Advancing Dairy Farming

Sep 01, 2017

Starting a new job (adventure) is sometimes difficult, particularly after a crisis.

Over the last couple of months, I have had the opportunity to sit down and discuss many of the issues that the dairy industry has faced.

Last year was an extremely challenging time in the world of dairy, both internationally and domestically.

Many farmers were hit by late season farmgate step-downs, which came after a difficult season due to dry conditions and increased input costs.The lack of demand and oversupply of dairy worldwide caused prices to crash which left many farmers with significant debt.

No doubt it will take the industry a long time to recover, not just financially but emotionally as well.

Now, when some dairy farmers may still be questioning their future I challenge all within the dairy industry to work with each other in collaboration to show our farmers what we can provide for their future.

The future of dairy must become exciting and rewarding. It needs to be driven by smart business decisions, strong leadership and the willingness to work through our differences to get the job done.

This will not happen by accident, rather through visionary people working across the whole supply chain.

We realise that some dairy farmers have reached a ‘fork in the road’ and are looking for immediate answers. It would be wrong of us to say we had all the answers, which we don’t.

Let’s get our collective efforts behind something we can do in partnership for our industry.

Advancing dairy farming is our top priority.

David Inall

ADF Chief Executive Officer

 

Federal Senate Passes the Effects Test

Aug 25, 2017

On August 14, legislation passed in the Federal Senate that will help level the playing field for small businesses, including farm businesses.

Included in section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, the misuse of market power provision will help address the current unequal distribution of market power and encourage transparency to the benefit of producers, consumers, and retailers.

This tool will make available to regulators the capacity to judge whether a company is acting to unfairly reduce competition, regardless of intent. It allows them to look at both the actual and likely impact on a market.

Small Business Minister, Michael McCormack said a fairer playing field is a big issue raised by small business people.

“From farmers to small supermarkets, from consumers to suppliers, many Australians tell me how these changes will stop firms with substantial market power from engaging in conduct which reduces competition”, said Mr McCormack.

The effects test, as an additional tool for the ACCC, will address issues where a company with a considerable degree of power may be engaging in conduct that pushes out smaller businesses or forces them into devaluing their product with lower prices.

With the potential for use in examining the business practices of the large supermarkets in Australia, the effects test could determine their impact on a market and influence the development and marketing of products such as $1 per litre milk, and $6 kg cheese for example. Milk products at these prices are unsustainable for all involved and the predatory pricing tactic has seen hundreds of millions of dollars lost from the dairy value chain.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has advocated strongly for this change since 2011. We believe the effects test will assist in preventing damaging practices, including predatory pricing in future.

The introduction of an effects test is in line with competition policy around the world – Australia will be joining the clear majority of nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) who already have established effects tests.

The effects test is another tool to help provide integrity and transparency regarding the impact of retailer actions on suppliers.

These reforms will support consumers’ interests as well as dairy farmers by moving towards a more objective measure to assess the impact of anti-competitive behaviour.

ADF would like to thank the Government and in particular the National Party, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the Minister for Small Business for their support and action on this important reform.

We also want to thank the Queensland Dairy Farmers Organisation and other state dairy farmer organisations for their tireless work in highlighting the issues within the industry and working with us on this important reform.

David Inall

ADF CEO

 

Happy 75th Anniversary ADF

Jul 31, 2017

On Wednesday 29 July 1942, the Australian Dairyfarmers’ Federation held their annual meeting at the offices of the Victorian Dairymen’s Association in Collins Street, Melbourne.

During the meeting, one thing was certain and that was the need to bring together the different organisations and to unify the often-conflicting agendas both at a state and national level.

Delegates from all over Australia came together to discuss the formation of an organisation that would represent the national interests of dairy farmers.

The result was the establishment of Australian Dairy Farmers’ Federation (ADFF) whose major objective was the promotion of dairy farming in the Australian dairy industry and its place in the Australian economy.

Other than a variation in name, Australian Dairy Farmers’ (ADF) has for the past 75 years represented the interests of dairy farmers. Our organisation’s mission is to provide strong leadership and representation for the continued growth of internationally competitive, innovative and sustainable dairy farm businesses.

The milestones and achievements that have punctuated ADF’s rich history have been significant - not only due to the staff but largely the dairy farmers who have contributed their time and knowledge throughout the years. Their important contribution has resulted in a strong, progressive and sustainable industry representative of economic progress, environmental sustainability, and improved social well-being.

Now more than ever, it is essential that ADF continues to speak for dairy farmers with a unified voice.

ADF is committed to representing dairy farmers by communicating their needs to government in the areas of animal health and welfare; farming systems and herd improvements; market, trade and values chain; natural resources; people and human capacity; and research and development.

To ensure the voice of dairy is heard, we will continue to seek government support and are committed to driving innovation, productivity, and profitability.

Our advocacy and policy work is at the heart of everything we do and is essential to ensuring Australian dairy remains competitive and well aligned for growth.

Terry Richardson

Interim ADF President

 

Occupation lists offer mixed outcomes for dairy

Jul 06, 2017

The dairy industry has received mixed outcomes from the Government’s 1 July amendments to the skilled occupation lists announced as part of the 457 visa reforms.

The Government’s decision in April to change the skilled occupation lists used to employ 457s and other permanent visas, introduce a Skilling Australians Fund levy and put the Dairy Industry Template Labour Agreement under review, immediately affected dairy farmers and processors’ ability to hire overseas staff.

The changes are being implemented in stages and the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) has been there every step of the way trying to lessen the impact.

ADIC has been engaging in consultations with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, lobbying relevant ministers and raising our concerns with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources about the impacts of these changes on the dairy sector.

We have also partnered with the National Farmers Federation and other commodities to present a united agriculture view.

On 1 July we learnt that our meetings, letters and submissions have had some impact.

Five occupations in the processing sector have been reinstated to the occupation lists, including Food Technologist – a highly specialised occupation which processors have been unable to fill with local candidates.

There is still more work to be done.

The 1 July changes confirmed that ‘Dairy Cattle Farmers’ can only be employed for two years (with capacity for renewal onshore once only), with no pathway to permanent residency. The announcement also confirmed the requirement for contributions to be paid to the Skilling Australian’s Fund, a levy which could increase the cost of hiring 457s.

We are also frustrated that after initially being told our Labour Agreement would remain unchanged, we were later informed that labour market testing had increased from six to 12 months and processing times had been extended from three to six months.

The dairy industry relies on overseas workers to fill labour shortage gaps in our $13.7 billion industry. Despite ongoing investment in upskilling and training local people, demand continues to outstrip supply.

We must have the right policy settings in place to allow dairy farmers and processors to hire the people that they need to fill crucial roles.

ADIC will continue to make sure dairy’s voice is being heard as these visa reforms become finalised by March 2018.

By Terry Richardson

ADIC Chair

 

 


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