As the voice of dairy farmers in your regions, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) actively provides input on key focus areas for development in Dairy Australia's Annual Operating Plan (AOP).
This year, for the 2022/23 operating plan, our consultation with Dairy Australia started earlier, went deeper into discussing the priorities and has lasted longer than the consultations for previous plans.
Dairy Australia is the national services body for the Australian dairy industry, and is funded by a combination of industry, government and research organisations to advance the interests of dairy farmers.
This includes levies paid by dairy farmers and matching payments from the Commonwealth government for eligible research and development (R&D) activities.
Together with Dairy Australia, ADF took the opportunity to engage earlier in the consultation to provide meaningful input to the annual R&D activities supported by the plan.
The consultation process started with a review of recent changes in the operating environment and how these might affect work under each of the seven strategic priorities in the DA strategic plan 2020-2025.
Several key areas of focus emerged at the workshop, with feed base/pasture identified as the most important area of focus for the next DA annual operating plan.
Read more: What next for China's dairy industry?
Additional focus areas centred on continued research and monitoring of productivity and dairy's competitive position with other sectors, as well as increased policy development and support, leaning into more state and regional-based issues.
Our consultation is a vital part of the broader consultation process which involves multiple inputs from industry reference groups, regional groups and initiatives such as Dairy Moving Forward.
However, it was pleasing to see ADF members have stronger input into the AOP this year and the feedback from these consultations will inform the development of the AOP in conjunction with ADF and State Dairy Farming Organisations (SDFOs) more closely involved in each consultation stream.
To update our members on the progress with development of the next operating plan, ADF will host a briefing session in May.- Rick Gladigau, ADF president
One of the key directions to emerge from this consultation was a call for the R&D to focus on productivity, growth and reducing farmers' cost base.
Suggestions included building resilience in the dairy industry through scenario planning to ensure farmers can maintain low-cost production and exploring alternative innovative farming methods such as how to use feed to reduce carbon emissions/methane in the value chain as well as build adaptation of feed base and pasture feed to changing environments.
Critical success factors identified for DA operations and the dairy industry included greater collaboration between ADF and DA, more celebration of the dairy industry's best practice along with greater engagement of the workforce, industry and emerging leaders, especially the Young Dairy Network.
To update our members on the progress with development of the next operating plan, ADF will host a briefing session in May.
At this session, we will report on how our input has been incorporated into the plan.
Keeping abreast of what is happening in domestic and international markets was important to all members as this helps us identify and explore the future opportunities in agriculture, and better understand our competitive position compared with other sectors.
By strengthening the collaboration of dairy farmers with government, industry and research organisations, we increase transparency and build trust, as we ultimately want to continue to play a key role in Australian agriculture.
Now that we have clear guidance from Dairy Poll 2022 as to the income for research and innovation programs in the future, ADF will keep working with Dairy Australia to ensure the dairy levy is invested in work that delivers.
Want to read more stories like this?
Sign up below to receive our e-newsletter delivered fresh to your email in-box twice a week.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.