Murray Dairy liaison officers hang up the phone following project

After three years providing assistance to local dairy farmers, the Murray Dairy Community Champion Project dairy liaison officers are hanging up the phone.

Instigated in 2016 in response to the impact of the milk price drop on top of a dry 2015-16 season, which was significant for the dairy industry across south-east Australia and in particular the Murray Dairy region, the Community Champions Project employed dairy farmers to help raise awareness of the support available to dairy farm businesses from both government and industry in the region.

The project also highlighted the various programs and events on offer through Murray Dairy and other organisations.

Cindy Lucas, Karen Rowlands, Jodie Hay, Rob Schloss and, early in the project, Andrew Hipwell were part of the team that made more than 3000 connections with farm businesses and associated farm workers over the four-year period.

“In addition to promoting support services, information collected has been used to update database information, tailor extension programs and deliver relevant services in a more meaningful way,” Murray Dairy regional extension officer Lisa Menhenett said.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank each of our DLOs for all the hard work they have done during the life of this project.”

Dairy liaison officer Karen Rowlands said response was overwhelmingly positive.

“When we began the project we found we had some farmers who were definitely calling out for such support and we were pleased to be able to guide them toward the assistance that was available at the time,” she said.

“For most people it was helpful because we were able to continually outline new opportunities for assistance and provide them with information on farm programs that offered them support in the areas they needed.”

The project has received a total $350,000 from multiple investors over its life cycle, including Dairy Australia, the Gardiner Foundation, UDV (William Buckland Foundation), Goulburn Campaspe Dairy Farmers Charitable Trust, Murray Dairy, Building Better Regions Fund and more recently the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.