Change is all around us.
We are officially at the end of another financial year and Murray Dairy management along with the board are putting the final touches to the Annual Operating Plan and the Budget for the 2020-21 year.
I look out my window at green pastures bathed in the winter sunshine and reflect on the same period last year, which had continuing dry conditions through much of the Murray Dairy region.
There was ongoing concern, with priorities centred on navigating how to make the most of spring and get through the year with the resources available to us.
This year it is the opposite, with many experiencing the best autumn in memory and seeing many in the Murray Dairy region finish the financial year on a positive note and diving into the new season with renewed confidence.
As we move from late winter to the cusp of spring, the way we deliver programs and resources to our farmers has changed too.
Jenny and the team at Murray Dairy keep abreast of the many changes and safe operating conditions required while operating in a COVID-19 environment.
The face-to-face deliveries ceased months ago and now many of us have become quite the tech savvy farmers we never imagined we could be!
Check out the short videos hosted on Murray Dairy’s YouTube channel for farmers to access at any time.
Timely videos are: Measuring Silage Pile Density, Managing Wet Conditions and Transition Cow Management. And, as we near spring, the Nitrogen Tool developed through Agriculture Victoria is online to answer your questions on fertiliser application and what is the most profitable for your current grazing rotation.
Nothing will replace the benefits of face-to-face but that armchair by the fire with an iPad on your lap in mid-winter comes pretty close!
On a lighter note, I have become a regular video conference participant in my role as chair, using platforms I had never heard of until COVID-19 came crashing into our existence — learning to use digital platforms such as Zoom, Google groups, Cisco and Skype to name a few.
With this change also came a whole other lingo to deal with, often hearing phrases such as: “going forward” with plans to “reset” then “pivot” their business by “hitting the ground running” to establish a “new normal” which will “future proof” things. Those of you who are engaging regularly will be able to identify with me I’m sure.
On a broader scale, no-one could have imagined that by mid-2020 Australia would be entering its first recession in 30 years and we would be weathering a world-scale pandemic while grappling with a contracting economy and rising joblessness.
It will be painful for millions of Australians, and while dairy is weathering the pandemic well, being an essential service, closer to home many of us watch the consternation of our children trying to navigate just what this means for them now and into the future.
Reflecting on the changes that have occurred in the past six months — whether on our farms, or how we engage with our service providers, processors our employees, our discussion groups or even our extended families — it's important to accept the changes going on around us and adapt.
How we look at and deal with change is what matters the most, as change is a harbinger of possibilities.
Wishing you a great start to spring.
Murray Dairy chair