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.