February President's Message

Feb 29, 2016

There has been a lot of discussion about investment for a stronger future this month, with a great deal of excitement generated by recent investments in Australian dairy.

Such investment will have positive impacts for farming communities.Investors may be interested in further value added opportunities for milk processing. This could be a generator of new growth and development for the whole industry. Investment that passes our foreign investment regulatory tests continue to the benefit of Australian dairy.

Importantly, our industry recognises that this stronger future depends equally on economic, environmental and social outcomes. Dairy continues to hold itself accountable by not waiting for change to occur, but by initiating positive change ourselves. The industry’s progress is highlighted by the Sustainability Framework’s 2015 Progress Report – set to be released shortly via www.sustainabledairyoz.com.au.

It was my great pleasure to discuss the industry’s performance against the key targets with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in late February at the Canberra Dairy Forum, and to share more about our industry’s commitment to retaining our social licence to operate.

I encourage you all to take a look at the Progress Report when it is released in mid-march and provide feedback.

Part of tackling sustainability challenges and helping the industry demonstrate performance to the Australian community, is investing in agile representative structures. On the heels of a period of significant policy achievement, ADF is in the strongest position it has ever been. Much of this we owe to our 2012 restructure which helped build greater transparency and engagement with key stakeholders, particularly decision makers in government.

We recognise that there is room to further improve our representative models, to ensure that we can continue to effectively advocate on behalf of all dairy farmers in all dairying regions. The proposed National Farmers’ Federation’s restructure has begun this conversation and ADF looks forward to furthering this discussion to ensure dairy representation has a future that maintains currency, relevance and accountability.

Simone Jolliffe

ADF President

Climate variability drives on farm innovation

Nov 23, 2015

A concerted effort to reduce power costs and dairy’s environmental footprint is seeing increasing numbers of Australian producers implement more efficient, ‘green’ on farm practices.

In Athlone, Gippsland former mechanical engineer and seventh generation dairy farmer, Lindsay Anderson is harnessing solar energy to the benefit of reduced on-farm costs. Converting all his large single-phase motors to three-phase motors using variable speed drives as phase converters, Mr Anderson has implemented renewable technology throughout his business. He devised a 5 kilo-watt grid-connected solar system which supplies power to his automatic milking system, his workshop and farm house.

This system provides enough power to feedback through the grid for a payment each quarter – providing some additional income for Mr Anderson.

“This system can save me between 15 to 33% of electricity consumption,” Mr Anderson said. 

It also means there is even less diesel used on the property so the environment will also be better off.

According to dairy’s 2014 Sustainability Framework Progress Report, Mr Anderson is one of many dairy farmers adopting energy efficient procedures on farm. Since 2012 40% of farms have installed some form of renewable energy installation.

Chair of the Sustainability Framework Steering Committee, Chris Griffin said that dairy producers have always been stewards of the land, and are constantly getting smarter about energy efficiency on farm.

“Dairy farmers have a real commitment to managing land and water responsibly, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting natural resources for future generations. They are constantly reviewing their practices in response to seasonal conditions and a changing climate,” said Mr Griffin.

“As a bonus, many farmers are finding that these measures are cost effective.”

Working with Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) and Dairy Australia, the ADIC has lobbied hard to secure Government funding to support uptake of energy efficient technology on farm. Combined with industry investment, Federal and state programs have assisted farmers and manufacturers with the upfront capital costs in energy efficient or renewable energy technology, and therefore increased uptake.

The dairy industry has seen the benefit of such co-funded initiatives through Dairy Australia and the Federal Government’s Energy Efficiency Information Program. These nationwide assessments have already helped 1,400 farms. Guidelines have also been developed to complement these assessments and provide information about where energy is used in dairies, as well as identify where greater efficiency can be found.

In two years since the Sustainability Framework was implemented, manufacturers’ use of fuel and electricity has reduced by 14.5%. Together, the whole value chain is vigorously pursuing its target of reducing the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020.

“We will continue with programs and projects that are guiding the industry toward improved returns, while minimising our environmental footprint and improving the wellbeing of our people and animals,” Mr Griffin explained.

“There is still work to be done, but we are most definitely headed in the right direction.”

Earlier this year, ADF shifted its climate change policy, calling for joint industry and government investment in adopting energy efficient technologies on farm. Chair of the ADF Natural Resources Policy Advisory Group, Daryl Hoey said the revised policy highlights to Parliament, consumers and the broader community that the industry remains actively engaged in reducing its environmental impact.

“The scientific evidence, international policy, and public interest in increased climate variability justify industry action. Our whole value chain strives to continually reduce its environmental footprint, through uptake of new technologies, improved management and adoption of farming systems to suit climate variability,”

“The Australian Government can promote the industry’s effective response to climate variability through sustained investment in agriculture R, D&E and the uptake of energy efficient technologies on farm.”

This includes new solutions that both reduce emissions and improve profitability, international research collaboration, and methodologies that support a whole-farm-systems approach in reducing emissions.

“The Australian dairy industry is keenly observing the Government’s response to the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference taking place in Paris this December,” Mr Hoey said.

“We are aware the outcomes of this event may impact the Australian Government’s approach to emissions reduction policy. We want to ensure any policy initiatives do not undermine our trade exposed industry, but instead support dairy farmers’ ability to manage risk, innovate and adapt to climate variability.”

For more information on ADF's policy on carbon emissions and climate change click here

Legendairy event showcase #gendairy leaders

Jul 21, 2015

Dairy’s most important asset is its people, and the 2015 Developing Dairy Leaders Program (DDLP) Alumni Masterclass is a strong testament to this. Run by Dairy Australia in partnership with Australian Dairy Farmers, the 2015 DDLP Alumni Masterclass provided nine participants the opportunity to further hone their leadership abilities.

