President's Message - June 2015

Jun 15, 2015


Whether at the farm gate or in the board room, stopping to take stock, acknowledge success and identify areas for improvement is essential to ensuring any good business remains on track to deliver desired outcomes.

Now at the half way mark for 2015, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) is reflecting on the progress made thus far and the challenges yet to overcome, with the interests of dairy farmers and their profitability top of mind.

Volatility is a constant theme for dairy farmers and the past six months has been no different with all regions affected in some way by floods, drought and an ever fluctuating global milk price. But while there have been challenges there has also been important progress.

In March, we welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement to introduce legislation capping water buybacks in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) at 1500 gigalitres (GL). The 1500GL cap provides dairy farmers in the Murray-Darling Basin with much-needed certainty about future water availability to sustain their business.

ADF has also welcomed the relaxation of audit requirements for farmers in the southern-connected region of the Basin who participate the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Programme. This policy win will be explored later on the newsletter.

ADF’s lobbying on competition policy was instrumental in securing a positive step toward reforming Australia’s flawed legislation - the introduction of a Prescribed Code of Conduct. The Prescribed Code is not perfect, but it does address several key imbalances with regard to retailers’ power over suppliers. We welcome the commitment already made by retailer Woolworths by signing onto the Prescribed Code, and expect that in the days to come all the major retailers will follow suit.

ADF will continue to monitor the Codes’ effectiveness over the next three years with a view to seek the strengthening of regulations if necessary. We will also continue to advocate for an Ombudsman to help balance the market power of major retailers.

The above ‘short list’ skims the surface of the progress made so far this year, with many challenges, and triumphs, still ahead. At the forefront of our agenda is ensuring our industry retains the confidence and trust of consumers, customers and the broader public by addressing issues of concern such as unconventional gas mining and highlighting dairy farmers’ commitment to the health and wellbeing of their cattle.

The team at ADF remains committed to ensuring Australian dairy’s voice is heard through government policies that support our industry, and working with our industry bodies to ensure dairy’s good practices are known and understood across the broader community.

Noel Campbell
ADF President

President’s Message - May 2015

May 13, 2015

From water heating to milk cooling; harvesting to lighting, energy is a big cost on our farms. Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has been advocating for the Federal Government’s continued funding towards energy efficiency programs, as well as enduring investment in R,D&E in the Government’s consideration of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions targets and policy.

Supportive policy could assist farmers in tackling rising energy costs, while also contributing to the dairy industry’s – and Australia’s more broadly – environmental sustainability. We’re committed to ensuring Aussie dairy’s voice is heard through government policies that support our industry, however there are also areas we can address together.

As individuals our decisions can seem small in the face of Australia’s global footprint, however when our community joins forces for a common purpose, we can and do make a tremendous difference. Good business management can lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness, as well as a reduced environmental impact. Dairy Australia has many practical natural resource management tips that are not only good for the environment but also for farmers’ bottom line.

On behalf of ADF, I congratulate Dairy Australia for its success in receiving a proportion of the first round of Government grants under the $100 million Rural Research and Development for Profit Program. The funding will be invested into three-year projects including finding ways to turn agricultural waste into feed, fertilisers and soil conditioners, and the development of tools to help dairy farmers manage and select the most profitable cows utilising milk scanning technology. These projects will contribute significantly to assisting Aussie dairy farmers improve their productivity and profitability.

It has been an incredibly tough month in our northern regions with severe flooding in NSW’s Hunter Valley and Queensland. While we may be able to control our energy consumption, some issues are just beyond our power no matter how far ahead in the season we prepare for them. During times of hardship it’s very important to remember to ask for help when you need it. While the water may be receding, the hardship may just have begun. There are many local, state and national support channels available to dairy farmers both during the time of a natural disaster, as well as the months following the aftermath.

Noel Campbell

ADF President

President's Message - February 2015

Feb 16, 2015

Aussie dairy farmers have a good track record of dealing with the unexpected. From managing a variable climate to coping with fluctuating milk prices – dealing with uncertainty is practically second nature.

This attribute means that dairy is by nature a forward thinking industry – keen to address tomorrow’s challenges today, to ensure our animals continue to thrive and that our farms are sustainable and profitable in the long term.

In 2015 our industry’s focus remains the same – from the farm to the processing plant – we continue our commitment to investing in our planet, people and animals, and investing in the long term profitability of Australian dairy.

I am pleased to inform you that the 2014 Sustainability Framework Progress Report is now available online . This report outlines the dairy industry’s current sustainability-related investments, accomplishments, and challenges as we work towards our sustainability targets.

We have built on our progress in 2013, with programs and projects on our farms and in our factories that are guiding the industry toward better profits, while minimising our environmental footprint and improving the wellbeing of our people and animals.

However, there are still challenges to overcome. We continue to look for improvements and are strongly committed to working towards even better performance standards.

Looking ahead, our commitment to securing a sustainable dairy industry provides the foundation for all our actions, to establish an Australian dairy industry which is more prosperous, trusted and world renowned for its nutrition than ever before. I look forward to working with you all in pursuit of these goals.

On a more personal note, in April this year our highly respected CEO, Natalie Collard is moving on in search of her next challenge.

I am certain you will all join me in thanking Natalie for her tireless dedication to not only ADF, but to the people that we represent.  Natalie’s proactive, innovative and considered approach has improved the quality and effectiveness of the work we do on your behalf.

We wish Natalie every success for the future, and hope that her skills, leadership and passion are not completely lost to the dairy industry in future.


Noel Campbell

ADF President

President's Message - January 2015

Jan 19, 2015

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) welcomes 2015 with enthusiasm as we fine-tune our advocacy priorities to establish a sound policy platform to ensure we can capitalise upon growth opportunities delivered by 2014’s advocacy.

The prospects presented through 2014’s policy wins, such as the China FTA, prove that dairy is a force to be reckoned with when the whole value chain works collectively to achieve its aims. However, challenges including limited opportunities for domestic growth, as well as labour and skills shortages, and competition issues continue to constrain our industry.

We must persist in identifying and addressing these issues and solutions at the Federal level, whilst assisting our State Dairy Farmer Organisation (SDFO) members at the State level as required. ADF’s 2015 agenda is committed to carrying out whatever we can to progress these policies and help dairy become the best it can be.

Over the next 12 months, ADF is focused on addressing five key priority areas: continuing to drive market, trade and farm prosperity; building a highly skilled and productive workforce; developing fair and sustainable access to natural resources; and promoting animal health and welfare standards.

Under the ‘building a highly skilled and productive workforce’ umbrella, ADF will continue to advocate to reduce the three-hour minimum engagement requirement from the Pastoral Award  2010 and ensure that milking is included as an essential requirement, alongside feeding and watering of livestock.

The Pastoral Award is one of ADF’s 15 key policy priorities to Government this year. To find out more about other 2015 policy priorities, please stay tuned over the coming weeks to download your copy of ADF’s ‘Policy Priorities to Government 2015’.

I look forward to working with you throughout 2015 and trust you had an enjoyable festive season spent with family and friends. 

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