Revised labelling progress toward a clearer system

Apr 01, 2016

The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) has acknowledged the revised country of origin labelling system, announced by the Federal Government yesterday, as a positive move toward providing consumers with a clearer understanding of where their food comes from.

ADIC Chair, Simone Jolliffe said the industry provided significant feedback to the proposed system to Government, some of which is reflected in the announced laws. 

“We are pleased to see the revised laws will allow for a minimum transition period of two years. This will ease implementation for manufacturers, allowing stocks of existing labels to run out and help ensure that unreasonable regulatory costs are avoided,” Mrs Jolliffe said.

“It will also allow for the development of an education campaign to properly inform consumers about interpreting the new system, so that they can make sound choices.”

The ADIC also expressed its appreciation for the opportunity to state the percentage of Australian product under the revised labelling system.

“The increased flexibility of the sliding scale system as well as the accompanying descriptions of Australian ingredient content on packaging is a positive improvement.”

The ADIC looks forward to reviewing the full detail of the proposed changes to fully understand the impact on Australian dairy products and ensure implementation of the system works for consumers, customers and the Australian dairy industry.

February President's Message

Feb 29, 2016

There has been a lot of discussion about investment for a stronger future this month, with a great deal of excitement generated by recent investments in Australian dairy.

Such investment will have positive impacts for farming communities.Investors may be interested in further value added opportunities for milk processing. This could be a generator of new growth and development for the whole industry. Investment that passes our foreign investment regulatory tests continue to the benefit of Australian dairy.

Importantly, our industry recognises that this stronger future depends equally on economic, environmental and social outcomes. Dairy continues to hold itself accountable by not waiting for change to occur, but by initiating positive change ourselves. The industry’s progress is highlighted by the Sustainability Framework’s 2015 Progress Report – set to be released shortly via www.sustainabledairyoz.com.au.

It was my great pleasure to discuss the industry’s performance against the key targets with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in late February at the Canberra Dairy Forum, and to share more about our industry’s commitment to retaining our social licence to operate.

I encourage you all to take a look at the Progress Report when it is released in mid-march and provide feedback.

Part of tackling sustainability challenges and helping the industry demonstrate performance to the Australian community, is investing in agile representative structures. On the heels of a period of significant policy achievement, ADF is in the strongest position it has ever been. Much of this we owe to our 2012 restructure which helped build greater transparency and engagement with key stakeholders, particularly decision makers in government.

We recognise that there is room to further improve our representative models, to ensure that we can continue to effectively advocate on behalf of all dairy farmers in all dairying regions. The proposed National Farmers’ Federation’s restructure has begun this conversation and ADF looks forward to furthering this discussion to ensure dairy representation has a future that maintains currency, relevance and accountability.

Simone Jolliffe

ADF President

New target for routine calving induction in 2016

Jan 25, 2016

Key Points 

  • National policy to phase out calving induction 
  • Improved breeding programs to lift fertility and support farmers through the policy change
  • Learning from NZ approach
  • Targeted assistance and advice to be provided to farmers impacted

Caring for cows is always a key priority for Australian dairy farmers and our industry. The industry is dedicated to providing a high standard of care for our animals, and to changing practices when in the best interests of our livestock. 

In April 2015, following a series of meetings and consultation with farmers, vets and processors the dairy industry agreed to phase-out routine calving induction nationally.

Revised Policy

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), Dairy Australia, vets and processors have since been working on implementing the revised policy which is:

“ADF does not support routine calving induction and will work to phase it out through improved herd improvement practices, tools and technologies.”

Calving induction is already reducing in Australia and the dairy industry’s breeding programs such as InCalf and the improvement of fertility by genetic selection are making a difference.

A Steering Group, including dairy farmers, representatives from the Australian Cattle Veterinarians, Dairy Australia and the Australian Dairy Products Federation (ADPF), was established to progress the phase-out.

A data survey of veterinary practices performing inductions was undertaken in 2015. The results confirm estimates from previous farmer surveys that the number of cows induced is declining. It is estimated that in 2015 less than 1.5% of the national herd were induced (approximately 24,000 cows) however there is considerable variation between farms and regions.

The industry is now working to reduce even further the number of cows induced.

Target for 2016

After reviewing the 2015 induction data, ADFwill introduce a target for 2016 that routine calving induction will be limited to a maximum of 15% of cows within a herd unless a dispensation has been granted.

The 15% limit will apply unless a fertility management plan has been implemented or dispensation is granted for exceptional circumstances beyond a farmers control such as herd health issues, severe weather events (floods, fire), AB failure as well as other issues.

