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Drought preparedness key to long-term profitability

The percentage of Australian dairy farms reported with negative farm business profit is estimated to have decreased significantly from 67 per cent in 2012-13, to 38 per cent in 2013-14, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

In addition, the ABARES reported a significant jump in the average rate of return on capital (excluding capital appreciation) to 3.1 per cent in 2013–14, up from 0.9 per cent in 2012–13 and above the ten year average of 2.1 per cent.

Released in December 2014, the ‘Australian dairy: financial performance of dairy farms, 2011-12 to 2013-14’ report correlates improved profitability to the strong rebound in the average farm cash income  which increased to $129,000 in 2013-14, around 29 per cent above the 10-year average. Dairy farmers in southern New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania had the largest increases as a result of significant milk price rises, with smaller increases in Western Australia.

Yet, whilst incomes may have ended on a high and negative farm business profit on a low in these states, northern New South Wales and Queensland continue to feel the pinch of higher fodder expenditure and lower production due to dry seasonal conditions, highlighting the relevance of  drought preparedness to long-term profitability.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) President, Noel Campbell said whilst many factors, including drought, impact dairy farm profitability, there are some sound principles we can apply to reduce their effects on our farm business returns, with drought preparedness being one of these.

 “Farmers need to demonstrate a commitment to long-term sustainable farming through appropriate business and farm practices that embrace effective risk management options,” Mr Campbell said.

“The Government can play a key role in reinforcing its long-term commitment to drought through providing policy options that support farmers in risk management, for example, tax incentives to encourage fodder and water infrastructure investment by farmers.”

ADF continues to actively advocate on tax solutions and other complementary measures that may assist in drought preparedness, including improving the Government and industry’s investment in seasonal forecasting.

Further development of the Managing Climate Variability Program, which promises greater accuracy in midseason forecasting, will enable farmers to make better tactical decisions around managing their fodder and water resources to maximise profit.

Mr Campbell welcomed Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce’s announced $100 million in Drought Recovery Concessional Loans in December 2014 and the lower interest rates on drought concessional loans announced earlier in January this year, however stressed that further proactive measures need to be taken to achieve long-term drought policy and ensure the ongoing viability of our dairy farm businesses.

ADF will continue to lobby for a range of measures to support drought preparedness management and security to ensure that dairy farmers are supported in sustainable farming practices to manage whatever Mother Nature may bring.


*The ABARES report data is gathered from the annual Australian Dairy Industry Survey, with a sample size of approximately 300 dairy farmers.


NCDEA Oration: People our future

The “three P’s” of our farming future according to Dr Cameron Archer AM, Principal of Tocal College, are: people, people, people.

Delivering the National Centre for Dairy Education Australia’s (NCDEA) first annual oration on 26 November 2014, Dr Archer underlined the importance of well-educated people in producing a respected product and underpinning the future of Australia’s dairy industry.

“A new technology, a genetic marker, a treatment or medicine, processing method, smart farm technology, breeding strategy, dietary strategy, feed supplements can be around the world in a flash. All of our competitors will have it. What they will do with it – will be up to their people,” Dr Archer said.

“Where we can really have the competitive advantage is through our people.”

Delivered to 90 members of the Australian dairy industry, including the Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) President and CEO, the oration’s themes reflected ADF’s belief that people are the industry’s most important on-farm asset.

Committed to developing policies and strategies to attract more highly skilled people to dairy, ADF’s People and Human Capacity Policy Advisory Group advocates policies to address Australian dairy’s skilled labour shortage, drive industry innovation and secure long-term prosperity.

NCDEA Manager – Educational Development and oration guest of honour, Sylvia Vagg, was recognised by the Australian dairy industry for her dedicated service to dairy education and training.

Dr Cameron Archer AM, Principal of Tocal College presenting as guest speaker at the NCDEA Oration.


Are you bushfire prepared?

As temperatures rise and grasslands dry, December marks the beginning of Australia’s bushfire season. Bushfires pose significant threats to people, livestock and farming properties, and careful preparation and planning is critical.

Under legislation, landowners and managers have a responsibility for the safety of all people living, working on or visiting their property. Landowners and managers are advised to consider safety, environmental and legal issues, and long-term sustainability with safety as a priority.

To ensure you don’t become overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done in a bushfire crisis, it is important you sit down with someone in your family or your staff and make a list of everything that should be considered and the jobs that need to be done.

To assist in this process, you can download the Dairy Farm Fire Plan which covers some essential plans you should consider now, including:

  • Nominating an emergency coordinator.
  • Having a routine in place for fire risk days (moving stock and limiting or postponing machinery use, switching off electric fences) and making sure everyone on your property is aware of it.
  • Knowing your trigger to leave early on fire risk days and the trigger to leave for family members, employees or contractors. Also planning for contingencies, such as children at school.
  • If you have private fire-fighting equipment, conducting a ‘refresher’ session with family and employees to make sure everyone can use it.

For more information about bushfire preparedness, see Dairy Australia’s ‘Preparing for fire threats’ webpage.


Coles announcement highlights need for Mandatory Code of Conduct

On the heels of Coles’ admission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) yesterday, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has reiterated the need for stronger competition laws that will protect suppliers against the unjust activities of major retailers.

ADF President, Noel Campbell said that Coles’ announcement was a damning indictment against the supermarket giant, whose actions and continual denial over
the past four years have had significant negative impacts on suppliers and dairy farmers affected by $1 per litre milk.

“Coles has misled Australian consumers and Parliament for too long on this issue,” Mr Campbell said.

“They have finally confirmed what ADF, and others, have long said about their unsustainable $1 per litre milk campaign. This admission does nothing to
rectify the damage they have inflicted upon processors and dairy farmers, who have ultimately paid for their unsustainable price cuts.”

Mr Campbell said the announcement highlighted the need for a Mandatory Code of Conduct with significant penalties and a Supermarket Ombudsman to enforce
the Code.

“Coles must pay suppliers, and ultimately farmers, a fair price for their hard work. They should not be able to force the costs of unsustainable price
cuts onto farmers,” he said.

ADF looks forward to the findings of the Harper Review of Competition Law and Policy,
with the hope that this will foster a fairer supply sector going forward and end unjust practices such as the $1 per litre campaign.

ADF thanked the ACCC for its persistence in pursuing Coles in this matter, and said it will be watching the court proceedings closely.


The risks of drinking raw milk: What farmers need to know

In December, the news of the tragic death of a child possibly linked to drinking raw milk, saddened the dairy industry and underscored the message that consumers should only drink pasteurised milk.

“Farmers, familiar with their cows and own farm hygiene practises, are known to drink fresh milk directly from their dairy but the law is very clear that the packaging, transport and selling of raw, unpasteurised milk for human consumption is illegal,” says Helen Dornom Sustainability Manager for Dairy Australia.

“Milk is a highly regulated biological product in part because of the potential growth of pathogens during storage and transport. It is important to reemphasise that unpasteurised milk can never be consumed without real risks,” she adds.

