ADC president and Tasmanian dairy farmer Ben Geard said that given the current COVID-19 climate and the recent escalation of cases across Victoria the annual event would need to be postponed, the first time this has occurred in its 18-year history.
“The board has been adamant all along that we would only proceed if there was absolute confidence that we could deliver ADC in full scale as one of the most notable forums on the dairy calendar,” Mr Geard said.
“Farmers and networking lie at the heart of our annual gathering and we know how important it is for them to interact and engage with industry members.”
Mr Geard said whilst it was unfortunate, the health and safety of Australians and the dairy farming community was the main priority.
“We do not wish to undertake any activities that will compromise or jeopardise this position,” he said.
“The board had been holding out with optimism that things would improve and some normality prevail, however, the most recent circumstances and serious lockdown measures and restrictions has meant that we are quite realistic in that activities will not return to normal resumption for some time.”
Current travel restrictions would have an obvious impact on the ability of the board to host the conference, with about 500 farmers converging each February from locations all across the country.
“It is with much reluctance that we reschedule but the only option at this given time,” Mr Geard said.
“However, despite the current climate, we remain optimistic that things will improve over the course of the next 18 months and we can host Australia’s dairy farming community here in Tasmania, with a particular emphasis on bringing our dairy community together.
“In the meantime, our thoughts are with industry members and farmers across the country as we face new challenges and restrictions within the COVID-19 environment.
“We hope they remain vigilant and safe as we all seek to re-prioritise activities in the coming months.”