Collaboration key to dairy success

Jul 09, 2016

With the official announcement of last weekend’s election yet to be made, the dairy sector (like the rest of the nation) is watching very closely and working to ensure that all political parties understand our priorities. Whatever the outcome, it is essential that stability reigns – effective policy formation and clear action to overcome challenges will be otherwise impossible.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has made clear its priorities for the next government – extend and streamline access to the concessional loans and Farm Household Assistance for all affected farmers, create a safer, more resilient workforce, ensure secure sustainable access to water resources and above all, address the imbalance of market power within the dairy supply chain.

It’s good to see that all parties have recognised the importance of supporting our farmers through the current challenge, as well as committing to developing innovative solutions to building long term sustainability of our industry.

However, it is concerning to see some are still calling for a fresh milk levy – an unworkable solution. If a fresh milk levy was imposed, it would potentially result in farmers who supply domestic markets subsidising their export market oriented counterparts. This is not a workable solution.

There are also potential difficulties associated with such a levy breaching Australian Competition and Consumer Commission regulations as well as potential issues with the World Trade Organisation.

The fundamental issue our farmers continue to face is that they wear the bulk of financial risk in the dairy supply chain. We need a practical and viable solution to increase transparency in the way the milk pricing system works and to simplify milk contracts to ensure the volatility of the market is better balanced along the supply chain.

This week UDV and ADF met with farmers in South West Victoria – to hear concerns, answer questions and build feedback about the current supply chain into our policy work. This is one of many meetings ADF will continue to participate in throughout the year, to ensure we are effectively representing farmers’ interests.

The discussion was robust. Overall, the consensus in the room was that trust has been broken and we need to find a way forward.

The challenges faced by farmers in Western Australia due to processor decisions reinforce the sector as a whole is enduring tough times – no state is immune.

Collaboration is what will get us to where we need to be. Our industry relies on all the elements to operate effectively. Farmers need processors and vice versa – so the solutions will require input from all parties.

Beyond this the public and the government ignore us if we do not operate as one. If we have a hung parliament, dairy will need parliamentary champions to advocate our policy priorities and the industry must work together to feed them that case.

David Basham

Acting ADF President

United industry essential during challenging times

May 13, 2016

The past few weeks have presented unprecedented step-downs and claw backs to many farmers. The decisions made by our major processors are extremely disappointing and many farmers must now make difficult decisions about how to best navigate the current market conditions and support their farm.

Across the industry farmers are angry – and they have every right to be. The situation processors have put them in is completely unacceptable. Farmers are resilient and they love what they do. But they need certainty to be able to plan and to be able to trust that the prices they are budgeting on are realistic.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) is working hard on behalf of farmers to signpost help for the short term and find solutions for the long term. This includes:

  • Listening to farmers to make sure we understand what they need most right now. We are working across the industry with our state farming members as well as national service provider Dairy Australia to deliver support, whether it be one-to-one financial guidance or mental health services.
  • Talking to processors, to urge them to help suppliers understand the implications for their businesses and to be accountable for this decision. ADF is pressing the manufacturers to provide early price forecasting. Farmers cannot plan for their businesses without reliable forecasting.
  • Making daily contact with both sides of Parliament, to explain the current and future challenges farmers face, and to seek commitments for targeted assistance.

There are no easy solutions to the challenges we face, but we are examining all options and are considering innovative solutions to build an industry with a stable, long-term future.

Central to this is finding ways to better manage price volatility across the sector, and urging processors to give greater certainty about milk price in a fair timeframe.

The support of government will be essential in better understanding the current situation and in delivering an effective response. As an industry, we need to ensure that we are realistic in expectations and that the solutions we put to them are in the best interests of our farmers and our communities for the long-term.

Our first priority is to provide practical support for farmers facing difficult decisions right now, to ensure that they can take control of their situation and make the best choice for their business and family.

Now is the time for our industry to unite, support one another through the tough times, and collectively consider innovative and practical solutions to help us achieve our vision of sustainable profitability.

Simone Jolliffe

ADF President

For information on programs available through Dairy Australia to help you through the short term challenges click here

March 2016 President's Message

Apr 04, 2016

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 produced 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.


Simone Jolliffe

ADF President

Leading Australian agribusiness executives gather in Sydney this May!

Mar 01, 2016

The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) is excited to partner with the Agribusiness Outlook Australia 2016conference in Sydney on 24-26 May.

Dairy industry representatives are invited to join agribusiness leaders to explore strategic solutions to the key challenges facing agriculture.

ADIC Chair, Simone Jolliffe will be participating as a panellist during two sessions on how to leverage the benefits of free trade agreements for the agribusiness sector and exploring brand Australia respectively.

Register before 1 April and save up to $300! For more information and to register, visit or email

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