“As farmers and representatives of the industry we have to be careful not to give the impression that something a farmer might do on-farm and fully aware of the risks can safely translate to the broader community.

Unpasteurised milk has been bottled and sold as cosmetic products (labelled ‘bath milk’, ‘for cosmetic purposes only’ or ‘not for human consumption’). While the sale of these products is not illegal, consumption of the product can present a serious risk to the consumer’s health.

“The fact is that cosmetic or ‘bath milk’ is not produced under the strict standards or supervision applied to the dairy food industry and without the additional critical controls provided by pasteurisation or equivalent treatments. It may contain pathogenic bacteria that can lead to life-threatening illnesses,” says Ms Dornom.

“Everyone is vulnerable to illness caused by organisms that may be present in raw milk, but the risks are even greater for young children and for people who are elderly or those who have underlying health problems, are Immune compromised or are pregnant.”

The Australian dairy industry has a well-earned reputation for safe dairy products – let’s not jeopardise this and ensure consumers only drink pasteurised milk.

For more information about raw milk, click here.


National Breeding Objective maps a more profitable future for dairy

The Australian dairy industry launched new breeding tools to support the National Breeding Objective (NBO) at the ADIC Industry Leaders Breakfast in Melbourne
on 28 November 2014.

Developed by the NBO Task Force and driven by the Australian Dairy Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) after
an extensive consultation process with dairy farmers from across all dairying regions, the NBO aims to deliver profitable herds that the Australian
dairy industry needs for the future.

Genetic gains deliver 30 per cent of productivity improvements on Australian farms, with the estimated gap between actual and potential genetic gains worth
$25 million per year in extra farmer profits i.

Offering a practical breeding index, which includes the breeding traits farmers want to improve in their herds, the NBO is designed to close this gap,
and increase net farm profit via genetic gain.

General Manager of ADHIS, Daniel Abernethy said the three indices; a Balanced Performance Index, a Type Weighted Index and a Health Weighted Index were
designed to align with farmers’ different breeding priorities.

“The Balanced Performance Index achieves the NBO for farm profit and will align to the breeding priorities of most Australian dairy farmers,” Mr Abernethy

“Two additional breeding indices have been developed to meet the needs of those farmers whose breeding philosophies focus on type or health.”

ADIC Chair, Noel Campbell said the level of farmer and industry involvement in developing the Breeding Objective is a testament to the entire supply chain’s
commitment to securing a more profitable future for dairy.

“The direct input of farmers, processors and research and development bodies through participation in farmwalks, surveys and forums has directly impacted
the outcome of the NBO,” Mr Campbell explained.

“Investment in innovative genetics strategies such as the NBO and research outcomes from the Dairy Futures CRC will help our farmers to breed the type
of cow they want to milk, faster, which will improve the productivity and profitability of our herds.”

While existing programs like the Australian Breeding Values express a bull or cow’s genetic potential for a single trait such as fertility or protein kilograms,
most farmers want to improve more than one trait in their herd.

The new index will be used to rank bulls, cows and herds for breeding programs.

ADHIS is an initiative of Australian Dairy Farmers’, that receives the majority of its funding from Dairy Australia through the Dairy Services Levy.

A summary of the National Breeding Objective is available via the ADHIS website.

i Report Commissioned by Dairy Australia, Coats, S & Lacey, R., 2013, Development of Genetics Scenarios and Implications for the Australian Dairy Industry, 13 August 2013.


President’s Message – December 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, I would like to take the opportunity to personally thank all of the dairy farmers who have actively supported our commitment towards improving the profitability and sustainability of our industry over the past 12 months.

It has been an absolute privilege to work alongside many of you this year, developing and implementing sound national policies to improve dairy farming in Australia. In collaboration with the ADF Board, National Council and the five Policy Advisory Groups (PAGs), we have achieved numerous major successes in 2014.

Highlights include the repeal of the Carbon Tax, the National Dairy Farmers’ Summit and the development of the industry’s very first Australian Dairy Vision. The recent signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement with its pro-dairy outcome is another example of the positive changes our collective industry advocacy has made.

I encourage you all to read ADF’s 2013-14 Annual Review for more detailed information about these highlights and other activities over the last reporting period.

On a personal note, I would like to recognise the significant contribution of Chris Griffin and Peter Evans, two invaluable members of our industry who are stepping down from their important roles on the ADF Board. I would also like to welcome newly appointed ADF Directors, David Basham and Tyran Jones, along with reappointed Director, Simone Jolliffe.

From the whole ADF team, we wish you a safe and happy festive season. Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all!


Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Report: How we’re tracking

The Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework outlines the industry’s commitment to enhance livelihoods, improve wellbeing and reduce our environmental footprint.

To ensure dairy is recognised worldwide as a responsible, responsive and prosperous producer of nutritious food, the Framework sets 11 economic, social and environmental targets to be achieved by the year 2020.

The second Sustainability Framework Progress Report is due to be released in December to benchmark how the industry is tracking towards achieving these targets, including supporting case studies to back these findings.

The ADF Update had the opportunity to preview some of the report’s preliminary findings, which can be found below.

ü  14.5% reduction in volume of green house gas emissions intensity generated by dairy manufacturers’ use of fuel and electricity since 2010/11 – a 30% reduction is the target set by 2020.

ü  46% of on-farm and factory workers now have a documented occupational health and safety (OH&S) plan – by 2020, the framework aims for 100% to have completed OH&S training.

ü  56% of farmers are aware of a new set of animal welfare standards and guidelines for cattle that have been developed – whilst yet to be legislated, the industry seeks 100% compliance with the guidelines’ standards by 2020.

ü  10.5% reduction in water consumption since 2010/11 – a 20% reduction by 2020 is the target set for the manufacturing sector.

ü  44.5% reduction in waste to landfill by manufacturers since 2010/11, which has already met and exceeded the target of a 40% reduction by 2020.

Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework Steering Committee Chair, Chris Griffin said the 2014 Progress Report provides evidence the dairy industry is committed to delivering mutually beneficial outcomes for the community and the environment.

“The Report demonstrates the benefits of the value chain working together to help create value for our industry, our customers and the community,” Mr Griffin said.

“Built on existing industry activities, we hope it will provide guidance to farmers, dairy companies and industry bodies on achieving our shared priorities and commitments.”

To view the 2014 Progress Report online, stay tuned to over the coming week.


Tribute to Lynne Kosky

The Australian dairy industry sends its condolences to Lynne Kosky’s family, after she passed away on 4 December.

Ms Kosky, former Minister for Transport in the Brumby Government, will be remembered by Victorian farmers for her work on the state’s regional rail and transport plan.

Outside of her political career, after retiring from Parliament in 2010 due to illness, Ms Kosky was the inaugural Dairy Industry People Development Council (DIPDC) Chair until she stepped down earlier this year.

