Planning for industry’s future

By Country News

A nationwide consultation process will start next month to help develop a plan for the future of Australian dairy.

As part of the industry-wide consultation, farmers, processors, service providers and those associated with dairy are being called on to share their views through meetings in more than 20 locations across the nation during May and June, as well as contribute via online platforms.

The consultation will support the development of the Australian Dairy Plan, identifying key industry priorities and delivering transformative and positive change for dairy over the next five years and beyond.

It is hoped the plan will create an industry that can adapt to a variable operating environment, provide dairy farmers and processors with further profit potential, boost confidence across the industry and enhance its ability to be united, sustainable and competitive.

Dairy Australia chair and Ardmona dairy farmer Jeff Odgers said the consultation would focus on building a future the industry could believe in.

‘‘This is a defining moment for the future of Australian dairy and I believe by working closer together we can put in place a blueprint that is built on a greater understanding of the issues and will help guide everyone in the industry to a more positive future,’’ Mr Odgers said.

‘‘We are a very diverse industry which can be a strength, but it has worked against us at times in terms of being cohesive and focusing on what really matters at a national level.’’

The plan is a collaboration between Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Farmers, Australian Dairy Products Federation and the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.

Australian Dairy Farmers president and Australian Dairy Industry Council chair Terry Richardson said the consultations would bring together diverse segments of the industry to have a say on the industry’s future.

‘‘There is no doubt that the dairy industry is at a crossroads with increased market volatility, the drought and still recovering from the pressure placed on it from the price step-downs of 2016,’’ he said.

‘‘Now’s the time for the industry to be proactive and contribute to a national roadmap, drive new thinking, structures, programs and initiatives that have direct relevance to everyone in dairy.

‘‘The industry has a long and proud history of working together successfully through the tough times and it is critical that we renew our commitment to jointly tackle the difficulties and opportunities we face.’’

Information about the consultations will be released in the coming weeks.

■For more information about the Australian Dairy Plan, visit: www.dairyplan.com.au