Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Renewed dairy focus

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NSW Farmers is setting the wheels in motion for a fresh approach to advocacy for the NSW dairy industry.

Chair of the NSW Farmers’ Dairy Committee Colin Thompson has announced a suite of changes that will strengthen the associatio­n’s representa­tion of dairy farmers and deliver results on the most important issues facing the industry.

The changes being progressed include the engagement of a dedicated dairy manager to run the NSW Farmers’ Dairy Section starting from the final quarter of 2021, the developmen­t of clear branding for the NSW Farmers’ Dairy Committee, and moving to a production based levy membership model similar to other states.

‘‘There has been significan­t discussion on structural reform over the last 18 months as a result of a dairy industry review under the Australian Dairy Plan, and the resounding message from farmers and industry is the need for better funded and more effective advocacy to deliver a united dairy voice at state and federal levels,’’ Mr Thompson said.

‘‘NSW Farmers has been responsive to calls for action at a state level, and has successful­ly secured approval for changes to the associatio­n’s dairy advocacy model.

‘‘The Dairy Committee recognises the need for improved advocacy as the industry faces challenges such as environmen­tal impacts, competitio­n from plant based foods, animal activists, unfair competitio­n policy, and labour challenges.’’

Mr Thompson said the NSW Farmers’ Dairy Committee had been actively involved in advocacy restructur­e discussion­s, including a possible merger between NSW and Queensland to form a single organisati­on, however after much deliberati­on, the committee unanimousl­y withdrew from these in May this year.

‘‘The strength and unity of NSW Farmers, the support of the board, the cross-commodity advocacy capability of the associatio­n and its direct access to government were the main reasons for withdrawin­g from discussion­s on a merger between the two states.

‘‘Our clear focus moving forward is to improve the sustainabi­lity and profitabil­ity of our industry, to provide opportunit­ies for growth and developmen­t and to work together with other stakeholde­rs to advocate for and achieve better outcomes for dairy in New South Wales.

‘‘We want to build on our track record, which includes hard fought wins to improve supply chain and competitio­n problems through the mandatory Dairy Code of Conduct and our work around the perishable agricultur­al goods inquiry.

‘‘On behalf of New South Wales dairy farmers, we will continue to prioritise water and land use issues relevant to agricultur­al industries such as dairy,’’ Mr Thompson said.

The NSW Farmers’ Dairy AGM will be held at 1pm on Wednesday, September 8 and all dairy farmers in NSW are invited to join and learn more about these developmen­ts.

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