DIPDC Chair, John Versteden said Ms Kosky provided invaluable industry leadership in the people development advocacy area, “a bold industry initiative that had been difficult to navigate through in previous years”.

“Aside from her strong leadership skills and networks, Lynne’s genuine empathy and passion in the people development field provided the solid foundation upon which the Dairy Industry People Development Council was formed,” Mr Versteden said.

“The dairy industry has lost an extremely valuable friend and she will be sorely missed.”


Industry farewells two “top blokes”

The Australian dairy industry has recently farewelled two long-standing leaders; dedicated dairy farmers; husbands; fathers; and grandfathers… But most of all, two “top blokes”.

Officially stepping down from their roles as Directors on the ADF Board at the end of 2014, together  Chris Griffin and Peter Evans have served over 70 remarkable years as dairy leaders.

ADF Chair, Noel Campbell said their presence will be missed.

“Their tireless efforts and unrelenting dedication to improving and promoting our great industry over many years has not gone unnoticed,” Mr Campbell said.

With more than 35 years experience in dairying on his farm at Westbury, Gippsland, Mr Griffin has led dairy through tough times of drought and the milk price wars. He has also opened our eyes to the possibilities of the future, in new markets, new technology and innovative on-farm practices.  

Chris Griffin on his Gippsland dairy farm, Victoria

Mr Griffin, who has served as a member of the ADF Board since 2005, is the immediate past President of ADF, and former Chair of the ADIC, said the industry was full of people who care.

“People join these organisations because they are vehicles for getting things done… This is an industry in great hands and I’ll be watching with keen interest,” Mr Griffin said.

West Australian dairy farmer, Mr Evans has been active in farmers associations since 1978 and has held many notable industry positions, including having served on the ADF Board since 2007 and in the role of ADF Vice President from 2011 to 2012.

Peter Evans receiving the 2014 WA Milk Bottle Award

Most recently winner of the prestigious WA Milk Bottle Award for outstanding service to the dairy industry earlier this year, Mr Evans said he never considered himself to be a “political animal”.

“I never considered myself to be a political animal but because of poor politics in WA (at the time of industry deregulation), I found advocacy a great tool for getting things done.

“Now into my seventh year on the ADF Board, we are far from perfect but our policies are having better traction with Government than ever before,” Mr Evans said.

ADF wishes the retired Directors all the best as they look to spend more time with their families, travelling and on-farm. 


China FTA: How does it weigh up?

As New Zealand (NZ) Prime Minister, John Key has reportedly been working to ensure NZ’s dairy industry receives equal benefits to our industry, it’s clear that Australia’s free trade agreement (FTA) with China has weighed up very well.

With negotiations concluded and a Declaration of Intent signed on 17 November, the China-Australia FTA has delivered a significant confidence boost to the whole dairy value chain, with the outcomes presenting real opportunities for dairy to grow and prosper.

So what does the deal promise and how does it compare to NZ’s existing FTA with China?

While the FTA is currently in its legal review phase, it has secured the following tariff outcomes:

  • Elimination of the 15% tariff on infant formula over 4 years;
  •  Elimination of the 10 ‐ 19% tariff on ice cream, lactose, casein and milk albumins over 4 years;
  • Elimination of the 15% tariff on liquid milk over 9 years;
  • Elimination of the 10 ‐ 15% tariff on cheese, butter and yogurt over 9 years; and
  • Elimination of the 10% tariff on milk powders over 11 years.

In comparison to our trade deal, the China-NZ FTA contains restrictive safeguard measures on a wide range of dairy products, including liquid milk, cheese, butter and all milk powders. These safeguards or quotas mean that China raises the tariff back to the normal rate when NZ’s exports exceed a certain volume of product.

Under our FTA, Australian dairy will only face a discretionary safeguard on whole milk powders, with the safeguard trigger volume set well above current trade levels and indexed to grow annually. For all other dairy products there will be no safeguards and Australia will receive unlimited preferential access.
Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) President, Noel Campbell said now that the deal has been done, the hard work begins – seizing the opportunities the agreement offers and making them work for our industry.
“The effects of the deal won’t be immediate, and to effectively capitalise on the improved market conditions, on-farm investment and upgrades to the industry’s infrastructure are necessary,” Mr Campbell said.
“The FTA with China opens the gate to the Chinese market, now it’s up to industry to work together to leverage the benefits.”
Mr Campbell thanked Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, the Australian government, industry and the broader dairy community for its ongoing support throughout the negotiations.
Click here to download your copy of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Implementation Timeline or see for more information.


National Breeding Objective: Officially launched

The prosperity of the Australian dairy industry is underpinned by the profitability of the cows farmers milk. New breeding indices set an exciting path for genetic improvement in Australia.

Developed by the National Breeding Objective (NBO) Task Force and driven by the Australian Dairy Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) after an extensive consultation process with dairy farmers from across all dairying regions, the NBO aims to deliver herds that the Australian dairy industry needs for the future.

Three new breeding indices will be released from April 2015. The Balanced Performance Index (BPI) will replace the Australian Profit Ranking and aims to achieve farm profit through a balance of longevity, health, type and efficient production. Two additional indices will also be introduced to align with specific breeding philosophies, namely the Health Weighted Index (HWI) and the Type Weighted Index (TWI).

Officially launched at the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) Industry Leaders’ Breakfast, ADHIS General Manager, Daniel Abernethy said the new indices are backed by strong science and are in line with farmer trait preferences.

“For the first time, farmers and their advisors directly contributed towards the NBO’s development through initiatives including Australia’s Longest Farmwalk and a sector wide survey to ensure the indices are well suited for the future needs of farmers,” Mr Abernethy said.

In another industry first, the new breeding indices now also include feed efficiency – a new trait which has been developed through ground breaking research from the Dairy Futures CRC and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries Victoria, supported by Dairy Australia and The Geoffrey Gardiner Foundation.

For more information and to download a copy of the NBO, click here.


Outstanding Service Award celebrates first ever dairy duo

Dairying duo, Lindsay and Ann Jarvis, were recognised as the first couple to receive the Australian Dairy Industry Council’s (ADIC) Outstanding Service Award (OSA) for their collective commitment to dairy at the ADIC Industry Leaders’ Breakfast, 28 November.

ADIC Chair, Noel Campbell said like many men and women who dedicate their lives, professionally and personally to dairy, the Jarvis’ are a team.

“It would be remiss to recognise the efforts of one without the other,” Mr Campbell said.

Addressing a room filled with dairy leaders from across the whole value chain, the couple said they were humbled by the award, which recognises people as the core of what makes the industry work.

“Our ability to thrive (as an industry) requires caring, co-operation, commitment, collaboration and concentration on the wellbeing of our people,” Mrs Jarvis said.

“The best genetics, soils, research breakthroughs and new markets won’t succeed unless we are all fully are committed.”

Describing their partnership as “one part dreamer, one part doer” the Jarvis’ each bring a unique approach and skill set to dairy.

