Dec 01, 2014
Simone Jolliffe joined the Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) Board in January 2014. Simone’s passion for agriculture was fostered by her family and a childhood spent on a cattle farm. Her interest in agriculture was further developed through her studies at the University of New England in Armidale, where she completed her Bachelor of Rural Science.
Raised on a beef property, Simone has embraced the commitment, intensity and challenges of dairy since joining her husband, Neil, on the Jolliffe farm in 2000. Situated on the Murrumbidgee River, near Wagga Wagga, NSW, Neil and Simone purchased the property in 2008. Farming with her husband and young family, Simone is involved in all aspects of the business from livestock and pastures, through to finances and human resource management.
Simone has been on the board of Dairy NSW since 2010, and became Deputy Chair in 2013. She is also the current Chair for the Inland Elite Dairy Network, and a mother to three school-aged children.
What challenges did you overcome shifting from beef farming to dairy farming when you married Neil?
The biggest challenge was the everyday commitment to dairy farming, most certainly the early morning starts! In terms of nutrition and livestock management, I was able to transfer these skills over quickly, however the human resource side has definitely been a challenge as the business has grown and we have engaged more staff.
Why is it important for you to be involved in all aspects of your dairy farm?
Neil and I are definitely a package deal, meaning that right from the outset we have always participated in joint decision-making. We also bring unique skills to the partnership.
After school I went on to further my studies at university, so I bring a different aspect when we’re reviewing decisions. Neil on the other hand, went straight from school to the farm. As a result, he has always had the hands-on experience and skills that I didn’t necessarily have when I began dairy farming.
This approach enables us to bring different perspectives to decision-making, contributing towards robust debate and ultimately, a business we are both proud of.
Since elected to the ADF Board in January this year, what has your experience been like?
It has definitely been a challenge. As I had not been previously directly involved with ADF, I had a lot of homework to do at the beginning! I have certainly found the experience very engaging and I continue to enjoy the different aspects and approaches to policy-making which complements the work I’ve previously done with Dairy Australia and DairyNSW in the R,D&E (research, development and extension) space.
You have been an active member on the DairyNSW Board over the past four years, what leadership skills do you believe you bring to the ADF Board?
I consider myself to be inclusive, a broad-thinker and encompassing of all aspects of thinking in decision-making. I certainly take all my board roles very seriously and would like to think that I am a well-considered and an active participant, regardless of what board I’m sitting on.
DairyNSW’s Board is different from other Regional Development Program (RDP) Boards as we have Regional Development Groups that sit under us – similar to ADF’s Board and National Council. From this experience, I believe I bring the importance of understanding the structure of member groups to ADF’s Board.
How important is grassroots support to ADF and the broader industry?
It’s the silver bullet! I ultimately think most things are grassroots driven – decisions don’t get made top-down without support from the grassroots level. That’s because ideas and original concepts are usually driven from a grassroots level, which are then refined through the process and improved upon, to ultimately be endorsed and implemented at a national level. We can’t lose that. It doesn’t matter wherever you are in agriculture, you cannot remove that grassroots culture and approach of individual thoughts, concepts and ideas.
You have previously described yourself as someone who is always prepared to “roll up your sleeves”, what does this mean and how do you think you apply this approach to your leadership role at ADF?
Once I’ve committed to something, I will do whatever it is that needs to be done. Developing DairyNSW’s Strategic Plan was an example of this, where I attended workshops in multiple NSW regions with an open ear to hearing the good and the bad from our stakeholders. Whilst there were many difficult conversations to be had, the most important part was being receptive to hearing the ugly truth – which I certainly did plenty of.
These awkward situations often take guts, yet they are so important to understanding and being able to address the real issues our farmers are faced with everyday. In this particular example, from the feedback I gathered, the DairyNSW Board felt positive that we were driving a strategic plan which encapsulated what our stakeholders wanted and we also had the right tools in place to accurately measure on delivering these outcomes.
What are some of the most important policy issues for ADF to focus on in 2015?
The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) restructure is going to be really critical for us as an organisation, and it will be essential that we maintain engagement with NFF through this process. We need to have a clear understanding about what is imperative to our organisation and how this can be aligned with NFF.
In addition, we need to ensure there is effective consolidation of the last 12 month’s successful work, particularly around the China FTA outcome and ensuring it comes into fruition soon.
