Victorian dairy farmer calls for all opinions on plan to be considered

Profitability to be key plank of dairy industry reform

Opinion
The dairy reform process is continuing with industry consultation.

The dairy reform process is continuing with industry consultation.

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Crossley dairy farmer Karinjeet Singh-Mahil says more consultation is needed on dairy plan.

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Profitability. Without it there would be no dairy farmers and no dairy industry.

It is pleasing to see that Farmer Power has acknowledged profitability as the key aim of any industry plan.

I recall the reaction at the Koroit Australian Dairy Plan consultation workshop when the group I was part of said profitability was key.

We were howled-down and numerous speakers, including Farmer Power and Wannon voices, said industry advocacy structure was the most important issue.

Recently, I searched out the voting numbers from that meeting and had a look to see what the reality was.

At Koroit, 60 per cent of attendees voted for advocacy reform as being important and only 44 per cent thought profitability was important.

At the Cobden workshop, 62 per cent thought advocacy was important - but profitability didn't even get mentioned.

But it is great that now - with all the noise around advocacy - people are realising that without profitability we simply cease to be.

And that advocacy issue.

A lot of energy has been put into prosecuting cases for alternative industry models.

What is lacking is that none of the proposed models are based on an understanding of what the ultimate aim is - supporting farmer profitability - and the legal, as well as funding, constraints any advocacy model must work within.

Many of us participated at the beginning of the Dairy Plan process, and then got on with running our dairy farming businesses.

A process was in place and it could 'get on and do its thing'.

But now, given the potential for damage to our industry with all the angry, destructive voices and personal attacks, it's time for some of us to speak out.

Let the process continue. There is more consultation to come. Have your say, but don't expect your own opinion to be the majority opinion - and accept what the majority opinion may be.

I don't necessarily agree with everything that has been suggested in the consultation workshops, but I am only once voice and my opinion is only one opinion.

The process has been transparent and we have all had a chance to provide our input.

We need to stand with that and accept that our way is not the only way.

And in the case of the predominant alternative model, it's not even a sensibly costed or targeted model - and certainly has not taken into consideration any of the legal constraints in its assumptions.

All that aside, profitability has always been key to what our industry services body and our representative bodies have done.

Profitability is the first of the three commitments of the Australian Dairy Plan and profit, or profitability, is mentioned more than 150 times in the current Dairy Australia strategic plan.

If the primacy of profitability is being made more explicit, then that can only be a good thing.

The story Victorian dairy farmer calls for all opinions on plan to be considered first appeared on Stock & Land.

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