An 'Oversight and Engagement' Panel including representatives from ADF, the Australian Cattle Vets and ADPF has been formed. The panel, with support from Dairy Australia, will establish guidelines and consider requests for exemptions exceeding the 15% target set for 2016. Whilst there is no legal requirement on dairy farmers to achieve the 15% target the dairy industry is seeking to achieve industry-wide practice that is over and above the legal requirements and is confident farmers will adopt the recommended voluntary industry targets as the phase-out progresses.

Farmers will apply to the Oversight and Engagement Panel via their vet for special dispensation to carry out inductions in excess of the 15% limit for routine calving inductions.

The Steering Group will work with the Oversight and Engagement Panel to monitor progress and review the target each year in order to establish updated annual targets.

Industry Programs

Improving herd fertility is a fundamental requirement to reduce the need for routine calving induction and it also delivers many benefits for farm profitability and resilience. The industry is working closely with veterinarians and reproduction advisors to ensure advice and services are available to assist farmers with fertility management.

Industry programs such as InCalf, the Repro Right network and InCharge Workshops will be enhanced and the industry will provide targeted reproduction advice to those farmers most in need.

New Zealand

The New Zealand dairy industry has phased out routine calving induction over a period of time and has banned the practice as of 1 June 2015. The industry is liaising with counterparts in New Zealand to understand and learn from their approach; in particular the setting of annual limits with a dispensation process.

Late Calving Induction

A particular concern recognised by industry has been the use of late calving induction. ADF is aware that several veterinary practices no longer perform late calving inductions, as they provide no reproductive benefit. Late inductions (performed within 4-6 weeks of the due calving date) provide no overall reproductive benefit for the herd and should not be performed except for the welfare of the cow or her calf.

Early pregnancy testing is required by these practices to make sure late inductions are not occurring.

ADF will continue to consult with farmers, veterinarians, state organisations and other stakeholders to ensure that the timing, process and outcomes are right for animals and farmers.

*Routine calving induction is all non-therapeutic inductions

 

Introducing ADF's New Director's...

Jan 18, 2016

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) is pleased to welcome new Business Director, Terry Richardson and Independent Director, Dr Dedee Woodside, alongside recently elected President, Simone Jolliffe to the ADF Board following the ADF Annual General Meeting on 26 November 2015.

With significant experience in various agriculture roles, as well as through their diverse industry leadership and advocacy roles, both Board members are exceedingly well qualified for their Board position, each bringing a unique perspective to the table.

ADF interviewed each Director to find out a bit more about them. We asked them what they believe the most important policy issues are for ADF to focus on in 2016...

Terry Richardson

As a native New Zealander I have great appreciation for the vast geographical challenges that Australian dairy farmers face. As a dairy farmer I know that it is difficult to prepare and mitigate these challenges unless we are building sustainable business models. In order to achieve this it is essential to be profitable. For these reasons I believe the short term and long term goals of ADF are intrinsically linked.

Our policy focus will always be set by what stands in the way of building a stronger future for our industry. This will mean the continued implementation of projects that propel us toward the industry’s vision to become prosperous, trusted and world renowned for nutrition.

In order to help achieve this vision, ADF can develop its communication of the role policy plays in helping us be profitable. Price will always be on the front page, but policy is always bubbling away behind the scenes – we often don’t hear much about it. Yet without strong policies that address everything from competition issues to research and development funding, it is impossible for our industry to be profitable. For this reason I am keen to work with ADF to continue to build our members and non-members’ understanding of how important policy is to what we do.

Through key achievements such as the pro-dairy China-Australia FTA we have seen how effective our industry is when united – we must continue this unity in order to see improved policy outcomes for our industry in future.

Dr Dedee Woodside

Dairy’s central focus for 2016 appears to increasingly be on water, soils and energy – and the availability, quality and sustainability of these resources.

I am attracted to the idea that with such a buzz around environmental responsibility and impact at the moment there is a real opportunity for the Australian dairy industry to make some headway on issues of concern to our farmers, processors and consumers. In particular with the recent Paris Climate Summit and the Australian Government’s commitment to energy targets we can highlight that this isn’t an overnight process. Our industry needs strong thought and planning to ensure we are achieving our environmental targets in a way that is reasonable and practical.

Already the industry has begun on this path, particularly in light of the growing opportunity in overseas markets and talk of expanding production. I am interested to contribute to this discussion, to understand whether growth is really a viable option and to understand what the limits are; where we can be smarter about our operations and where we need to change tactics entirely.

I am excited to be a part of ADF’s journey under a new President, Simone Jolliffe and a part of an industry that is growing, changing and opening up. The next few years will be very interesting.

ADF President, Simone Jolliffe welcomed the new additions to the Board and said she looks forward to working with them in 2016.

“Their vision and ideas will help ADF in its work to promote the interests and sustainable profitability of all Australian dairy farmers,” Mrs Jolliffe said.

For more information on ADF’s Directors see www.australiandairyfarmers.com.au

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