From the Experts

Time to take stock of the past year

By Dairy News

IT’S DECEMBER already, after what can only be termed as a very significant year for many reasons in most dairy farmers’ memories. Compared to this time last year though, the season is quite different, with some experiencing a 20 to 30 per cent increase on production along with an improved milk price. This is positive and looks certainly much brighter after the year that was. Did you have the opportunity to attend the Murray Dairy Business Forum in October? Topics were varied, ranging from managing a farm business in the modern era, innovation and technology, the changing face of Australian agriculture and, importantly, the young people in dairy who are our industry’s future.

Speakers hit the mark and were of an exceptionally high standard. Murray Dairy endeavoured to include something for everyone and I believe that this was well achieved. Popular themes around decision making and people really rang true. Particularly Achieve Ag Solutions’ Nathan Scott’s comment, “data does not make money or solve problems, decisions do”. And from Mandy Johnson, “in 2017, to keep staff , the working environment needs to work well for the worker — this might include flexibility, particularly in regards to time, and actively improving the job role”.

Mike Stephens, founder of Meridian Agriculture highlighted that many farmers are in the role of CEO of the farm business and demonstrated just how complex this role can be. The day included a great range of topics and time to catch up with friends. The evening’s insight came from Peter Davidson, a rescue paramedic in the 1998 ill-fated Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Peter and the crew rescued eight lives that day, and by giving us the insights and challenges faced, really forced us to question our understanding of what a truly challenging situation might look like. His and his team’s bravery and willingness to step forward are still the highlight of the conversations of this night.

It is December and I hope that you are now able to look toward taking some time to spend with family, friends and neighbours and to possibly recharge, reflect and think a little of the next year, perhaps even some time off -farm, even just a day. It really is a great way to clear the head and re-energise. From all at Murray Dairy, have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and we look forward to working with you in the new year.

• Rick Cross Murray Dairy chair