll be riding a different filly :) I am a big hearted person. I love to share and give of what I've got. I am excited about the prospect of sharing what happens in and around my life with a special lady in the near future.

I really do feel strongly, when that special someone comes along...she can't be a jealous girl. She has to be ok with the fact that I have two beautiful children. She has to be ok with the reality that I will have an ongoing relationship with my ex-wife, hopefully as a good friend at some point down the track. I do have many great memories with her - she played a starring role in my life. There were some incredible experiences we shared intimately, they will always be with me. Much like some of the greatest hits from musicians...the songs play on long after the relationships end. Sonny & Cher "I got you babe", Ike & Tina Turner "Nutbush City Limits", Shane Nicholson & Kasey Chambers "Once In A While". Sadly they're no longer together, but they made some great music while they were!! The good times are very real when they are happening - the memories will last a lifetime.

This life changing event did in fact lead to the darkest time in my existence. Despite my ongoing battle with depression, and willingness to share openly of my story, I genuinely believe that for the first time I experienced suicidal thoughts. It was very real to me, and yes it was very frightening. My life purpose seemed no longer to exist. I didn't feel like a lost a part of who I am...it actually felt like I lost all of who I was. In doing so, the will to live, the need to stay on planet earth no longer seemed relevant to me. Of course those feelings were very real, and I had to acknowledge them for what they were - FEELINGS. They were however not my truth, and I had to find a way to stay in the game...until those feelings passed. At a time when I felt most vulnerable, I made a conscious decision to not have a single beer...until. That was only for a couple of weeks - and I believe my mental stability bounced back fairly quickly, as I continued to feel DOWN but not OUT!!

One of the most daunting prospects for me has been to accept that I am again single. Although many would perceive me to be bubbling with confidence, I grew up a very shy, insecure teen - and even into my early 20's. I spent most of my formative years thinking 'I am not worthy', wishing I was better looking, taller, more confident. My self-esteem was almost non-existent, and by the ripe old age of 23, I totally believed I would die an old bachelor :( So despite working hard on myself over the years, and developing a level of self belief in my abilities - all those feelings of insecurity came flooding back. Again I must acknowledge them for what they are...yes they are feelings - but they need not be my truth, or my reality. If you understand that my wife was only my second ever girlfriend, and the first one I shared physical intimacy with - you might be able to get a grasp of my fears. I have joked in recent years, "I wish I had enjoyed this level of confidence in who I am way back when I was single!!" Note to self...be very careful what you wish for!! Now I am again single, it doesn't feel too exciting at all.

I don't know that I will ever understand why my wife and I couldn't resolve our issues. However my commitment to a core belief remains rock solid..."All thing happen for a reason". To understand is unimportant, to accept is critical. It's a bit like unconditional love. There are people in your life who you will continue to love without question, at times despite their actions, or your ability to comprehend their actions. In this situation, for me to not submit to complete acceptance would simply paralyse me - to have me suspended in a state fit for the living dead. I don't choose that for my life, and I definitely hope my wife can soon find her way clear of the pain too. Honestly I never imagined that the old say, "Happy wife, happy life", would translate to getting rid of me. But hey, if that leads her to true happiness, that's a great outcome. I still want that for her - even today.

One of the most fascinating things I've had to work through in recent weeks is my perception. The hardest part to cope with has been letting go of the illusion of what I wanted in life. I'm sure most of us dream of the perfect relationship with a life partner. To be cut loose from such a long term relationship is absolutely terrifying. It felt like having your parachute cords cut, and going into freefall a few thousand metres above the ground. But what if you weren't flying so high after all, and the cords cut were the ones holding you down? That is the power of perception. Perhaps only now that I've been cut loose can I truly soar high. I also believe that sharing life experiences makes a huge contribution to the lives closest to you...for better or worse. If positively aligned, this can be incredibly uplifting. I guess it can therefore have an equally destructive contribution and drag you down should your life directions change.

Today I find myself fighting a battle much bigger than 'me' on a daily basis. Sadly what seems to energise me was depleting my wife. I think she understands that the old me no longer exists...and he's never coming back. Farmer Gregie the Superhero (in his own little bubble!!) hosting farm tours and speaking out publicly about the injustices inflicted on Aussie farmers nationwide, is here to stay. I will continue to make things happen to the best of my ability, I do accept as John Lennon sang so eloquently in 1980..."Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans". I am still a hopeless romantic, and believe in old fashioned love. I have a quiet confidence that the right woman will one day pop up in my circles, and I'll be thrilled to have her join in on this magical mystery tour that has become my LIFE!!

