2016 is proving to be a challenging year for dairy farmers. Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF)
recently visited members in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia, and across the country farmers are confronted with low milk prices,
increased input costs, and dry weather conditions.
This continued volatility is a reminder of how dependent farming is on a lot of things which are outside our control.
Dairy farmers are realists and they are resilient business operators. Adaptability has become critical to successful dairy business ventures. Realistic
solutions frequently involve working to address the issues we can control, while also accepting that some things are outside our reach. What those
solutions look like will differ from one business to another.
The Sustainable Farm Profitability Report
by the Australian Dairy Industry Council and Dairy Australia last year provides some useful tactical management advice to help safeguard businesses
during this challenging period.
Through our discussions with both State and Federal Governments ADF continues to advocate for a more competitive business environment, and ensure access
to the resources essential to dairying. Dairy industry advocacy has seen vital progress of late with the introduction of an ‘effects test’ as well
as a review of the proposed ‘backpacker tax’ and bringing in more flexible water policy. These are important achievements that will help deliver a
more profitable and sustainable industry in the long term.
Dairy Australia also has important resources to assist in preparation and recovery from different conditions. Services provided by programs such as the
Tactics for Tight Times provide a good vehicle for analysing the individual business and developing solutions.
Integral to this future is ensuring we protect what matters, by working to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our workforce. In recent meetings, both
processors and farmers have highlighted this issue as crucial to the future of our industry. I look forward to identifying ways in which our industry
can support our people’s physical and mental wellbeing with many of you at the Australian Dairy Industry Council’s Business Breakfast in April.
With the ongoing challenges our industry faces exacerbated by drought and tough seasonal conditions, I encourage you all to look out for one another and
provide assistance where you can.