Fonterra helps two generations stick with dairy

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Celia Hobbs attended the 2022 Proud to be a Dairy Farmer program and said the three-day event was more than just developing networks. Photo by Lauren Murphy

A Lockington dairy farmer has praised a course provided by a leading dairy company for the next generation of dairy farmers.

Celia Hobbs said the three-day Proud to be a Dairy Farmer program run by Fonterra Australia Suppliers’ Council had fuelled her passion for the industry.

The program will be held on March 5 to 7 next year.

Ms Hobbs attended the program in 2022 and said it provided more than just developing useful networks.

“It helped me grow with a passion for the dairy industry and I guess having a passion behind what you do encourages you to do better,” Ms Hobbs said.

“I now feel more prepared for any challenges that might come up.

“Fonterra has a fast-source team which addresses milk quality, has a feed specialist and a basic financial advisor, and there are other teams with different roles as well.

“As a whole they got us to work out a goal to see where we were going.”

Ms Hobbs has since become a Fonterra supplies council member and hopes to be selected next year to act as a mentor for the next cohort of attendees.

“I would be really glad to be speaking with the new generation and I encourage the next people to step up and ensure dairy continues with their future.”

Ms Hobbs said a mentoring role was key to the program’s success.

“It’s about having that older generation of people in the room, to answer questions directly, helping those there who might be scared to ask otherwise,” she said.

Ms Hobbs said an illness in her family and her brother leaving the family farm initiated her involvement.

“We were thrown into the deep end with all that, so I was called home,” she said.

“The course helps us to develop a farm to pass onto the next generation.

“So now we are trying to perfect our cows by genomic testing the herd to try to make them the kind of cows we’re happy to pass on.”

Another program being offered by the company is Get To Know Fonterra, which is aimed at the more experienced generation of farmers, managers, owners and sharefarmers.

“This one is designed to learn more about Fonterra and how to interact with other suppliers and is even open to farmers who may be supplying to other companies,” Ms Hobbs said.

“It is for farmers to know more about where their milk goes beyond the farm gate.

“We are trying to encourage each generation to stick with the industry.”

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