A VISIT to this year’s UDV Annual Meeting and Conference was well worth it, according to Numurkah dairy farmers Rachelle and Carl Moon.
The couple traded gumboots and work clothes for some city attire and headed to the conference in Melbourne last month.
“Carl received some sponsorship to attend through the Young Dairy Business Network and I received a bursary from the Australian Legendairy Women’s Network,” Mrs Moon said.
“It was meant to be pre-calving and we thought why not go, but of course we had a few cows calve which ended up making things a little difficult to get away.”
She said this was the first time they had attended the conference.
“The concept of the whole event was really great. I particularly enjoyed the professional development sessions centred around people management and goal setting.”
The fact the conference looked at the rather touchy and controversial topic of ethics also appealed to her.
“I have to say I was a little surprised by the ethics side and the fact they had an RSPCA representative at the meeting. Ethics is going to be a big issue and we can’t pretend it is not there so I think it is great for our industry to be addressing something like this.
“As an industry we need to move forward and be more proactive in this space. Farmers generally love their animals and operate in an ethical way but what I think is ethical may not be ethical to someone else.”
Mrs Moon said the conference had a good mix of topics and she would definitely go again.
“Sometimes you just get so busy running a farm you forget to take time out and do something for yourself. It is so easy to forget about personal development when you have to get off-farm to do it.”
The Moons bought their 105 ha dairy farm at Numurkah in March 2016, just before the now famous milk price crash. They are approaching their third calving season.
“I think we have got a bit more of a handle on things now, especially when it comes to planning and knowing what works for us and what doesn’t — it has been a big learning curve, that’s for sure,” Mrs Moon said.
This spring, herd numbers will peak at around 160, all going well.
“Dairy farming has been a whole new lifestyle for our family especially considering we both had professional lives beforehand, but we are enjoying the challenges and looking forward to the future.”