Having spent 31 years as a director at Murray Goulburn, Mr Jarvis, the ‘dreamer’ of the pair has transformed the couple’s 148 year old, 280 hectare dry-land farm into a contour flood irrigation system, used his welding skills to build a swing-over herringbone dairy.

With a belief in educating and encouraging young people and, particularly, women to engage with new challenges, Mrs Jarvis, the ‘doer’ of the pair, managed the family farm and its workers while Lindsay was off farm.  Mrs Jarvis also spent seven years volunteering for the highly respected Dookie College Advisory Committee.

Actively involved in dairy organisations their whole careers, the Jarvis’ are respected members of United Dairyfarmers of Victoria, and have each received an Order of Australia for their service to the dairy industry.

The OSA award has been traditionally presented at the ADIC Dairy Industry Leaders’ Breakfast since 2006, to recognise individual Australians who, through their leadership, dedication and commitment, have provided outstanding service for the benefit of the dairy industry.

For more information about the ADIC Outstanding Service Award, click here.


Getting to know ADF Director, Tyran Jones

About Tyran

Tyran Jones completed a Bachelor of Engineering and worked in that capacity, before returning to the family farm. Tyran holds a number of industry leadership positions. He is the President of the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV) and a Member of the Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) National Council.

In addition to these advocacy roles, Tyran was a Director of The Geoffrey Gardiner Foundation, Chair of GippsDairy, and is currently a member of the industry Steering Committees which oversee critical research, development and extension (R,D & E) national programs.

Tyran is a partner in a Victorian dairy farm and is a strong advocate for agricultural innovation. He believes that the sector needs to focus on driving a profitable, growing, industry. His vision sets bold targets and mechanisms for increasing returns on assets, growing milk production, embracing new tools and technologies, and establishing Australia’s position as a key global dairy exporter.


What is one of your fondest memories growing up on your family dairy farm?

I’ve always loved feeding calves and looking after them as they grow up. Just being outside all the time with the animals, machinery and lots of room to move around remains a fond childhood memory of mine.

How has your engineering degree supported your skill set as a dairy farmer?

The degree has provided me with good, basic training for objective assessment and logical thought processes for assessing issues that arise. In other words, it’s provided a good filter for sensible decision making.

What unique qualities do you believe you have as an industry leader, and how do you think these will compliment the ADF Board?

Having grown up on a dairy farm, with a long history in the industry working in Regional Development Programs (RDPs), and research and development projects with Dairy Australia for the last 10-12 years, I have a good understanding of the structures of the industry. I also have an accurate grasp on farmer issues – particularly around profitability and practical decision-making – and I feel I understand the industry from top-to-bottom fairly well.

Part of your vision is to embrace new tools and technologies, what actions are involved in being an advocate for agricultural innovation?

We need to always, always, always place the opportunity for farmers to make milk more efficiently and more cost-effectively first. If it means we’ve got to advocate for other parts of the industry to change – such as consumers – then that’s what we need to do.

We need to tackle these technological hurdles head on, and this is absolutely the case for the bio-tech area which may offer some significant gains for farm profitability over the longer-term.

What’s one policy issue you would like to see positively resolved next year?

I would like to see genetically modified (GM) grass approved through testing and in a position where the industry as a whole, right across the supply chain, is backing the introduction of GM ryegrass. It has the potential to increase profitability and at the same time, reduce our environmental footprint. We need to be vocal and strategic about it, and to not shy away from having these debates.

Many dairy farmers know you are very proactive in the advocacy space, however can you tell us something about you we may not know?

When I have time off (and if you look at my Twitter picture), you will see that I like to ski when I’m not dairy farming, at Mount Hotham or in Canada.



Getting to know ADF Director, David Basham

About David

David Basham operates a 380 cow dairy farm with his wife, Kate and two daughters. Their property is located in Mount Compass, 65 kilometres south of Adelaide, on the Fleurieu Peninsular in South Australia (SA). David’s family has been milking cows for more than 120 years.

David is the President of the South Australian Dairyfarmers’ Association (SADA) in a role he has held since August 2005. SADA is a membership organisation that advocates and develops policies to benefit SA dairy farmers.

David has been instrumental in the development of a new brand of fresh milk, SADA Fresh, being sold in one of his state’s major retail supermarkets to generate funds for SA industry development.

Growing up in a family that has been dairy farming for over 120 years, what does dairy mean to you?

Dairy has been the lifeblood of our family. I’ve had a long history of family involvement, particularly in leadership positions, where my father was Vice President of the SADA back in the 80s and my grandfather was also passionately involved in many sectors of the industry. The dairy industry is certainly something that is in my blood to be involved in and help make a difference for.

You have been an active leader in the dairy industry for almost 10 years, what does your position on the ADF Board mean to you personally?

I am a re-appointed Director, having served almost six years in the position in the previous form of the Board. Getting involved back on a national level is vital to developing the relationships that are required at a Federal basis for connecting ADF with Dairy Australia (DA) and Government. I believe the techniques I’ve developed over the years will help to strengthen the whole industry.

What importance do you place on engaging with all sectors in the industry, including building strong relationships with Government?

Building on strong relationships with politicians and their advisors is essential. Not necessarily when you want something, but actually when you don’t want something! Meeting and talking with them on an ongoing basis is essential to building up goodwill. The important thing about relationships with Government is being able to make that phone call when you need to make that phone call – having the phone number and access is so important.

With other stakeholders, it’s so important to develop and strengthen those relationships to make sure that there is nothing in the industry that could potentially blindsides us. We need to work as a cohesive group to develop a good industry.

Animal Health and Welfare is a policy area you are passionate about, do you think the industry is being proactive enough in addressing its issues? How do you think we can improve this?

It’s a very hard space to be more proactive than we have been. It would be nice if we could, however the problem is, we have to be able to bring the industry along with us.

We’ve seen in New Zealand for example, a few years ago when they tried to ban calving induction and they did not have the support from the industry to do so. It led to enormous issues of managing the situation.

When we make significant changes to policy, particularly in the animal health and welfare space, we need to be able to bring the majority of the industry with us. There will always be those that want to make us move faster, but the difficulty is bringing the majority.

If there is one policy issue you would like to see ADF focus its advocacy efforts on in 2015, what would it be and why?

I think there are a lot of areas we need to look at in the animal health and welfare space to ensure we are constantly monitoring it. But I think we also need to look at issues that prohibit or restrict our ability to use new technologies. We need to make sure we can convince the consumer, Government and others that they are safe tools and practices that we, as dairy farmers, should be allowed to use.

You’re interstate a lot with work, how do you manage running a dairy farm, being a husband and a father, as well as an industry leader?

It is a big challenge at times. Running the farm is the easier side of things – I have two great staff who are very reliable, that carry out the day-to-day farm work. Over time, I’ve become a very good manager over the phone.

Probably the harder one to manage is the family side of things. Last night I missed my daughter receiving a reading award. This is an example of the difficult things I sometimes have to miss, however I try to be there as much as possible when I am home. Farming, to some degree, also gives you that flexibility to take a day off and go on an excursion to the zoo which may not be possible with other jobs.