Being a busy mum, wife, dairy farmer and dedicated industry leader, how do you manage your time?
I am really well supported at home, with a very understanding husband and three very independent and capable children, who are very accepting of what mum does. I am also a ‘list girl’ who is meticulously organised knowing when things have to be done!
If you could impart a single line of advice onto Australian women working in dairy, what would it be?
Stand up and be counted.
It’s so important to ensure woman feel counted and not afraid to have an opinion or to speak up. Real results are achieved when different perspectives are considered – each of us has value to give.
I think dairy tends to be more accepting of the skills and knowledge women bring to the table than other commodities, and this has resulted in better gender balance representation at all levels from local discussion groups; to state and national levels.
We only have to look at DairyNSW’s 50/50 male and female split Board and two out of five of ADF’s Board Directors being female to see there is a huge amount of opportunity for women in dairy leadership roles.
Nov 26, 2014
Officially launched by the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce in Taree, NSW, the ‘Collective Bargaining for Dairy Farmers’ guide is an easy to read document for dairy farmers interested in forming collective bargaining groups to negotiate with milk buyers.
Prepared by Dairy Australia, in conjunction with Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), the guide aims to provide practical advice and insights for farmers looking to level the playing field between small suppliers and large milk buyers.
The guide explores the mutual benefits both dairy farmers and milk buyers can receive when collective bargaining is employed effectively. While not suitable for all, collective bargaining has the potential to deliver many benefits to dairy farmers, including supply chain efficiencies, new marketing opportunities, greater input into contractual terms and more certainty on price.
From the milk buyers end, collective bargaining can result in enhance milk quality, guaranteed year-round fresh milk supplies and improved two-way communications with the collective bargaining group. These mutual benefits show that when effectively employed, collective bargaining can be a win-win for both parties involved.
In 2011, ADF renewed its authorisation grant from the ACCC to collectively bargain with milk processors. This authorisation enables dairy farmers to form and register collective bargaining groups under ADF’s existing authorisation without having to separately apply to the ACCC.
For more information about collective bargaining groups and authorisation guidelines, please contact the ADF Office: (03) 8621 4200
May 01, 2014
ADIC Chair, Noel Campbell, said Australian dairy would not be the $13 billion farm, manufacturing and export success story it is today, without the contribution
of women over the course of its history.
“Today we shine a spotlight on the many talented, passionate and dedicated women working across the dairy industry,” Mr Campbell said.
“From the farm, to the factory, to the family dining table, today’s ADIC breakfast celebrates the major contribution that women have made, and continue
to make, to our industry.”
Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), CEO, Natalie Collard, said women continue to perform many varied
and important tasks across all levels of the industry.
“This is reflected in the fact that 62% of all women working on dairy farms are owner-managers, 25% are employees and a further 13% contributing family
members,” Ms Collard said.
“When we also consider the hugely significant role that women play in shaping household budgets and associated purchasing decisions – their significance
to the industry from farm gate to supermarket shelf becomes all too clear.”
Scientist and inaugural recipient of the ADIC’s Outstanding Service Award (OSA) in 2010, Dr Anne Astin, described women’s involvement in the industry as
an important chapter in the history of Australian agriculture.
“Whether it’s on-farm, in the factory or the complex world of agri-politics, women continue to play a leading, if sometimes unheralded role, within the
industry,” Dr Astin said.
“We can and must do more, as an industry and as a community to recognise and celebrate women’s unique and enduring contribution to Australian dairy.”
Mr Campbell thanked the event’s keynote speaker, Carolyn Creswell, founder and Managing Director of Carman’s Fine Foods.
“Carolyn’s success with Carman’s is an inspiration to a generation of young men and women and demonstrates in particular, how it is possible to balance
success in business with family life,” he said.
Mr Campbell said in dairying regions and rural and regional Australia more generally, there has been a shift in the workforce, with more women working
(46% of the workforce) and more men working part-time.
“This trend reflects the changing face of the modern Australian workforce, and the dairy industry is no exception,” he said.
“Over time, we will likely see more women involved in the industry and it’s important that we continue to focus our efforts in promoting the industry as
an attractive career choice into the future.”
Mr Campbell thanked women involved at every level of the industry for their dedication, passion and commitment to Australian dairy.
To view the ‘Celebrating Legendairy Women’ video launched at the breakfast, click here.