Farm businesses warned as scams targeting agricultural sector grow

Farmers and small businesses in rural and regional areas are urged to be cautious, particularly when buying heavy machinery, following a spike in scams targeting the agricultural sector this year.

Reports to the ACCC’s Scamwatch show Australian farm businesses lost more than $1.2 million to scammers between 1 January and 31 August 2022, an increase of more than 20 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Lactalis Australia found to have breached Dairy Code of Conduct

The Federal Court has found Lactalis Australia Pty Ltd (Lactalis) breached the Dairy Code of Conduct by failing to meet some of its obligations in relation to the 2020-21 milk season, in court proceedings brought by the ACCC.

The Code commenced in 2020 to address systemic transparency issues and bargaining power imbalances between dairy farmers and processors.

Record grain harvest in 2020-21 exposed issues with regulation of grain ports

ACCC consultation with the bulk grain export industry has shown that grower representative groups and some exporters generally support regulation of bulk grain export supply chains, but port terminal operators largely do not. Grain exporters are, however, concerned about a lack of transparency in the way that port operators allocate capacity to them.

Chicken meat processors address potential unfair contract terms

Some of Australia’s largest chicken meat processors have agreed to change certain terms in their current contracts with chicken growers, following an investigation by the ACCC into the use of unfair contract terms in the industry.

The ACCC’s investigation identified a number of potentially unfair contract terms, including terms that allowed processors to vary growers’ supply arrangements or impose additional costs on growers. Some of the terms also required growers to make significant capital investments or contained imbalanced termination clauses.