We know you love swimming in bath tubs of milk, but tell us something we might not know about you…

On a personal note, I guess one thing many people don’t know about me was that I was single for a very long time and I met my wife on a winery tour, which was a complete and utter setup that I had no knowledge of. It worked quite well because within two weeks, Kate moved in to live with me!

Getting to know ADF Director, Simone Jolliffe

About Simone

Simone Jolliffe joined the Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) Board in January 2014. Simone’s passion for agriculture was fostered by her family and a childhood spent on a cattle farm. Her interest in agriculture was further developed through her studies at the University of New England in Armidale, where she completed her Bachelor of Rural Science.

Raised on a beef property, Simone has embraced the commitment, intensity and challenges of dairy since joining her husband, Neil, on the Jolliffe farm in 2000. Situated on the Murrumbidgee River, near Wagga Wagga, NSW, Neil and Simone purchased the property in 2008. Farming with her husband and young family, Simone is involved in all aspects of the business from livestock and pastures, through to finances and human resource management.

Simone has been on the board of Dairy NSW since 2010, and became Deputy Chair in 2013. She is also the current Chair for the Inland Elite Dairy Network, and a mother to three school-aged children.


What challenges did you overcome shifting from beef farming to dairy farming when you married Neil?

The biggest challenge was the everyday commitment to dairy farming, most certainly the early morning starts! In terms of nutrition and livestock management, I was able to transfer these skills over quickly, however the human resource side has definitely been a challenge as the business has grown and we have engaged more staff.

Why is it important for you to be involved in all aspects of your dairy farm?

Neil and I are definitely a package deal, meaning that right from the outset we have always participated in joint decision-making. We also bring unique skills to the partnership.

After school I went on to further my studies at university, so I bring a different aspect when we’re reviewing decisions. Neil on the other hand, went straight from school to the farm. As a result, he has always had the hands-on experience and skills that I didn’t necessarily have when I began dairy farming.

This approach enables us to bring different perspectives to decision-making, contributing towards robust debate and ultimately, a business we are both proud of.

Since elected to the ADF Board in January this year, what has your experience been like?

It has definitely been a challenge. As I had not been previously directly involved with ADF, I had a lot of homework to do at the beginning! I have certainly found the experience very engaging and I continue to enjoy the different aspects and approaches to policy-making which complements the work I’ve previously done with Dairy Australia and DairyNSW in the R,D&E (research, development and extension) space.

You have been an active member on the DairyNSW Board over the past four years, what leadership skills do you believe you bring to the ADF Board?

I consider myself to be inclusive, a broad-thinker and encompassing of all aspects of thinking in decision-making. I certainly take all my board roles very seriously and would like to think that I am a well-considered and an active participant, regardless of what board I’m sitting on.

DairyNSW’s Board is different from other Regional Development Program (RDP) Boards as we have Regional Development Groups that sit under us – similar to ADF’s Board and National Council. From this experience, I believe I bring the importance of understanding the structure of member groups to ADF’s Board.

How important is grassroots support to ADF and the broader industry?

It’s the silver bullet! I ultimately think most things are grassroots driven – decisions don’t get made top-down without support from the grassroots level. That’s because ideas and original concepts are usually driven from a grassroots level, which are then refined through the process and improved upon, to ultimately be endorsed and implemented at a national level. We can’t lose that. It doesn’t matter wherever you are in agriculture, you cannot remove that grassroots culture and approach of individual thoughts, concepts and ideas.

You have previously described yourself as someone who is always prepared to “roll up your sleeves”, what does this mean and how do you think you apply this approach to your leadership role at ADF?

Once I’ve committed to something, I will do whatever it is that needs to be done. Developing DairyNSW’s Strategic Plan was an example of this, where I attended workshops in multiple NSW regions with an open ear to hearing the good and the bad from our stakeholders. Whilst there were many difficult conversations to be had, the most important part was being receptive to hearing the ugly truth – which I certainly did plenty of.

These awkward situations often take guts, yet they are so important to understanding and being able to address the real issues our farmers are faced with everyday. In this particular example, from the feedback I gathered, the DairyNSW Board felt positive that we were driving a strategic plan which encapsulated what our stakeholders wanted and we also had the right tools in place to accurately measure on delivering these outcomes.

What are some of the most important policy issues for ADF to focus on in 2015?

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) restructure is going to be really critical for us as an organisation, and it will be essential that we maintain engagement with NFF through this process. We need to have a clear understanding about what is imperative to our organisation and how this can be aligned with NFF.

In addition, we need to ensure there is effective consolidation of the last 12 month’s successful work, particularly around the China FTA outcome and ensuring it comes into fruition soon.

Being a busy mum, wife, dairy farmer and dedicated industry leader, how do you manage your time?

I am really well supported at home, with a very understanding husband and three very independent and capable children, who are very accepting of what mum does. I am also a ‘list girl’ who is meticulously organised knowing when things have to be done!

If you could impart a single line of advice onto Australian women working in dairy, what would it be?

Stand up and be counted.

It’s so important to ensure woman feel counted and not afraid to have an opinion or to speak up. Real results are achieved when different perspectives are considered – each of us has value to give.

I think dairy tends to be more accepting of the skills and knowledge women bring to the table than other commodities, and this has resulted in better gender balance representation at all levels from local discussion groups; to state and national levels.

We only have to look at DairyNSW’s 50/50 male and female split Board and two out of five of ADF’s Board Directors being female to see there is a huge amount of opportunity for women in dairy leadership roles. 


Industry R,D&E levies framework endorsed

Did you know that there are 15 agricultural Research and Development Corporations (RDC) in Australia, yet only two of these have regulated levy polls?

Along with the Australian Wool Innovation, Dairy Australia (DA) is bound by a five-year levy review cycle to ensure that dairy farmers have a say towards
the amount they pay for their research, development and extension (R,D&E) levy and how it is spent.

In response to the Senate Inquiry into the system for agricultural R,D&E levies , the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) has made a submission
in support of the RDC model and the opportunities for dairy farmers provided by DA.

Whilst the ADIC considers that the Levy Poll framework provides an important opportunity for DA to talk to levy payers about their levy investment,
there is scope to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the process.

Suggestions the ADIC puts forward to the Inquiry include streamlining the Levy Poll consultation approach, for example through more tailored consultation,
use of industry networks, and increased use of technology; improving engagement with farmers about the DA investment throughout the five-year period,
not just at the time of the levy poll; as well as, improving the information to demonstrate the returns to farmers from their levy investment.

As subsidiaries of the ADIC, the role of Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) and the Australian Dairy Products Federation (ADPF) in R,D&E investment
is to represent levy payers by working with DA to drive the development of strategies, highlighting priority investment areas and ensuring tangible
benefits reach the dairy community.

