Legendairy event showcase #gendairy leaders

Jul 21, 2015

Dairy’s most important asset is its people, and the 2015 Developing Dairy Leaders Program (DDLP) Alumni Masterclass is a strong testament to this. Run by Dairy Australia in partnership with Australian Dairy Farmers, the 2015 DDLP Alumni Masterclass provided nine participants the opportunity to further hone their leadership abilities.

The Masterclass focused on understanding leadership as a set of behaviours rather than a fixed position and was facilitated by life coach, Margie Warrell who has previously facilitated programs for organisations such as NASA and the United Nations.

The Masterclass attended a dinner where they were able to meet with industry representatives, and were later given the chance to listen to former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, who delivered an inspiring speech about leadership.

On the final day, Masterclass participants attended the Canberra Legendairy Breakfast with parliamentarians – the perfect networking opportunity for future leaders of dairy.

Alumni took up the challenge eagerly, engaging politicians such as the Minister for Environment, the Hon. Greg Hunt and Senator Bridget McKenzie in discussion about a range of issues - from mental health to minimising the industry’s environmental footprint - putting to use the skills acquired throughout the DDLP program.

DDLP Alumni, Victorian farmer and ADF Natural Resource PAG Member, Dianne Bowles described the experience “refreshing”.

“It was wonderful to have the opportunity to engage with policy makers such as the Federal Member for Bendigo, the Hon. Lisa Chester who are truly interested in key issues affecting the sustainable growth of Australian dairy,” Ms Bowles said.

“The whole DDLP experience has provided me with a renewed understanding of the way Government and therefore industry advocacy works. It has encouraged me more than ever to stand up and take charge – I’d encourage all in the dairy industry to do just that too.”

Addressing the Legendairy crowd ADF Director, Simone Jolliffe spoke about the importance of leadership beyond the traditional view of the buck stopping with the person at the top.

“We often think of leaders and leadership as if they are the same thing. But who the leaders are and how they lead are two different things,” Ms Jolliffe said. 

“It is vital for our industry to have leaders, who can set direction and help themselves and others do the right thing to move forward. Leadership is not about knowing all the answers. It is about creating the right environment to ask the challenging questions.”

“What follows is being able to listen. There’s no point in asking a question if you put the ear muffs on when others start to answer you.”

The Legendairy Breakfast also featured Dairy Australia Chair, Geoff Akers and Minister for Environment, the Hon. Greg Hunt as key speakers. Around 35 members of parliament and their staff attended making the most of the opportunity to meet alumni and industry leaders while enjoying a dairy infused breakfast.

ADF works in collaboration with Dairy Australia to drive the DDLP which is managed by the NCDE. The DDLP aims to develop the capability and capacity of people in the industry who are interested in becoming more actively involved in representative and leadership roles within dairy and their community. 

To find out more about ADF’s work in the People and Human Capacity Policy Area click here

 

ADF Director, Simone Jolliffe with Senator Bridget McKenzie and Federal Minister for Environment, Greg Hunt. 


Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chester MP with DDLP Alumni, Dianne Bowles at the Legendairy Breakfast. 

Report to strengthen farm profitability

Jul 19, 2015

A new report on the Australian dairy industry has identified efficient input use, strict cost control and sound management skills as the key areas of focus that can help all dairy farmers achieve better profits.

Commissioned by the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) and produced by Dairy Australia, the Sustainable Farm Profitability Report examines farm business profitability, pinpointing key drivers of successful dairying businesses and highlighting long-term strategies for success within farmers’ control.

Launching the report on Gippsland farmers’ Aubrey Pellet and Jaqui Morrison’s property on Friday July 3, ADIC Chair, Noel Campbell said that by benchmarking profitable and less profitable farms against one another the report would help identify areas for improvement on farm.

“Farmers may not be able to control the hike of electricity, fertiliser and fuel costs, which continue to squeeze margins,” Mr Campbell said.

“We can however control how well we use these inputs to control the costs which have a major influence on their bottom line.”

Macro drivers outside the farmer’s control, such as weather events, milk price volatility and government policy are put aside to provide a focus on the aspects of tactical efficiency, management capability and tactical flexibility decisions that farmers can make, to deal with risk and volatility.

Focusing on these elements under farmers’ control, the report highlights that every operation, big or small, has areas where it can improve to safeguard its profitability. No two of these farms are the same, which is why there is no “silver bullet approach” to profitable dairy farming.

Mr Campbell said that by using the resource document of tactical, strategic management guidance in conjunction with other resources, such as the new DairyBase tool from Dairy Australia, it was hoped that farm profitability could be lifted across the board.

Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Treasury and Finance, the Hon. Daniel Mulino MP, officially representing Minister for Agriculture the Hon. Jaala Pulford at the event said that Government was keen to work with industry to ensure the future sustainability and profitability of the industry.

