Summit sets dairy agenda

Last week I participated in the inaugural ADF National Dairy Farmers Summit in Melbourne. The Summit brought together dairy farmers and industry professionals from across Australia to discuss current issues facing the industry as well as strategies to grow the industry moving forward.

Personally I found the Summit a good chance to get a broad cross-section of views and experiences from dairy farmers across different states as well as different sectors of the value chain.  While there are certainly different pressures across each of these areas, undoubtedly the overarching goal we are working towards is the same; to boost the profitability of our businesses now and into the future.

For this to occur, the Summit focussed not only on what needs to happen at the farm gate, but also across the broader supply chain, in the different markets we operate and amongst the general community.

Together we were required to develop their top three priorities and determine which of these priorities were most important for the industry. The top priorities which emerged were

  • to develop an industry strategy for innovation, investment and growth
  • identify pathways to success to encourage investment and confidence in the industry
  • government to continue with trade reform that benefits dairy

For fresh milk states like NSW, it is important that the priorities did not discriminate as to the domestic versus export markets. For instance the priority around trade reform which benefits dairy encompassed both the

Government achieving favourable trade agreements with other countries and also implementing measures to improve the domestic operating environment through mandatory codes of conduct and competition reforms. This is certainly an area where NSW Farmers has experience through our advocacy work. 

While a number of these priorities can be put into action almost immediately through industry input into things such as the review of competition and consumer legislation, there are some which will require a more long term approach.

While it is easy for the priorities to be filed away on the bottom shelf or to focus simply on things which may be a quick fix. At the end of the day the proof will be in the pudding; how we as an industry promote and progress the priorities for our joint benefit.

Certainly our clear focus is to progress the priorities amongst the various dairy industry groups within NSW.

Contact: Sam Gunther

Phone: 1300 794 000

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