For more information and to download a copy of the ADIC’s submission,
click here


ADF Calls For Expressions of Interest in Policy Advisory Groups

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) today called for Expressions of Interest from ADF farmer members asking them to become part of one of the peak body’s Policy
Advisory Groups (PAGs).

Expressions of interest close on 30 January 2015 and can be accessed via the ADF website.

PAGs play a key role in setting business objectives for industry and driving policy formulation. They help to ensure dairy interests are properly represented
at a domestic and international level.

Mr Noel Campbell, President of ADF, said the role of the PAGs was critical to policy formulation for the long-term future of dairy.

“We face many challenges as an industry and have always relied on the vision, passion and participation of people within dairy,” said Mr Campbell.

ADF PAGs recommend policy settings to the ADF via the National Council and also act in an advisory capacity providing feedback to Dairy Australia, state
dairy farmer organisations (SDFOs) and other bodies like the National Farmers Federation and the Australian Dairy Products Federation.

“PAG members have made a great contribution to dairy over the last 70 years and we want this to continue,” Mr Campbell said.

Mr Campbell said the five PAGs including: Markets, Trade and Value Chain; People and Human Capacity; Animal Health and Welfare; Farming Systems and Herd
Improvement and Natural Resources needed to be driven by farmers.

“We welcome and encourage direct involvement from dairy farmers to drive policy in the right direction,” said Mr Campbell.

PAGs are appointed by the ADF Board every year to ensure ADF business members with the right skills, talent and interest are involved.

PAGs can meet up to three times a year. There is a requirement for PAG members to attend the majority of meetings. When PAGs do meet face to face, expenses
and sitting fees are covered by ADF in line with internal policy.


PAG Skills and Interest

Ideally, a PAG will have members with a specific interest in that policy area and a complementary mix of skills and experience. The ADF National Council’s
appointment of PAG members is based on assessment of each prospective PAG member and the likely contribution they will make to that policy area.

Generally PAGs will consist of six members including two to three National Councillors (some PAGs may be larger in order to accommodate members with specialist

PAG Expression of Interest Process

ADF uses an Expression of Interest (EOI) process to invite ADF business members to register interest in serving on a PAG. The EOI process seeks people
with interest and enthusiasm and a strong commitment to the policy area.

ADF business members are invited to lodge a brief statement indicating reasons for interest in the PAG and a brief summary of experience relevant to the
PAG. If a prospective PAG member is interested in joining more than one PAG, they can apply to do so.

Current PAGs will continue until positions have been ratified in the first quarter of 2015.

Download 2015 PAG Application


Collective bargaining: A key negotiation approach

Officially launched by the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce in Taree, NSW, the ‘Collective Bargaining for Dairy Farmers’ guide is an easy to read document for dairy farmers interested in forming collective bargaining groups to negotiate with milk buyers.

Prepared by Dairy Australia, in conjunction with Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), the guide aims to provide practical advice and insights for farmers looking to level the playing field between small suppliers and large milk buyers.

The guide explores the mutual benefits both dairy farmers and milk buyers can receive when collective bargaining is employed effectively. While not suitable for all, collective bargaining has the potential to deliver many benefits to dairy farmers, including supply chain efficiencies, new marketing opportunities, greater input into contractual terms and more certainty on price.

From the milk buyers end, collective bargaining can result in enhance milk quality, guaranteed year-round fresh milk supplies and improved two-way communications with the collective bargaining group. These mutual benefits show that when effectively employed, collective bargaining can be a win-win for both parties involved.

In 2011, ADF renewed its authorisation grant from the ACCC to collectively bargain with milk processors. This authorisation enables dairy farmers to form and register collective bargaining groups under ADF’s existing authorisation without having to separately apply to the ACCC.

For more information about collective bargaining groups and authorisation guidelines, please contact the ADF Office: (03) 8621 4200


Dairy Contract Negotiation & Industrial Relations Workshops

NSW Farmers’ Dairy Committee, in partnership with Australian Dairy Farmers, will host contract negotiation and industrial relations workshops for dairy farmers next month. All dairy farmers are welcome.

Covering topics ranging from basic contract information; to collective bargaining and family succession planning, the workshops aim to equip dairy farmers with key negotiating skills and the ability to understand their contractual obligations, to ensure the smooth functioning of dairy operations.


  • Basic contract information and contractual rights for dairy farmers
  • Mediation on contractual disputes
  • Collective bargaining
  • Family succession planning
  • Employment obligations for dairy farmers

Key Presenters:
Keynote: Senior Counsel, Ian Coleman
Ian has more than 30 years experience working in commercial mediation, family and agriculture law. He is a former Federal Family Court Judge, and he is also admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW. He is a Mediator with the Rural Assistance Authority of NSW and also holds a Masters of Sustainable Agriculture (USYD).

NSW Farmers: Special Counsel for Industrial Relations, Matthew Waring
Matt is part of the industrial relations team at NSW Farmers and has almost 10 years experience in employment law and industrial relations, regularly dealing with large clients in agriculture and manufacturing.

Workshop Details:

  • Wednesday 3 December, the Grand Hotel, Bega: 9am-1pm.
  • Monday 8 December, Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Camden: 10am-2pm.
  • Wednesday 10 December Casino RSM Club, Casino: 10am-2pm.
  • Friday 12 December, Muswellbrook RSL, Muswellbrook: 10am-2pm.

To RSVP and for more information, please call NSW Farmers’ Members Service Centre: 1300 794 000.


South West Ladies are Legendairy

Dawn Waite, South West Victorian dairy farm owner

The Legendairy South West Ladies Group gathered in Warrnambool, Victoria this week to discuss opportunities to support, mentor and upskill women in dairy, and expand connections with women in other dairy groups.

Co-established earlier in 2014 by South West Victorian dairy farmers Simone Renyard and Roma Britnell, the group is comprised of around 15 dairy women, each of whom brings different experience and skills to the mix. The Legendairy group aspires to give back to their local dairy community, as well as learn from one another.

“Each member brings unique experience outside of dairy to contribute towards the group. We aspire to support and mentor women in dairy – and between us, we have plenty of enthusiasm to make it happen,” said Ms Renyard.

Guest speaker, ADF CEO, Natalie Collard presented on her career path inside and outside of dairy,leadership and inspiring change. Ms Collard also encouraged the group to consider how challenging career moments can often lead to your greatest achievements.

Co-founder of the group, Roma Britnell also presented at the meeting on her recent trip to China, funded by The Geoffrey Gardiner Dairy Foundation. The similarity between Chinese and European dairying, as well as the first class robotic factories, impressed Ms Britnell and were of keen interest to the group.

The Legendairy South West Ladies Group is hoping to host a lunch in March 2015, with more information to follow.


President’s Message – November 2014

ADIC Chair and ADF President, Noel Campbell presenting at the China Dairy Industry Association Conference in Shanghai earlier this year.

In anticipation of the announcement of a China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on the heels of the G20 Summit in Brisbane this weekend (15-16 November), there has never been a more pivotal time for the dairy to ensure the industry’s interests remain a priority at the pointy end of the negotiations.

