THE South Australian Dairyfarmers Association says it will consider rejoining Australian Dairy Farmers only if it makes changes to its constitution.
The association was expelled for 'prejudicial conduct' for at least 12 months, opening the door for it to rejoin the national lobby group as of August 1.
But SADA president David Basham said that at this point of time, there was no interest from the board to do so given the lack of interest from ADF to address its concerns about the constitution.
"We believe the constitution doesn't allow us to sit on the national council as a member as they removed SA as a region for the dairy industry," he said.
"When they removed us, they just crossed out and removed all reference to SA.
"For a new region to become a member of national council it requires an absolute majority, which is 75 per cent of those attending a general meeting.
"If we're going to be a member we need to be an equal member."
In April this year, Mr Basham had an informal meeting with the ADF board where he outlined SADA's concerns about the constitution and its ability to sit on the ADF board as equal members with other states.
At that meeting, he also said that if ADF wanted SADA back before August 1, there was a resolution on their books saying that could not happen and ADF would have to move another resolution to rescind that.
The ADF board then told Mr Basham that those issues were an impediment to SADA getting back into ADF and could be fixed within six weeks.
But, that has not happened.
"The issue is it's now only six days prior to that early return," Mr Basham said.
"This process has been dragged out way too long.
"The SADA board discussed this on our weekly phone hook-up on Monday and SADA is certainly comfortable with its operations outside ADF and would need to be shown a good case by ADF for us to rejoin."
Since SADA was expelled, Mr Basham has been involved with the ADF animal health and welfare policy advisory group as an observer because, under their constitution, he cannot participate as a member.
Before SADA was expelled, it was paying an annual membership fee of about $35,000 to ADF.
Mr Basham said that since their removal from ADF, the board had used that money to fund its own lobbying efforts, such as trips to Canberra.
"SADA still believes that a strong peak body representing the national interests is the best model for the dairy industry, but that body has to actually be achieving for the value in that membership to be there," he said.
"I think that we, outside ADF, have been able to deliver as good a representation as we have in the past as being a member of ADF, particularly now that we strengthen our position here in SA through Primary Producers SA.
"A clear example of that is Shadow Agriculture Minister John Cobb, at our invitation, coming to SA to listen to concerns of SA dairyfarmers.
"We were able to give representation to both Opposition and Government about those concerns just as equally as well as if we were a member of ADF and possibly better, because we're able to do it directly rather than through a national body."
Mr Basham said the SADA board still believes it was removed last year so ADF could make changes to its constitution, which included installing direct membership of farmers and a board made up of four farmers and an independent.
"Our concern was that the structure was going to weaken State farmer organisations and their ability to control the funds going to ADF as they were just required to pay without any control," he said.
*Full report in Stock Journal, July 25 issue, 2013.