Plan focuses on future

By Country News

A strong, confident, agile and forward-looking dairy industry in the Murray region is the focus of a newly released regional dairy industry plan.

More than a year in the making, the plan was compiled after consultation with 165 dairy farmers, service providers and processors from across the region.

Released by Murray Dairy and the Committee for Greater Shepparton, in collaboration with Dairy Australia, Agriculture Victoria and the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria on Monday last week, the plan includes in-depth research and analysis of the current state of the industry across northern Victoria and the southern Riverina, with goals and recommendations to guide effort and investment into the future.

Murray Dairy chief executive officer Jenny Wilson said the plan was developed to provide the industry, government and supporting organisations with a road map for shaping change across the industry.

‘‘Farmers in this region are continuing to undergo significant change to respond to the variability we see from climate, water policy reform, and the impacts of global and domestic dairy markets,’’ she said.

‘‘The conversations we had with dairy farmers, processors, the service sector and others involved across the supply chain all indicated that we needed to understand what the future of the industry might look like, and we needed a clear strategy to support businesses undergoing change to be sustainable.’’

In 2017-18 the dairy industry in the region, which spans from Swan Hill to Corryong and into southern NSW, generated a farm gate value of $916million.

The plan, titled Future Focus, provides recommendations for research, education and training, investment, planning, communication and promotion to support the dairy industry to continue to adapt, and outlines the roles that all levels of government, industry and supporting organisations and agencies can play to achieve its goals.

Committee for Greater Shepparton chief executive officer Sam Birrell highlighted the importance to the region of dairy, which contributes $730million to communities.

‘‘Dairy is a major employer, with people from our communities on farm, driving tankers, in our many processing facilities, resourcing product and providing advice to businesses,’’ Mr Birrell said.

‘‘We can see the impact of dry conditions this year just by looking around the region. The impact this has on dairy businesses has roll-on effects in our communities.’’

■To read Future Focus, visit: murraydairy.com.au