A number of dairy industry executives from the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) and Dairy Australia (DA), including myself, returned from Beijing, China last weekend after spending time with Australian Government officials who were negotiating the proposed bilateral trade deal.

I am pleased to report back that the talks were positive and we are confident that in the event of a signed FTA the industry can expect the announcement will enhance future confidence for both the farm and processing sectors.

If we get this deal right, it will be a great opportunity to boost Australian dairy’s competitiveness on an international scale and support, and grow, the 43,000 Australians directly employed in dairy, most in regional Australia.

The ADIC has reiterated the mutually beneficial nature of such a deal, which will offer Chinese consumers increased access to a secure supply of high quality, safe dairy products from Australia, and has encouraged the Government not to sign an agreement that does not deliver commercially meaningful outcomes for dairy.

As Chair of the ADIC, I am proud of the acknowledgement and bipartisan support our industry has received throughout the trade negotiations. Dairy’s message has been heard loud and clear – now, it’s over to the Government.

For more information, visit:


ADF Gets a Taste of Bega

Cows on the D’Arcy farm in Tarraganda, NSW are at ease with the robotic milking system.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) hosted several ministerial and departmental staffers, including from the office of the Federal Minister for Agriculture, on a tour of Bega in October, introducing them to the dairy industry and ensuring that dairy remains at the forefront of the Government’s considerations when formulating policy.

The delegation commenced with a day trip to the Bega factory, where attendees including ministerial advisers and Department of Agriculture staff joined ADF and representatives of industry bodies NSWFarmers, Dairy Australia and the National Farmers’ Federation to discuss challenges facing dairy, including labour and skills shortages.

While touring the factory floor and marvelling at how efficient dairy production lines need to be, attendees discussed the importance of a pro-dairy outcome with regards to the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement and the mutual benefits such a deal would bring for all involved. In particular, the opportunity to widen the potential export market was noted as Bega workers packaged up goods to be transported to the Middle East, USA, New Zealand, and South East Asia.

Continuing on to the 160 hectare D’Arcy farm in Tarraganda, where robotic milkers have replaced manual labour in the dairy shed, the group of dairy novices were treated to a demonstration of owner and farmer Andrew D’Arcy’s six newly installed robotic milking boxes. The D’Arcy farm is the first in Bega Valley to install such a system and the second in New South Wales to do so.

At a time when dairy farms are still rebuilding herd numbers after years of drought in NSW, therobotic system is a spectacular example of farmers’ investment in the future of dairy. ADF explained the many other ways Australian dairy farmers are innovating, ranging from nutrition to genomics to margin-focused business models.

The trip was a brilliant opportunity for ministerial advisers to improve their understanding of dairy farming and production, putting the challenges and opportunities at hand for dairy in direct context and strengthening the relationship between ADF and Government. Following the trip, several ministerial advisers commented on the valuable insights they had gained into the dairy industry and
that they now have a greater appreciation of the innovative practices in use from the farm gate to the factory.


Investigations into Coles’ Unconscionable Conduct Continue

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has welcomed further legal action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) against Coles’ unconscionable conduct towards suppliers in mid-October, 2014.

ACCC Chair, Rod Sims said Coles forced suppliers to pay “gaps” in the profit of products it made – including cost of wastage, store markdowns and missing deliveries – even when it had no legitimate basis to do so.

“The ACCC alleges that Coles took advantage of its superior bargaining position by demanding money from suppliers that it was not lawfully entitled to, and was, in all the circumstances, unconscionable,” said Mr Sims.

These proceedings arise out of the same ACCC investigation against Coles on 5 May with regards to Coles’ unconscionable conduct towards 200 of its smaller suppliers, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

ADF President, Noel Campbell said he looks forward to the result of the court case given ADF’s strong track record of advocacy to the ACCC since the introduction of the $1 per litre retail milk price.

“This latest action by the ACCC highlights the need for a Mandatory Code of Conduct, including the establishment of an independent Supermarket Ombudsman with penalties to balance the excessive market power of the major retailers,” Mr Campbell said.

ADF will continue to lobby Government and engage in dialogue with the major retailers about the code.


President’s Message – October 2014

A China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) remains one of our highest priorities for the industry. I have spent a lot of time recently in China, as part of the Australian Dairy Delegation in August and, in September, as the only dairy industry body representative with the trade delegation led by Minister for Agriculture the Hon. Barnaby Joyce.

ADF appreciates the hard work being done by the Federal Government and will continue working hand in hand with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Agriculture to help get the best possible deal.

I took the opportunity to attend the China Dairy Industry Association annual conference in Shanghai in August. The Australian industry
has been working closely with our Chinese counterpart to foster a mutually beneficial trade partnership. I have also met with Chinese Government officials, industry representatives and Australian diplomats. A China-Australia FTA will not only provide the export growth that our industry needs, it will provide Chinese consumers with better access to high-demand products, as well as an improved overall diversity of supply.

On 1 October, we formally launched the Australian Dairy Vision in Canberra, where two Cumberoona Holsteins ventured to Parliament House to graze Federation Mall lawn. ‘Australian Dairy – Prosperous, Trusted, World Renowned Nutrition’ – will be a statement by which our industry is known for and proud of by 2025.


Agricultural R&D Levies System – Have your say!

The Federal Government is undertaking an inquiry into the systems and structures for the agricultural research and development (R&D) levies. This includes
the dairy services levy that contributes to Dairy Australia and the equivalent levies paid by farmers for other research and development corporations.

The Senate Committee is very keen to hear farmers’ views about levies, including views on: turning R,D&E into results on-farm; the value of having
a dairy research and development corporation; opportunities levy payers have to influence how it is spent; and in general, views on having a levy poll
which many other commodities do not have.

ADF encourages all dairy farmers to make a submission to the inquiry and has developed a template letter and example writing points for farmers. Your submission letter can be as short or long as you like,
and cover all points of the inquiry or just one. Although the official submission date has passed, the Senate Committee is open to receiving submissions
until the end of November; however you may contact them if you require additional time.

Contact details for the Inquiry secretariat are 02 6277 3511 or Submissions can be sent to this email address. For more information,
please contact the ADF office (03) 8621 4291.

For more information about the Inquiry and its terms of reference, click here.


Dairy Futures CRC 2014 Industry Mentoring Dinner

Attending Dairy Futures CRC Industry Mentoring Dinner (L-R): CRC Education Officer ‘Get into Genes’, Sian Fitzpatrick, CRC Deputy Chief Scientist, Prof. Ben Cocks, ADF CEO, Natalie Collard, mentor and Portland dairy farmer, Naomi Pye.

Celebrating an important milestone with 30 Dairy Futures CRC PhD students benefitting from a dairy industry mentor, this year’s Dairy Futures CRC Industry Mentoring Dinner went off with a bang.

