Rebuffed calf rearers rule out Fonterra legal action

SONITA CHANDAR
Last updated 08:49 18/08/2014

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Taranaki farmers dumped from the Fonterra International Live Stock Venture say they will not pursue legal action but at least one is vowing never to do business with the co-operative ever again.

Last year, several farmers were approached to rear F12 heifers for live export to China and were given assurances they would be part of the venture for at least three years, says Waverley calf rearer Chris Carrick.

''We have heard nothing apart from getting a $500 RD1 voucher [in compensation]. I can't speak for the other farmers but as far as I am aware, they aren't taking the matter further and neither am I.

''I simply cannot afford to take legal action against Fonterra who could potentially drag it on for years through the courts.

''If we did take legal action it wouldn't matter if we won or lost, it would end up costing more than it is worth.''

Carrick said he was aware of other calf-rearers around the country who had their contracts cancelled. After an earlier story in NZFarmer he received several phone calls and had a lot of feedback from locals.

''Generally, everyone has been really supportive and said they weren't surprised by Fonterra's treatment of us.

''Individually, it is not worth doing anything but if more people were willing to put their hands up we could possible do something.

Unfortunately, most just sit back and accept what is dished out.''

A spokesperson for Fonterra previously said all contracts under the Fonterra International Live Stock Venture were for one year only and that the system was evaluated and streamlined at the end of each season.

As a result of their analysis farmers who had raised calves for live export could miss out but could be offered contracts in the future.

Carrick said that Fonterra had approached him earlier in the year to ask what heifers he could supply but then he heard nothing.

One farmer who did not wish to be named said he had been left in the lurch by Fonterra.

''We have heard nothing either except for the voucher.

"We have since managed to secure a contract with a neighbouring farmer to raise 180 calves. Potentially this may increase to 250 so we will see how that goes and perhaps stick with this instead of Fonterra in the future.''

-NZ Farmer

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