Farmer Gregie ;)

Music will always mean a lot to me...preach it Garth!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

LIFE - The Good...the Bad...and the incredibly UGLY !!!

LIFE - It is what it is...that can't be denied!

As sure as the sun will come up tomorrow - some will condemn my desire to share personal thoughts and feelings in this blog. Just as most of my favourite musicians are openly lambasted for their willingness to pen heartache and heart-break into song...Taylor Swift, Gary Allan, Keith Urban, Sara Evans, Joe Nichols, Rob Thomas, Adele and Ed Sheeran have resisted calls from some sectors to STOP SHARING!! I along with millions of hardcore fans am eternally grateful, as so often their lyrics resonate with our own personal struggles as mere mortals - helping us wade through the quagmire that is 'our' life.

There must be a valid reason for my 'over-sharing'. Perhaps it will help you through some of your own battles? Maybe something I say here will prove to become a lightbulb moment...for you! Either way, we'll agree to disagree if you don't like what I do or say. Actually, I have a strong feeling if you are a non-believer in my methods you won't have read this far anyway. Good for you - you've personally made the right choice. If you're sill reading...DITTO :)

I believe strongly that 'all things happen for a reason'. Now more than ever before in my life I must maintain faith that this in fact is true. There are times when things simply do not make sense, and I guess that will remain the case - until they make sense...for as long as it takes!!  2016 shaped as a tremendous milestone year for my family - with our 21st wedding anniversary, wife's 40th, daughter's 18th, son's 10th...and now I can add another that I didn't see coming. You see, after 21 years married - I am now 21 days single. So many of you have undoubtedly gone through a breakup in your own life, but until you experience it personally you really have no comprehension of the range of emotions you are about to be subjected to!!

Despite having experienced the depths of clinical depression back in 2010, I have never before felt as devastated, as gutted as I have in the past few weeks. I've never before felt as emotionally wrecked as I did right then, when the news was broken to me. A sense of numbness flooded over me - and every aspect of life seemed to hold no meaning whatsoever during the ensuing days. The pain seemed even more extreme than mourning for the loss of a close friend or family member...through death.

In an amazing twist of irony, I am quickly coming to terms with what has happened - and why. To say I didn't see it coming is a stretch...it just felt that way. To be honest, my wife and I have been battling our own demons (actually we've both been mainly battling my personal demons) for many years now. Obviously over the 22 year relationship, I came to know this woman incredibly well. She has an ability to read people better than anyone I've ever met before. Her instincts have rarely proven to be far off the mark!! Hmmm...so if I genuinely believe in 'all things for a reason', and I continue to trust her judgement - things are already starting to make more sense. The irony you ask? It is actually my confidence in her perception of reality that is helping me cope with a truth I'd been denying.

When the bad news hits you (if you are the recipient), you can't help but take it very personally - and focus intensely only on your own emotions. There's a physical illness that washes over you with an intensity like never before. Initially I held no consideration of what a huge life decision this was for my wife. For a woman who is so zealously devoted to family - she must have agonized over this decision for months...if not years. And knowing me as she has for 22 years, she obviously feels that all hope for us is lost. My actions, my choices over a protracted period of time have put her in that position - and I'm sure she is as crushed as I am. If anything my admiration for her has been elevated - not diminished. She did what I was unable to do, in calling time on a troubled relationship that was not moving forward. That decision would have been heart-wrenching, but the action was hugely courageous.

Hindsight is 20/20 indeed!! I always believed that we would talk things through, and work things out...one day. But 'one day' drifts into months and then years, before it finally arrives. In my case - that day became a finality, not a reconciliation. If you are struggling in a relationship worth saving, then get to work on it NOW. To wait will only enhance the odds of complete failure.

Perhaps one of my most redeeming features is to look towards BIG PICTURE solutions. It may also be my downfall, as my desire to help others may at times come at the expense of my personal health and well-being...and that of my immediate family.

I will be forever grateful that both my ex and I have a tremendous support base in our immediate and extended families. They have given us both strength in our time of most need, and you just can't put a value on that. The past three weeks have felt like hell, but thankfully, day by day the intense pain is subsiding. As for our dysfunctional relationship...she is an amazing woman, and I do have my 'amazing' moments - but sadly we couldn't find a way to be 'amazing together'.

