After a buoyant couple of seasons, Tasmania's dairy farmers are looking to strengthen their position for the future.
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PROFILE BOOST: Dairy Australia's marketing and communications general manager Kendra Campbell at the Dairy Tasmania state conference in Devonport. Picture: supplied

Attendees discussed that aim at the Dairy Tasmania state conference on Thursday, held at the paranaple centre in Devonport, Tas.

Dairy Tasmania executive officer Jonathan Price said while things were looking positive for the state’s dairy sector, there were broader challenges such as workforce retention and the industry’s profile as a whole that could be stronger, which was the theme of the day.

“The theme of this year’s conference is ‘mastering reality’ and the Tasmanian industry has certainly shown us what that means in a year that had its own challenges,” he said.

While the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t shut down the agricultural sector, Mr Price said it still sent shockwaves through the industry and farmers and associated workers needed to adapt quickly.

He said farmers needed to quickly put COVID-safe plans and reduce interaction on the farm to help keep staff safe.

Tasmania’s dairy industry is the largest sector for the state’s agricultural market and has experienced good conditions over the past two milking seasons.

The 2019-20 season saw a record number of litres milked, and the latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey showed dairy farmers are the most confident farmers in Tasmania, bolstered by high prices.

At the conference, speakers from Dairy Australia and the Tasmanian industry covered topics such as the workforce retention challenge and how Tasmanian dairy could adapt to climate change.

Dairy Australia communications and marketing general manager Kendra Campbell spoke about the national campaign Dairy Matters’ recent launch.

Ms Campbell said the campaign, launched digitally, on television and in print, would help boost Australian dairy’s profile.

“We want to remind people of the enjoyment of consuming Australian dairy and encourage Australians to purchase it,” she said.

Ms Campbell said the campaign had already launched in Tasmania, and so far, she’d received good feedback from those at the conference in Devonport.

“Everyone seems really supportive, we’ve had lots of questions, which is good to see here in Tasmania,” Ms Campbell said.

Last month, 14 of our dairy farms in Maine, as well as dozens of dairy farms across northern New England, got an unexpected and disappointing notice from Danone of North America saying that they were discontinuing their contracts with our organic dairy farmers in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and elsewhere.

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