The Masterclass focused on understanding leadership as a set of behaviours rather than a fixed position and was facilitated by life coach, Margie Warrell who has previously facilitated programs for organisations such as NASA and the United Nations.

The Masterclass attended a dinner where they were able to meet with industry representatives, and were later given the chance to listen to former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, who delivered an inspiring speech about leadership.

On the final day, Masterclass participants attended the Canberra Legendairy Breakfast with parliamentarians – the perfect networking opportunity for future leaders of dairy.

Alumni took up the challenge eagerly, engaging politicians such as the Minister for Environment, the Hon. Greg Hunt and Senator Bridget McKenzie in discussion about a range of issues - from mental health to minimising the industry’s environmental footprint - putting to use the skills acquired throughout the DDLP program.

DDLP Alumni, Victorian farmer and ADF Natural Resource PAG Member, Dianne Bowles described the experience “refreshing”.

“It was wonderful to have the opportunity to engage with policy makers such as the Federal Member for Bendigo, the Hon. Lisa Chester who are truly interested in key issues affecting the sustainable growth of Australian dairy,” Ms Bowles said.

“The whole DDLP experience has provided me with a renewed understanding of the way Government and therefore industry advocacy works. It has encouraged me more than ever to stand up and take charge – I’d encourage all in the dairy industry to do just that too.”

Addressing the Legendairy crowd ADF Director, Simone Jolliffe spoke about the importance of leadership beyond the traditional view of the buck stopping with the person at the top.

“We often think of leaders and leadership as if they are the same thing. But who the leaders are and how they lead are two different things,” Ms Jolliffe said. 

“It is vital for our industry to have leaders, who can set direction and help themselves and others do the right thing to move forward. Leadership is not about knowing all the answers. It is about creating the right environment to ask the challenging questions.”

“What follows is being able to listen. There’s no point in asking a question if you put the ear muffs on when others start to answer you.”

The Legendairy Breakfast also featured Dairy Australia Chair, Geoff Akers and Minister for Environment, the Hon. Greg Hunt as key speakers. Around 35 members of parliament and their staff attended making the most of the opportunity to meet alumni and industry leaders while enjoying a dairy infused breakfast.

ADF works in collaboration with Dairy Australia to drive the DDLP which is managed by the NCDE. The DDLP aims to develop the capability and capacity of people in the industry who are interested in becoming more actively involved in representative and leadership roles within dairy and their community. 

To find out more about ADF’s work in the People and Human Capacity Policy Area click here

 

ADF Director, Simone Jolliffe with Senator Bridget McKenzie and Federal Minister for Environment, Greg Hunt. 


Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chester MP with DDLP Alumni, Dianne Bowles at the Legendairy Breakfast. 

Consuming with Care: The Dairy Way

Jun 05, 2015

Producing more from less is a constant theme on Australian dairy farms. From reusing water in the milking shed, to ensuring the pasture our cows graze on can be effectively turned into milk, efficiency is the number one buzz word on farm.

Consuming resources with care underpins everything we do on farm because we know it will ensure the sustainability of our businesses, our industry and our planet in the decades to come.

This year on World Environment Day, June 5, the United Nations will reinforce the importance of consuming with care. Whether it be adopting renewable energy systems on farm or switching off the lights at the power switch, our individual decisions and actions count towards a larger goal of preserving not only the environment but the well being of humanity and our economies.

On June 5, Australian dairy will stand proud on its continuing commitment to minimising our environmental footprint as part of dairy’s broader commitment to establishing a more sustainable dairy industry. This commitment is recognised and promoted through the industry’s Sustainability Framework.

Demonstrating the interdependent nature of dairy’s profitability, well being and natural resource management, the Sustainability Framework shows the progress dairy has made thus far as well as acknowledging the work left to do by 2020.

On-farm examples of sustainable practices abound. South Australian share farmers, Andy Vickers and Belinda Wright soil tested 20 farm paddocks and were able to reduce application of phosphorus fertiliser to about one-third, meaning big cost savings, less nutrient runoff, reducing green house gas emissions and better environmental outcomes.

Overall, the industry’s Fert$mart nutrient management initiative has helped farmers, including 120 in recent months throughout Tasmania, Gippsland and South Australia, to achieve on average, a savings of approximately $12,000 per farm.

On King Island, a group of nine dairy farmers co-ordinated the installation of solar hot water systems for dairy sheds, an innovation making the most of renewable energy sources and also forecast to cut hot water costs by up to 50%.

From these grand scale projects to the everyday actions, all dairy farmers play an important role in creating a sustainable Australian dairy industry and consuming our resources with care. This includes everything from monitoring electricity consumption and equipment performance and having some level of automated irrigation to manage water use efficiently, to feeding cows a high quality diet to increase milk production and reduce green house gas emissions.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has been advocating for the Federal Government’s continued funding towards energy efficiency programs, as well as enduring investment in R,D&E in the Government’s consideration of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions targets and policy.

Working with Dairy Australia, ADF has lobbied for nationwide funding for free energy efficiency assessments for dairy farmers that has already helped 1,200 farms – with another 200 due for completion by June 2015.

Supportive policy could assist farmers in tackling rising energy costs, while also contributing to the dairy industry’s – and Australia’s more broadly – environmental sustainability. We’re committed to ensuring Australian dairy’s voice is heard through government policies that support our industry, however there are many areas where we can already act to make a difference. 

 

Select Tags