Dairy Australia's re-elected chairman of the board says the last financial year was a tough one and none tougher for the Murray Dairy region in northern Victoria and the southern Riverina.
Jeff Odgers from Ardmona said persistent, very dry conditions across all regions significantly impacted the cost of key inputs and farm profitability, yet farmers showed their resilience in the face of these challenges.
“National milk production decreased 5.7 per cent to 8.8 billion litres,” Mr Odgers said.
“The Murray region was hardest hit, with high water prices and falling production an ongoing concern.’’
He was speaking at the annual general meeting of Dairy Australia, held in Warragul on Friday.
Dairy Australia members elected three candidates to the board.
Jeff Odgers was elected as a director for a third time since first joining the board in 2013. He was also re-elected as chair at a board meeting following the conclusion of the AGM, and fills the vacant milk producer position.
Josephine Rozman was elected as a director for the finance and governance position previously held by Jan West, who retired from the Dairy Australia board on Friday. Ms Rozman has finance, risk and accounting skills and agricultural experience.
Professor Paul Wood was re-elected to the research and development position, having first joined the board in 2016. He has more than 30 years’ experience in agricultural R&D and is internationally recognised for his work in veterinary immunology and vaccine development.
He contested the position with Mark Neal in the election.
Mr Odgers congratulated the new directors on their appointments.
He said the commitments of the Australian Dairy Plan report once finalised would inform Dairy Australia’s next strategic plan.
“Despite the challenges of recent years, our industry remains fundamentally strong and one of Australia’s most important agricultural sectors.
“Per capita consumption of dairy in Australia is amongst the highest in the world and we have growth opportunities in many key export markets, where the quality of Australian dairy products is highly valued.”
The AGM was followed by a tour of the DairyFeedbase project at Agriculture Victoria’s nearby Ellinbank Dairy Research Centre.
DairyFeedbase was launched last year as a co-investment with Agriculture Victoria and Gardiner Dairy Foundation, in order to bring new technology in a practical way to the management of pastures and feeding of cattle.