Australian Dairy Plan voices of industry heard

The dairy industry has come together and voiced its views about what is needed to shape the future of Australian dairy and deliver real and positive change for the next five years and beyond.

Over 1,000 farmers, service providers, processors, retailers, investors and other key stakeholders associated with the dairy industry, have contributed at over 20 consultation workshops across dairying regions, through one-on-one interviews, and via OurSay the Australian Dairy Plan online forum, from May through to July 2019.

Australian Dairy Plan Chairman John Brumby AO, along with Australian Dairy Plan partners - Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Farmers, Australian Dairy Products Federation and the Gardiner Dairy Foundation have been actively listening to contributors across the nation. A number of consistent and clear themes have been voiced on what is needed to get the industry to a better place.

Overwhelmingly contributors to the plan identified that there is a need for industry bodies to do things differently – with a clear aim to have a stronger, more united voice and a need to consider structures that make advocacy more effective.

It was also highlighted that more emphasis and industry investment is needed in promoting the inherent benefits of dairy. With a lot of misinformation about the health benefits of dairy and the way it is produced, there needs to be greater focus on reinforcing the value of dairy to consumers.

Many contributors also reinforced the importance of addressing social licence and environmental issues in best positioning the industry in a world of increased consumer scrutiny, choice and competition.

Challenges around ‘attraction’ to the industry was also voiced, noting that there is a need to do a better job of presenting what a successful career in dairy looks like, the many career pathways, and the opportunity to build skills essential to dairy farming and manufacturing.

The workshops also recognised the increasing complexity in running dairy businesses, with greater risk and volatility. New tools and innovations that enhance profitability are needed.

Terry Richardson, Australian Dairy Farmers President and Australian Dairy Industry Council Chairman, said, it’s time to take action on what we have heard.

“Input at workshops has reinforced some big challenges for dairy and we need to now move forward and take steps to prioritise and establish options on how to address these.”

Jeff Odgers, Dairy Australia Chairman, said the input was key in informing where the industry needs to head.

“The contribution of farmers, processors and all of industry will inform the creation of the roadmap towards a dairy industry that is more profitable across the supply chain, more confident about competing at a local and global level, and more united,” Mr Odgers said.

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s Dr Bruce Kefford said ongoing collaboration by industry is needed as we work towards progressing the development of the Plan.

“We’ve gathered significant input into the Plan, we are now at a point of moving forward and collectively working towards formulating the future agenda for dairy,” Dr Kefford said.

Grant Crothers, Australian Dairy Products Federation said that all sides of the industry now need to support a shared vision.

“There will be a need to prioritise these key challenges and opportunities and have a clear approach to delivering against them, to create a whole-of-industry Australian Dairy Plan we are all committed to,” Mr Crothers said.

With the listening phase nearing completion, it is time for industry to respond. The Partners are progressing on the development of the Australian Dairy Plan, holding a National Workshop over two days from July 30 to 31.

The Australian Dairy Plan National Workshop will bring together a representative group of leaders from across the country to review themes from the broader industry consultation workshops, along with other key inputs and expert opinions. Priorities and the approach to addressing these challenges will also be discussed, to help inform the development of the Australian Dairy Plan.

Attendance at the Australian Dairy Plan National Workshop includes representation from all parts of industry including farmers, processors, government/regulators, peak bodies, industry experts and service providers.

Following the Workshop, there will be further opportunities for industry to input into the development of the Plan before it is finalised at the end of the year and officially launched.

It is not too late to have your say about the future of dairy, visit: