From the Experts

Chairman’s message: Working together for dairy

By Dairy News

Later this month, the report from an extensive investigation into feedbase options will be released.

I’ll leave it up to the Gardiner Foundation, who conducted the interviews and research, to reveal the report’s contents, but I think it’s worth talking about the project as an example of how the Gippsland dairy industry is supported in ways that many would not appreciate.

The Gardiner Foundation spends millions of dollars each year on projects that directly impact on the profitability and sustainability of dairy farmers. Its work with GippsDairy on the feedbase project is just one example of how it contributes to improving the industry.

But Gardiner is just one cog in the wheel that helps maintain Gippsland as one of the world’s premier dairy regions. Federal and State Governments often co-contribute to projects as diverse as Tactics for Tight Times, which helps farmers get through a difficult period, to DairyBio’s investment in research into long-term improvement in animal and plant performance.

The ongoing Fert$mart project is another example of how GippsDairy works with partner organisations to deliver vital programs. Fert$mart is supported by catchment management authorities, the Federal Government and Melbourne Water. It’s a team effort that delivers an important project that I, along with many other dairy farmers, have benefited from.

DataGene is another organisation that uses industry resources to create better outcomes for farmers. Owned by industry stakeholders including Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Farmers and National Herd Improvement Association, DataGene is a critical tool in maintaining Australia’s herd performance at world class levels.

This spirit of co-operation can also be found at the local level, where dairy farmers share their knowledge and time to help deliver the many programs and projects delivered by GippsDairy. Whether it’s Focus Farmers opening up their businesses for public scrutiny or just a local farmer hosting a discussion group in the machinery shed, it all adds up to an industry that is willing to help itself to improve.

Farming can sometimes seem like a lonely business, where you rely on your own hard work and know-how to get through each season. But it’s a real comfort to me to know that we have people across Australia working just as hard as we do to make sure this industry has a bright future.

So when you see the Gardiner Foundation’s feedbase report, remember that there were a lot of people — from GippsDairy extension officers, to scientists and Gippsland farmers — who were needed to produce the final document. Like the dairy industry itself, it was a real co-operative effort.

Grant Williams, is the GippsDairy chair