North East dairy farmers continue to buck the industry trend, the Victorian opposition agriculture spokesman Peter Walsh heard first hand this week. By: John Chanter
Mr Walsh met with Alpine Valleys Dairy Pathways Project representatives in Wodonga this week to learn more about the project’s successful succession planning programs and its vision to double dairy production in the region by 2025.
Despite an overall decline in dairy production, the volume coming out of the Alpine Valleys has growth 26 per cent over the past decade while it has fallen by 30 per cent in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District – where Murray Goulburn and Fonterra have invested in processing facilities.
“Even though Murray Goulburn has shut Kiewa, if you were a business out there looking to plonk a dairy manufacturing plant somewhere, the credentials for putting something here are better than anywhere,” pathways project chair Stuart Crosthwaite said.
“You’ve got a stable milk pool that’s actually growing not decreasing, and the natural resources to structure a business around are second to none. People should genuinely be confident about the future here.”
Member for Benambra Bill Tilley had been working with Alpine Valleys Dairy Pathways Project for several months to set up the meeting.
Mr Tilley, who’s electorate includes the rich Alpine Valleys dairy region, believed there were positive agriculture lessons to the learned from industry leading North East farmers.
Mr Walsh, who’s Murray Plains electorate is largely agricultural based, said the vision and enthusiasm from the AVDPP was “worth bottling”.
“They believe they can grow milk production from 250 to 400 million litres, that will come from improving the ability of people involved in the dairy industry and particularly getting the next generation of dairy farmers to come through,” Mr Walsh said.
“They are very focused on the people side of the industry. In any business, it’s how you get the people mix right that gives the biggest reward so they’re very keen on growing the next generation of dairyfarmers, which is really positive.
“They’re a very switched on group that is very committed to their industry and also their region and want to look for opportunity to grow milk production and utilise the strength this area has around reliable rainfall, pasture fed dairy.”
Source: THE BORDER MAIL