Apr 24, 2015
On Wednesday 22 April the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) in partnership for the first time with leading industry super fund, Prime Super hosted an annual Business Breakfast, themed Our Industry, Our Future: Generation Dairy.
The breakfast received an enthusiastic response, with over 100 young farmers, processors and dairy service representatives taking the opportunity to discuss what is working well to support young peoples’ development and growth in dairy, as well as what else need to be done.
Queensland dairy farmer and former Chair of the Australian Dairy Conference 2014, Paul Roderick was the keynote speaker for the breakfast. A fifth generation dairy farmer, Mr Roderick has been actively involved with a number of industry programs including the Young Dairy Network of Australia and firmly believes in their worth.
Mr Roderick said that people in dairy need to focus more on ensuring the next generation has the confidence to lead their farm businesses as well as the processing sector forward.
“What motivates and inspires confidence in people is not always a question of dollars,” he said. “It involves ensuring people in dairy are supported through investment in up-skilling, building efficiencies into their businesses and new technology.”
Further to this, Mr Roderick said, there was a need to encourage rather than tear down leaders.
“To be a self-confessed ‘leader’ in dairy or any agricultural industry runs the risk of being cut down as a tall poppy. As naturally quite humble people, dairy farmers can be harsh on people who do speak out. This in turn puts some people off moving into industry roles. But sometimes the right thing to say or do may not make you popular.”
These sentiments were echoed by ADIC Chair, Noel Campbell who said that leadership is less about management and more about being an agent for change.
“We all have a role to play in leading Australian dairy toward a more sustainable, profitable future.
“The more people who get involved and contribute to important debates, the stronger our voice as a united industry will be,” Mr Campbell said.
A panel of young dairy talent followed Mr Roderick’s presentation. Comprised of Tasmanian dairyfarmer, Nick Dornauf; Victorian farmer and veterinarian, Stuart Griffin; and Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme extension officer, Sarah Saxton, the panel discussed how the current generation can get the next generation involved in important representative and service groups.
Stuart Griffin, whose father Chris is Australian Dairy Farmers’ immediate past President, said it all came down to timing.
“As farmers we never want to do anything to the detriment of the farm, and when you consider how much time these roles can occupy, it can make you second guess it,” Mr Griffin said.
“In truth though, there’s never a wrong time to get involved – it’s about knowing you’re supported and will have guidance along the way.”
On the heels of the event, renewed industry focus has been placed on highlighting the various pathways available to people in dairy, whether stepping up or stepping back, and getting the current dairying generation to place more trust in their successors - an issue brought to the forefront by Mr Roderick.
“Too often in our industry the older generation struggles to let go of responsibility and put their faith in the next generation. Without a clear plan of succession...more often than not that lack of faith can lead to the end of a farming business.”
The ADIC will continue to support and promote the continued development and prosperity of young people in dairy by addressing shortfalls in critical resourcing and funding for services to improve education, safety and wellbeing in the dairying community.
Dec 22, 2014
The “three P’s” of our farming future according to Dr Cameron Archer AM, Principal of Tocal College, are: people, people, people.
Delivering the National Centre for Dairy Education Australia’s (NCDEA) first annual oration on 26 November 2014, Dr Archer underlined the importance of well-educated people in producing a respected product and underpinning the future of Australia’s dairy industry.
“A new technology, a genetic marker, a treatment or medicine, processing method, smart farm technology, breeding strategy, dietary strategy, feed supplements can be around the world in a flash. All of our competitors will have it. What they will do with it - will be up to their people,” Dr Archer said.
“Where we can really have the competitive advantage is through our people.”
Delivered to 90 members of the Australian dairy industry, including the Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) President and CEO, the oration’s themes reflected ADF’s belief that people are the industry’s most important on-farm asset.
Committed to developing policies and strategies to attract more highly skilled people to dairy, ADF’s People and Human Capacity Policy Advisory Group advocates policies to address Australian dairy’s skilled labour shortage, drive industry innovation and secure long-term prosperity.
NCDEA Manager – Educational Development and oration guest of honour, Sylvia Vagg, was recognised by the Australian dairy industry for her dedicated service to dairy education and training.
Dr Cameron Archer AM, Principal of Tocal College presenting as guest speaker at the NCDEA Oration.