OPINION: Fonterra farmers have delivered a stinging rebuke to the co-op leaders: don’t expect us to rubber stamp your director candidates, was the message in last week’s results.
The loss was the first in the co-op’s 17-year history. Read more about the grim 2018 annual results here.
Dairy farmers are remaining surprisingly quiet online about the results, whilst those from town seem more interested on Twitter and Facebook in Spierings' remuneration and pay package.
The interest in Spierings' pay follows widespread reporting from mainstream media outlets who were quick to post headline stories.
With a large proportion of tweets about Fonterra this morning being from non-farmers, most of which questioning Spierings' pay, a rural reporter from Stuff questioned whether farmers were "stewing in silence".
Waiting for farm Twitter to go off over the Fonterra result... Where is everyone? Stewing in silence?— Esther Taunton (@EstherTaunton) September 12, 2018
One dairy farmer, however, was concerned for Fonterra's wellbeing.
A musician mocked the result.
Fonterra’s recently-appointed interim chief executive Miles Hurrell has said that the co-op needs to be clear, upfront and honest with farmer shareholders.
It appeared a Stuff reporter had missed the memo when he tweeted encouragement to Fonterra to have more transparency and questioned where Spierings was.
Fonterra's Twitter was quick to reflect Hurrell's statements in a reply.
Hey Geoff, we know these results don't meet the standards we need to live up to for our farmers and unitholders. Going forward, the business will be more transparent in our forecasting assumptions so farmers and unitholders know exactly where they stand. ^EM— Fonterra (@Fonterra) September 12, 2018
National's agriculture spokesman, Nathan Guy wants a going-forward plan from Fonterra.
Ouch. Fonterra’s $results are very disappointing. The Board & Mgmt will need to explain the ‘why’ & importantly what’s the go fwd plan? Farmers do the hard yards producing the milk & must see big improvements in performance. Regional NZ & the economy relies on a strong Fonterra.— Nathan Guy (@NathanGuyOtaki) September 12, 2018
Rural News Group understands this is a tough time for many Fonterra farmers. Support is available for those who need it.
Check out DairyNZ's Wellbeing resources which offer tips to staying in a healthy and balanced place, as well as emergency contacts: dairynz.co.nz/people/wellbeing