What does passing of Dairy Levy Poll Bill mean for levy payers?

Mar 21, 2016

The Dairy Levy Poll process is set to be streamlined following the passing of legislation in March 2016 to alter review procedures while retaining a strong democratic process for farmers.

The passage of the Bill provides certainty around the process for the 2017 levy review process and future reviews. Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has welcomed the passage of the Bill, re-emphasising that this is not about removing Dairy Australia from scrutiny, but instead about streamlining the process and making sure every levy dollar invested delivers value back to farmers.

ADF thanked the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce and the Department of Agriculture for championing the Bill on behalf of dairy farmers, who voted to make the changes to the process in November 2015.

The changes mean that instead of a mandatory poll, every five years, an industry advisory committee will review whether there is a need to change the levy or conduct a poll. If no change in the levy is recommended, there will not be a poll. However, a poll must be held if it is recommended there be a change in the levy.

The changes also provide a mechanism to allow dairy farmers to request a poll with the support of at least 15 per cent of levy votes.

Now that the legislation is passed ADF will oversee the development of more in-depth procedures for the revised process.

For further information regarding the Dairy Levy Poll process review, visit www.dairylevypollreview.com.au

Levy poll changes get the go-ahead

Feb 29, 2016

The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce, has supported changes to the dairy industry levy poll process, voted on by levy payers in 2015.

The Bill to amend the current Act was introduced to the lower house on 11 February 2016, and debated on 25 February 2016. Debate in the Senate commenced on 29 February and ADF currently awaits a final decision on the Bill.

“Australia’s dairy sector is an important and forward-looking industry, with good leadership and a strong vision for its future,” Minister Joyce said.

“Levy payers have demonstrated strong support for these changes, which will simplify and streamline the dairy levy process.”

Mrs Jolliffe said the changes are expected to result in a simpler, less costly levy poll process, while still ensuring accountability in spending levy funds is retained.

“This means these levy funds can be directed towards vital research, development and extension programs, increasing productivity and profitability and continuing to strengthen innovation within our industry.”

For more information on the levy poll changes please see www.dairylevypollreview.com.au.


Trade reforms a positive kick start for 2016

Jan 23, 2016

Over the course of 2015, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), together with state members and industry partners has worked collaboratively with government to broker new trade deals which increase access to key Asian markets hungry for safe, clean and sustainable Australian dairy produce.

ADF welcomed the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which entered into force on 20 December 2015, followed quickly by a second round of tariff reductions on 1 January 2016.

Also on New Year’s Day, the Korea-Australia FTA progressed to its third year of benefits for dairy exporters, meaning further tariff reductions and increased quotas for a range of Australian dairy exports.

Similarly, the Malaysia-Australia FTA moved into its fourth year of implementation, translating to further increased liquid milk tariff rate quotas. The Thai-Australia and US-Australia FTA’s also celebrated a milestone in passing the 10 year point, and provided improved duty free quotas for Australian dairy.

Further to this, the finalisation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations in late 2015, plus the late December announcement of an agreement to abolish government subsidies on agricultural exports through the World Trade Organisation.

The Australian dairy industry still faces challenges in its export focused markets, especially with regard to technical barriers to trade which translate to higher production costs, reduced product returns and restricted export demands all combine to lower milk returns for farmers.

With these challenges in mind, ADF is celebrating the progress made in trade reform to the long-term benefit of our industry. This progress boosts the industry’s competitive position in the global market and contributes to building confidence to invest in a strong future for Australian dairy.

For more information on ADF’s Markets Trade and Value Chain priorities, click here.

World Soil Day: Farmers, soil stewards

Dec 05, 2015

Saturday 5 December, is World Soil Day. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations kicked off World Soil Day of recognition in 2002, and we’re using the occasion to celebrate the role healthy soils play in building productive and profitable farms.

By getting the trace elements in the soil right, farmers on Australian dairy farms often find they have the potential to drive increased milk production higher.  

Regular soil testing is necessary to make informed decisions on fertiliser use and soil management and the interpretation of soil test results is key to making the most cost-effective fertiliser choice. Dairying for Tomorrow’s Fert$mart program includes a range of tools to help advisers and farmers get soil “right” and make informed, cost-effective fertiliser management decisions.

Australian Dairy Farmer’s (ADF) Natural Resources Policy Advisory Group Chair, Daryl Hoey said insufficient fertiliser negatively impacts on pasture growth. This means less pasture and means farmers have to increase supplementary feeding or reduce stocking rates. Too much fertiliser, or fertilising at the wrong time means wasted resources.

“The key is to have the balance in soil just right so that nutrients are available for optimal pasture growth and are not lost in run-off into waterways and dams,” Mr Hoey said.

Soil health can also be improved by the implementation of a well-managed effluent system. Effluent is a valuable resource for reducing fertiliser costs, increasing soil fertility, adding organic matter to soil and providing valuable nutrients and moisture to crops and pastures.

“We now have a better understanding of effluent management than ever before,” Mr Hoey said. “The industry has moved away from a waste product mentality to taking a resource utilisation approach and, as a result, not only do we have improved productivity on farm, we are leaving our soils in better condition now and for future generations.”

Australia's dairy farmers have always had a strong commitment to environmental sustainability with industry bodies such as ADF and Dairy Australia coordinating a range of industry programs to help farmers manage fertiliser use, improve soil health and minimise the impact of effluent.

The dairy industry’s sustainability framework Mr Hoey explained, underpins the whole of value chain effort to minimise the environmental footprint of dairy.

“The framework has been used to identify priority areas, goals and objectives for sustainability,” said Mr Hoey. “It sets the scene for industry programs like Fer$mart and farmer investment and practices to deliver better results for both farmers and the environment.”

“Dairy farmers have a real commitment to managing land and water responsibly, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting natural resources for future generations,” said Mr Hoey. 

“And as a bonus, many farmers are finding that, with proper soil and fertiliser management, they can produce more feed at no extra cost.”

To find out more about the role healthy soils play on Australian dairy farms take a look here.


Select Tags