Advocacy and water policy head Dairy Plan worries

By Dairy News

BETTER ADVOCACY for the dairy industry has been a recurring theme for many of the Dairy Plan meetings being held around the country.

Western Victorian farmers want their voice to be heard more strongly as part of future planning for the dairy industry.

More than 150 farmers and dairy industry personnel have given a mixed response to the first of the Australian Dairy Plan workshops in western Victoria.

A total of 161 people attended the workshops at Koroit, Cobden and Colac, with about 75 per cent of participants being dairy farmers. Cobden had the biggest turnout with 70 people attending.

The top issues at the three sessions were advocacy, how the industry could be best represented to government and other decision makers and how farmers’ views can be heard.

Water was the key issue for the dairy industry moving forward in northern Victoria according to farmers who attended an Australian Dairy Plan consultation session at Tatura on June 4.

The nearly 50 farmers who attended, were surveyed on what needed to change for a sustainable dairy industry in the future, with 82 per cent of the room saying a stronger water policy and a larger water pool for dairy farmers should be a priority of the plan.

Other priorities included getting a clearer picture from governments on where they see the industry heading, streamlining dairy advocacy organisations and increasing the value of the end product.

Dairy farmers at the Cohuna meeting weren’t interested in what has been, but more what was going to be done in the future for their industry.

The majority of dairy farmers and service providers in the room (68 per cent) listed water and water policy as their main concern.

Cohuna dairy farmer Jodie Hay said the meeting was well run and facilitated but she wanted to see clear objectives, goals and strategies in the plan.

“We don’t want to see the plan ticked off and put away in some glossy folder. We had some forward thinking people in the room with some really good ideas who identified their concerns and issues well,” Mrs Hay said.