China FTA: How does it weigh up?

Dec 03, 2014

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.

Outstanding Service Award celebrates first ever dairy duo

Dec 01, 2014

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

Dec 01, 2014

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

Dec 01, 2014

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! 

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