Inspired by the best

WestVic Dairy chair Brendan Rea.

I’m writing this having just attended the Great South West Dairy Awards, an inspiring event that not only recognises excellence within the dairy industry, but also highlights its contributions to the wider community.

It was wonderful to hear the stories, acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of those in the region.

Congratulations to all those who were nominated, the finalists, the runners-up and, of course, the winners, who all exemplified best practice, hard work and passion for the dairy industry.

Congratulations in particular to Lisa Findlay, Kerry-Leigh Hume, Alistair Harris, Rachael McGrath, Eamon Maher, and Kim and Greg Wilson, who were all deserving winners in their respective categories.

Jacqui Suares presented the farm photo award on behalf of Lactalis to Andrew Whiting, whose family friend Lisa Findlay took the photo.

This year, the event also celebrated the 30th anniversary of WestVic Dairy.

Reflecting on the evolution of the organisation over the decades, it’s evident that the commitment to supporting the levy-paying community of dairy farmers in south-west Victoria has remained steadfast.

The way this has happened has changed over the years — different funding sources, different operational models and responsibilities.

But that one common thread remains — the altruistic effort by many industry participants, to help and support others in their pursuit of a successful farming business.

This is what makes a healthy wider industry and a strong community and I’m grateful for the foresight of those founding farmers who set-up WestVic Dairy and its predecessor, the South-West Dairy Industry Committee to direct and lead the industry in the south-west.

Having a regionally based organisation to support the dairy industry has been a great resource to dairy farmers in our region over the years.

Personally, I have attended numerous courses over the journey of my career and always gained new knowledge and perspectives that have enhanced my farming practice.

WestVic Dairy provides many core programs that offer fundamental to advanced knowledge and training like Feeding Pastures for Profit and Employment Essentials - Paying a Flat Rate.

Most recently I have completed the Our Farm, Our Plan program and found it rewarding.

Encouraging participation in these programs is something I prioritise for my team, especially for new members.

I highly recommend workshops such as Milking and Mastitis Management and Nutrition Fundamentals. These programs have proven invaluable, fostering a proactive and engaged attitude among my staff.

It is great to observe them return asking more questions, more motivated and then often taking ownership of responsibilities for one area of the farm.

For those looking to enhance their team's skills and enthusiasm, I suggest exploring what WestVic Dairy has to offer.

I am so pleased to have been able to celebrate the award finalists, and WestVic Dairy’s significant milestone.

May our WestVic Dairy community continue to be valued, profitable and sustain its success for years to come.

– Brendan Rea is the WestVic Dairy chair.