Following an intensive two-day workshop, some of Australia’s brightest PhD bioscience candidates joined industry leaders in a celebratory dinner to thank the industry and its mentors for their ongoing support, and to congratulate the alumni on the program.

The mentoring program, which began in 2012, forms part of Dairy Futures CRC’s commitment to providing high-quality bioscience researchers to support a productive dairy industry.

Dairy Futures CRC Manager for Education and Industry Engagement, Belinda Griffiths said the mentoring program helps connect students with people in the dairy industry who can provide first-hand support for their careers.

“The impact of the mentoring program can be profound in terms of technical gains and personal development. Strong industry connections also build a strong sense of belonging that encourages students to continue to work within the dairy industry after they complete their PhD,” Ms Griffiths said.

For more information on the program, contact Belinda Griffiths: or (03) 9032 7187


Queensland puts focus on ‘New Horizons’

China was also under discussion at the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) Conference on 16 September.

The conference theme was ‘New Horizons’ with discussion of potential opportunities and challenges for dairy. Norco Deputy Chair, Tony Wilson’s presentation, ‘Alternative Markets/Building Demand’ sparked great interest given the Norco deal to export fresh milk to China.

ADF CEO, Natalie Collard updated participants on ADF activities and reinstated ADF’s mission to improve the profitability and sustainability of dairy farmers in Australia.

Ms Collard outlined industry priorities identified at the ADF National Dairy Farmers’ Summit in March – in particular to encourage innovation investment and growth; to encourage investment and confidence in the industry; and to encourage Government to continue with trade reform that benefits dairy.

Ms Collard and ADF Senior Policy Manager, David Losberg said they enjoyed the panel discussion with Paul Roderick from Harrisville and David Kucks from Quinalow, which explored challenges and opportunities in dairy.


Herd Improvement Strategy Finalised

The Herd Improvement Industry Strategy has been developed throughout 2014. ADF is represented on the Steering Group. In addition, the Farming Systems and Herd Improvement Policy Advisory Group (PAG) has had a significant role in reviewing and developing ADF feedback on drafts of the Strategy. ADF also requested input from state dairy farmer organisations and hosted a farmer workshop on the draft Strategy in July.

The final version of the Strategy was confirmed by the Steering Group on 29 August. It is now considered to have a clearer vision and stronger recommendations in key areas of interest to ADF. It provides an important reference document for implementing projects that will drive change.

The herd improvement industry vision is: “Dairy farmers maximise their profit through a vibrant herd improvement industry offering effective and highly valued services.”

At a meeting on 11 August, the Steering Group discussed the implementation of the Strategy and a draft implementation plan was agreed in principle, with further detail to be developed. The Steering Group will next meet in late October.

The full Strategy is available from ADF or Dairy Australia.


Developing Dairy Leaders Program

The second residential session of the 2014 Developing Dairy Leaders Program (DDLP) was held in Canberra in June.

(L-R): DDLP Warrnambool participant, Jessica Westwick; Dairy Australia Director, Kelvin Jackson; Member for Wannon, Dan Tehan MP; ADF President, Noel Campbell.

Participants delivered their project presentations to the group and learned about effective advocacy and communication techniques. The participants also heard from several politicians, including Member for Wannon Dan Tehan, Member for Mallee Andrew Broad, and Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie. Journalists Colin Bettles from Fairfax Rural Media, Rob Harris from the Weekly Times and Tony Mahar of the NFF spoke about effective advocacy.

Participants also attended the Dairy Australia Legendairy Breakfast at Parliament House to practise their informal networking and advocacy skills with politicians and media. More than 30 Parliamentarians joined the DDLP participants for breakfast, giving them valuable networking experience as well as the opportunity to snap a few ‘selfies’.

The program is expected to run again in 2015. Farmers interested in the 2015 program should contact the ADF office on (03) 8621 4200.


Front of Pack Labelling (FoPL) Health Star Rating

The Health Star Rating scheme was endorsed by the combined Federal and State Ministerial Forum in June. The scheme rates packaged processed foods from 0.5 to 5 stars based on nutritional value.

The voluntary scheme is now available for manufacturers to implement and it is likely that some dairy companies and some private label dairy products will take it up.

The dairy industry advocated strongly for a labelling scheme that will treat dairy foods appropriately and, in particular, to make sure core dairy foods under Australian Dietary Guidelines (milk, cheese and yogurt) receive an appropriate star rating compared to ‘discretionary’ foods.

There are still some anomalies, with cheeses and yogurts rating too low, and the dairy industry is currently seeking a review of the star rating. There is a formal process to review certain products where there is inconsistency with the Dietary Guidelines.

The preliminary product ratings can be found at:


ADIC shines spotlight on Australia’s Legendairy women


Australian women’s contribution to the dairy industry was a cause for celebration at this morning’s Australian Dairy Industry Council’s
(ADIC) Legendairy Women’s Breakfast.

ADIC Chair, Noel Campbell, said Australian dairy would not be the $13 billion farm, manufacturing and export success story it is today, without the contribution
of women over the course of its history.
“Today we shine a spotlight on the many talented, passionate and dedicated women working across the dairy industry,” Mr Campbell said.
“From the farm, to the factory, to the family dining table, today’s ADIC breakfast celebrates the major contribution that women have made, and continue
to make, to our industry.”
Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), CEO, Natalie Collard, said women continue to perform many varied
and important tasks across all levels of the industry.
“This is reflected in the fact that 62% of all women working on dairy farms are owner-managers, 25% are employees and a further 13% contributing family
members,” Ms Collard said.
“When we also consider the hugely significant role that women play in shaping household budgets and associated purchasing decisions – their significance
to the industry from farm gate to supermarket shelf becomes all too clear.”
Scientist and inaugural recipient of the ADIC’s Outstanding Service Award (OSA) in 2010, Dr Anne Astin, described women’s involvement in the industry as
an important chapter in the history of Australian agriculture.
“Whether it’s on-farm, in the factory or the complex world of agri-politics, women continue to play a leading, if sometimes unheralded role, within the
industry,” Dr Astin said.
“We can and must do more, as an industry and as a community to recognise and celebrate women’s unique and enduring contribution to Australian dairy.”
Mr Campbell thanked the event’s keynote speaker, Carolyn Creswell, founder and Managing Director of Carman’s Fine Foods.
“Carolyn’s success with Carman’s is an inspiration to a generation of young men and women and demonstrates in particular, how it is possible to balance
success in business with family life,” he said.
Mr Campbell said in dairying regions and rural and regional Australia more generally, there has been a shift in the workforce, with more women working
(46% of the workforce) and more men working part-time.
“This trend reflects the changing face of the modern Australian workforce, and the dairy industry is no exception,” he said.
“Over time, we will likely see more women involved in the industry and it’s important that we continue to focus our efforts in promoting the industry as
an attractive career choice into the future.”
Mr Campbell thanked women involved at every level of the industry for their dedication, passion and commitment to Australian dairy.
To view the ‘Celebrating Legendairy Women’ video launched at the breakfast, click here.

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