Dairy pays tribute to Max Jelbart

Jun 06, 2016

The industry has bid farewell to dedicated dairy advocate, Max Jelbart who sadly passed away in June.

Mr Jelbart, who farmed successfully in Gippsland and Caldermade, was an admired intellectual who shared his time and knowledge freely.

During his career in dairy, Max served on various industry boards and committees and was a supplier of Murray Goulburn for 38 years – and a director since 2012.

A Director on the ADF Board for seven years and a past President of the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria’s South Gippsland Branch, Mr Jelbart was this year presented with an Order of Australia medal for his services to the dairy industry and the community.

A Nuffield Farming Scholar and member of the Nuffield Australia Investment Committee, Mr Jelbart was renowned for seeking out new ways to develop his capacity as a farmer as well as opportunities to give back.

“Max was extremely passionate about helping to foster the next generation in dairy, and ensuring they had the right tools to grow their businesses,” ADF President, David Basham said.

“His readiness to share his expertise with industry and the community alike was inspirational – he was a tireless advocate and will continue to be remembered very fondly.”

On behalf of staff and representative leaders past and present, ADF expressed its deepest sympathies to Mr Jelbart’s family.

Support for all farmers - no exceptions

Jun 03, 2016

Dairy industry leaders are united around a clear objective: to ensure every Australian dairyfarmer has the capability, tools and support to fully understand their individual business position, and to make decisions about their future based on sound evidence.

The release of Dairy Australia’s Situation and Outlook report last week reinforced that there are tough times ahead – but also that with collaboration, empathy and leadership, measured policy responses and effective support from government, consumers and our own supply chain, we can work towards a stronger future.

To prepare for the next season farmers must have earlier and clearer pricing signals, with a more equitable pricing system that better balances risk along the supply chain of farmers, processors and retailers. Without this, farmers and allied businesses will remain vulnerable. ADF and our state members continue to urge processors to urgently communicate their opening price as soon as possible.

Commonwealth and State Government support in Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia has bolstered programs to strengthen pathways for dairyfarmers and enhanced our ability to support the health and wellbeing of our own. We need detail on these announcements as soon as possible and have been pressing governments to release the criteria for the Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans scheme immediately.

As the industry’s peak body, our longer-term resolution includes significant policy ambitions. We need a more equitable pricing system that better balances risk along the supply chain of farmers, processors and retailers.

To help farmers here and now it is crucial that the full suite of support measures be available to farmers across all dairying regions, as processors begin the process of setting milk prices to be paid from July 1. All dairyfarmers, not only Murray Goulburn and Fonterra suppliers, must have access to these measures. ADF has made this clear in our discussions with Government.

We are aware that the current challenges concern sharefarmers and dairy farm employees too. Dairyfarmers who have previously been ineligible for government assistance due to their permanent residency status are also on our radar. Ensuring our industry can retain skilled, experienced employees is key to safeguarding our future – a message we are taking to Canberra, to ensure all aspects of our workforce, and their needs in this unprecedented circumstance are not forgotten.

As the details are made more clear we will contact our members. We encourage you to keep reaching out to ADF, as well as your state dairy farming organisation and regional development programs to access support.

David Basham

ADF President

Friday 20 May ADF Update

May 20, 2016

As debate rages about milk price shock in the public sphere, it is essential that we don’t let the facts about the current challenges our industry is facing go astray.

The decisions made by some major processors, in particular Murray Goulburn and Fonterra, in recent weeks have hit Australian dairy farmers hard.

We can’t change what has happened, but we can work to take charge of the things within our control – that means providing support to equip farmers with the tools they need to help manage their current situation and finding ways to prevent this issue in future.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) in collaboration with state members and Dairy Australia is providing targeted assistance. I encourage you all to take advantage of these resources by contacting your Regional Development Program (RDP).

Industry efforts will continue to support farmers during these challenging times, but in order for farmers to get through the short term ADF is seeking commitments from all parties to back our farmers during this financial crisis.

Ongoing discussion with all political parties, both state and national has delivered positive commitments from State government, particularly in Victoria and South Australia, to help farmers continue to operate.

We have met with Federal politicians this week to discuss support measures we need here and now, including one off grants for dairy farmers in exceptional circumstances, increased funding for the Rural Financial Counselling resources and streamlining access to existing government programs. A bipartisan approach to these solutions is essential.

Our priority remains delivering support for the short term but that doesn’t mean we aren’t considering solutions to prevent this issue from occurring again.

ADF has always advocated that there needs to be a better balance between retailers, processors and farmers. We are working with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to address these concerns. We were pleased to see that the ACCC’s Agricultural Engagement Unit heeded our call to investigate the processors actions in recent weeks and we will assist with that investigation where possible.

ADF is working with financial institutions to ensure farmers are treated fairly. The ANZ’s announcement is very encouraging, and we are confident other banks will take a balanced approach, if not provide a similar assistance package.

Farmers have been hit with a number of challenges but with the resilience we know this industry has, and the right support we will work through this and build a stronger future.

Simone Jolliffe

ADF President 

Argibusiness Outlook 2016 to focus on global demand for Aussie produce

Apr 11, 2016

The Agribusiness Outlook Australia event will explore the strategies for primary producers to access and leverage the global demand for Australian produce. With sessions exploring how to access overseas markets, how to establish a reputable brand, and how to strategically position your organisation for success, this event will provide a platform to share best practice examples, innovative approaches and other strategic ways to secure a profitable and productive future.

In particular, the event will explore the tools to make Australia the next global supplier, due to the considerable economic expectation pinned on the growing appetite for Australian produce.
 
High international demand is great news for the security of Australian agribusiness. For example, when Coles dropped Bega Cheese in February for its private label cheese manufacturing and packaging this could have been detrimental for Bega if it had no further opportunities to access even greater revenue.
 
The dairy producer responded to the change in supply arrangements with Coles by redirecting their supply to other markets, like China, and rapidly growing their infant formula and nutritional platforms to attract much greater margins. Bega’s Chief Executive, Aidan Coleman, has noted that the strong global demand for infant formula will offset the loss of the Cole’s contract, estimated to be around $130 million.
 
Prior to the terminated contract, Bega’s share price had surged more than 42 per cent after announcing a joint venture with Blackmores to develop branded infant formula and sell into China. The positive results attained from the early stages of the Bega/Blackmore partnership indicate a prosperous future for the two companies, and endless possibilities for Australian agribusiness.
 
However, not all producers could bounce back from such an unexpected loss. Transitioning to high-margin products and bigger markets requires significant resources and investment. But this does not limit access to overseas markets to only those who hold noteworthy resources.
 
Bulla Dairy Foods are a great example of how even small business can access markets and opportunities overseas. Although it will still be a few years before Bulla can focus more of their business with China, they are currently preparing by innovating and building a competitive export portfolio to unlock and maximise the benefits available.
 
The Agribusiness Outlook Australia is a not-to-be-missed forum that will examine, amongst other topics, how to leverage global demand through a diverse collection of case-studies including from Bega Cheese, Graincorp, Coles and Bulla Dairy Foods, with the overall intention to secure a productive, profitable and successful future for all Australian agribusiness.
 
For more details about the conference please download the brochure here.
 

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