Please understand - I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm definitely not about to start playing the blame game. There is no right or wrong here, but rather an inability to resolve differences. If it sounds like my clinical assessment is devoid of emotion, believe me the past few weeks have been anything but!! It's just that I am quickly coming to terms with the gravity of my altered reality. There a two beautiful young people on the planet, who desperately need for their Mum and Dad to be supportive role models. I consciously want to deny the opportunity for anger and bitterness to control my life. No matter what has come and gone for me - the constant in my kid's life remains, and she is the best Mum they could have ever wished for.

I've been left to do a lot of soul-searching. I am a heavily flawed human being and that, I will never deny. There are some valuable lessons I must learn moving forward. I will continue to question my purpose in life, and remain hopeful that the right answers will be forthcoming. My family of 4 has now become 3 - but my kids still have two parents who love them unconditionally. If I can become a better person out of this very painful experience...then everyone wins. Hoping to continue playing as important a role in my kid's lives as they will in mine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Are consumers really being given VALUE FOR MONEY?

$1 milk - good deal...or bad deal??

Fascinating isn't it, in a world where almost half the population have dropped below the poverty line, battling starvation on a daily basis - the other half are fighting off the frightening man-made epidemic...OBESITY!! All things being equal, should that not mean that we are enjoying a healthy balance of nutrient intake, and physical body weight...as a global village? You may question the relevance of this statement, in the context of the below article. Happy to explain it straight up, right now.

The global retail industry that is dominating today, is doing so under false pretenses. While appearing to be supportive of your cause, in a financially troubled would - you are going nowhere fast...while they (the retail giants) continue to stack double digit growth figures on top of each other, year after year after year. That is impressive isn't it - considering how all of their valued and loyal customers...YOU, thought they were offering tremendous prices wars and discount specials!! How is that feasible? They make $$ billion profits, while you and I struggle to pay our bills. Yet as a collective society, we blindly maintain the status quo - giving them a big old slap on the back, saying, "Love what you are doing for us...keep up the great work!!" Whether it be Walmart in the USA, Tesco in the UK, Aldi or Lidl in Germany or Coles and Woolies in Australia, we are willingly pouring bucket loads of our hard earned into their coffers. Marketing spin at its very best indeed.

Now it is almost five years since the WAR ON MILK started - Australia Day 2011. The Duopoly rarely maintain a price attack (slickly sold to you the consumer as a price discount) on one product, over such a protracted period of time.

Why milk? Why a sustained attack on the dairy farmer? The answer is simple...greed (y) This has proven to be such a successful 'LOSS LEADER' for the giant retailers, that they have chosen to continue it strategically...whatever the cost :(

The cost to the huge corporations at retail level? It is irrelevant, because of their ability to shuffle margins across many thousands of product lines. While they are knowingly losing money on $1 milk, they could literally be making 1000%, or even 2000% plus profits on imported items (y) Not possible you say!! Well, that toothbrush you paid $2, may have been imported for 20c...that is 1000%. Perhaps the bottle of shampoo for $10, may have been imported for 50c...that is 2000%. Of course I'm just making these numbers up, as I have no idea of the actual costs - but I do understand that's how it works.

Don't be alarmed by the frightening news of their drop in profits this year. As Woolies and Coles hit a pothole in the road, they posted a drop in profits of 12.5% and 9.3%. Does that mean they experienced a loss? NO WAY - Woolies and Coles profits for the 2014/2015 financial year were $2.15 BILLION and $2.44 BILLION respectively! That represents the fourth consecutive financial year while selling $1 milk that they have both exceeded $1.5 billion profits...yes profits not revenue!!

Just remember, while Woolies and Coles knowingly and deliberately lose money on fresh milk (they have told us so publicly), they made a combined PROFIT of $4.59 BILLION for the 2014/2015 financial year!!! Back in 2011 Coles stated this would not hurt the dairy farmer...but industry figures show the average dairy farmer, across the entire state of Queensland...posted a LOSS for the same financial year.

