Dairy must be number one again

By Dairy News

FORMER AUSTRALIAN Dairy Farmers President, Allan Burgess, has called on dairy stakeholders to reclaim its place as the pre-eminent industry in Agriculture.

Mr Burgess, from the Goulburn Valley, shared his wish when accepting the 2017 Pat Rowley Award for Outstanding Service to the Australian dairy industry at the industry breakfast last month.

“If I had a final wish, I’d like to see dairy once again as the first ag industry government and the community talk about,” he said.

“We had that three years ago.”

Mr Burgess first became involved in his local United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV) District Council in the early 1980s.

A believer in the ‘power of like minds with a joint vision’, over the following three decades he held numerous positions of leadership including Deputy President of the UDV, Board member of Australian Dairy Farmers Federation, and President of Australian Dairy Farmers.

His commitment to establishing strong research and development structures to support industry growth, meant Mr Burgess was involved in the formation of Dairy Australia and the Dairy Cooperative Research Centre. He was also a key player in the establishment of the Regional Development Program network.

With the betterment of farmers always a priority, Mr Burgess recognised the importance of educational opportunities and was a driver in the establishment of the National Centre for Dairy Education.

His strong lobbying of the Commonwealth Government also secured assistance for dairy farmers in a number of challenging times throughout the 2000s.

In his time as President of ADF, Mr Burgess played an instrumental part in trade negotiations, particularly the three-fold increase in the amount of Australian dairy able to be sold to the United States achieved in the US Free Trade Agreement.