“We are committed to working with Australian Dairy Farmers, Dairy Australia and key dairy stakeholders to ensure this critical industry is focused on sustainable, profitable growth, and that farmers are supported to better understand their financial situation and to build financial flexibility to deal with volatility.”

To read the full Sustainable Farm Profitability Report click here.


 ADIC Chair, Noel Campbell with Vic Parliamentary Sec. For Finance and Treasury, Daniel Mulino, Federal Member for MacMillan, Russel Broadbent, Baw Baw Shire Council Member, David Balfour and Director of Gardiner Foundation, Bruce Kefford. Photo courtesy of Jeanette Severs.

Boost for dairy competitiveness welcomed

Jul 18, 2015

The much-anticipated Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper released on Saturday 4 July on Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) National Councillor, Roma Britnell’s dairy farm in Victoria has delivered key initiatives which mark a positive step toward delivering higher productivity and profitability for Australian dairy.

Key benefits for dairy farmers which have been championed by ADF as part of the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) include increased funding for Agricultural Counsellors abroad to address technical barriers to trade in overseas markets; improved flexibility of Farm Management Deposits and investment in establishing agricultural expertise in the provision of an Agricultural Commissioner for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

“We are pleased to see that key points of the ADIC’s recommendations to the Green Paper have been taken on board,” ADIC Chair, Noel Campbell said.

“In particular, the provision of $11.4 million over four years toward boosting ACCC engagement with agriculture, including an ACCC Agriculture Commissioner, will aid in fostering a stronger business environment throughout the supply chain.”

The ADIC submissions to the issues and green papers covered all aspects of agricultural policy with a particular focus on the following key areas:

  • Continued support for research, development and extension projects;
  • Overseas trade market access;
  • Strengthening competition laws;
  • Improving skilled labour availability.

The Government’s enhanced commitment to research, development and extension projects with a focus on innovation and risk management was also welcomed by the ADIC. The commitment of $200 million to improve biosecurity surveillance and analysis nationally will also play an essential role in creating a more durable, profitable and competitive dairy industry.

Additionally, the Government’s confirmation for water efficiency projects combined with improving existing water infrastructure and developing new infrastructure is positive. Increased support for these initiatives was a key recommendation in the ADIC’s submission to the Green Paper.

Mr Campbell said that the ADIC is committed to working with Government to see swift implementation of the initiatives delivered in the White Paper.

“The White Paper points us in the right direction in terms of where we want to go and as an industry we now look forward to working with Government to ensure that these initiatives translate into real outcomes for dairy.”

Click here to view the ADIC’s submission to the Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper. 


Audits streamlined to save on farm

Jun 18, 2015

The news that the Department of Environment will remove unnecessary audit requirements from the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Programme (OFIEP) has been warmly welcomed by Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF). The relaxation of the requirements, which ADF has been advocating for well over 12 months, will save programme participants in the southern-connected region of the Murray Darling Basin significant time, money and stress.

The issue arose from the Department of Environment insisting that every single farmer who got funding from the OFIEP, had to get an independent audit of their works, in addition to the individual farm compliance documents already held by the delivery partners. All of this was at the farmers’ personal expense and within 60 days of the end of each financial year.

The audits were designed to ensure that each of projects was completed within the terms and conditions of work contracts, and that the Government funding provided was spent appropriately.

On Wednesday 20 May, ADF received a letter from Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister for Environment, the Hon. Bob Baldwin MP, acknowledging ADF’s concerns around the cost imposition and stipulating alterations to the requirements. Farmers are now instead required to undertake an audit at the end of their project, rather than at the end of each financial year, and may use their personal accountant rather than a costly independent auditor to do this review.

Chair of the ADF Natural Resources Policy Advisory Group, Daryl Hoey said that while farmers had no objection to being accountable for their spending, the audits ultimately became red tape.

“The requirements were onerous from both a time and money perspective. Removing the additional requirements for farmers will mean savings of up to $2000, plus reducing the added pressure of going through an audit process,” Mr Hoey said.

“Beyond this it will also assist in streamlining the way in which the programme is rolled out, which may encourage greater uptake of irrigation improvement by farmers.”

ADF is strongly supportive of infrastructure programs under the Murray Darling Basin Plan as they have demonstrated significant cost-benefit, with upgrades to existing infrastructure delivering approximately $9800/ML worth of increased farm productivity.

An important part of the 450 GL recovery through on and off farm infrastructure savings under the Murray Darling Basin Plan, the On-Farm Efficiency Programme involves participating farmers transferring water entitlements back to the environment that are equivalent to half the savings they achieve. In return farmers receive government investment on their farm to improve their capacity to produce more milk from less water.

Upgrades already carried-out under the programme have delivered approximately $9800/ML worth of increased farm productivity per year.

To find out whether you’re eligible for the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Programme, click here


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