You see, most dairy farmers I know don't have 10,000+ products to shuffle margins - they have ONE. It is called milk, and if they lose money on milk...they make a LOSS. The war on milk, compliments of retailers, has dragged the farm gate milk price back to the where it was in the 90's. Hard to believe, but the Queensland dairy farmer today, is being paid 1990's milk prices by their big milk company. It has not only given the consumer a new point of reference as to the perceived 'value' of milk in stores, but it has also educated the independent retailer of a new and improved wholesale price point for fresh milk, as major milk processing companies continue to undercut each other for market share.

How is this your problem, as a consumer? Many I've spoken to don't think it is an issue at all, as they are enjoying the savings they receive. My question to them is, "At what cost...are the savings coming to you?" When we put the cost impact of milk in perspective - is it really out of your price range? The true value of fresh milk is $2/L. So if your family was to drink 10L a week, that represents a $10 cost. Yes an extra $1/L on whatever your household consumption is. Cost impact? Save a $1/L on milk by supporting this war, and you help sink your local dairy industry. Spend and extra $1/L on milk, and you secure the future of your local dairy industry.

But who really cares whether our fresh milk is produced locally, or whether it is coming from the southern states or Australia? It is still Australian right? Sure it is...for now. The truth is we know there will be tremendous competition for high quality, 'safe' food in the near future from many countries in South-East Asia (it has already started actually). The southern states are heavily geared to manufacture and export commodities, like powdered milk and butter. As soon as we reach a tipping 'price point' where milk processors are rewarded a better price for exports...than they are for domestic milk supply, which has been devalued by the Retail Giants who we now know to be devoid of a social conscience - GOOD LUCK!!!

Good luck? That seems a bit harsh you say! Not at all. Processors will seek markets that help them generate profits too. As they are losing money from the sales of milk at $1/L (as are the retailers and dairy farmers), they will inevitably seek better opportunities. The DUOPOLY + ALDI are remaining rock solid on their intent to break the Australian Dairy Industry. Understand that survival is a basic human instinct. It will remain a driving force at the core of our business, our family and our life. Market signals are driving us as an industry away from domestic sales...towards export opportunities. You don't have to like it, or even agree with me - but you the consumer, who spend 80% of your money with the BIG 3, and support the continuation of supermarket milk sales with 50% at $1/L on a daily basis - are helping the above scenario speed up.

Now that Aldi are firmly in the frame...what do you know about them? They did actually start the war on milk, and Coles copied their lead...as did Woolies. Who are Aldi? They were originally owned and managed by brothers Karl Albrecht and Theo Albrecht. Sadly Karl Albrecht passed away in 2014, leaving Theo with a personal wealth of €17.2 BILLION ($27AUD Billion), making him the richest man in Germany, with the co-owners of Aldi Nord, Berthold and Theo Albrecht Jr., close behind at €16 billion ($25 Billion). Globally Aldi have a revenue of over €60 billion ($94 billion) from more than 10,000 stores. Oh, and Lidl will soon join the picture to - they are bigger than Aldi, with over 10,000 stores across 28 countries in Europe alone. Their revenue is now exceeding $100 Billion.

Despite the fact I've said it all before...over, and over, and over, and over again - the huge majority remain oblivious to this truth, to this reality. The people I get to talk to on a daily basis, are amazed - even bemused as to why they were unaware? They were shocked that they were aiding in the demise of the local dairy industry, as they had never been given the knowledge to make an informed decision. Marketing spin is a great tool to increase sales. But it is a frightening day when we allow, and accept that it's OK for retailers to educate consumers...as to the correct retail price point for our high quality, locally produced, fresh food. If these retailers set prices at an unsustainable low price - rest assured, it is a means to an end for them...not YOU!!

What could the end game possibly be? A continuation of downward pressure on suppliers is seeing them go out of business. Over time, repetition of these actions will open the door for more cheap imports - and that will enable retail giants to increase margins and subsequently - profits. It also gives them the perfect 'out', by saying to you the consumer..."Sorry, but we are unable to source items ABC locally anymore as they just aren't available." Happy days for retailers, and you now get to buy whatever is on the shelf - whether you like it or not!

As we have known for years, retail giants have been breaking local suppliers financially. The ACCC is finally stepping in, but their power to repair this broken system is questionable. We saw last year the ACCC take positive action, fining Coles $10 million (remember their profit last year was $2,440 million). While ACCC Chairman Rod Simms assured us all that this would send a very clear message...really? At least they've started the ball rolling and that is something we haven't see before.