Future Focus a road map for shaping change

By Dairy News

A strong, confident, agile and forward-looking dairy industry in the Murray region is the goal of Future Focus, the regional dairy industry plan released by Murray Dairy and the Committee for Greater Shepparton.

The plan has been assembled in collaboration with Dairy Australia, Agriculture Victoria and the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria.

Future Focus has been over a year in the making, with 165 dairy farmers, service providers and processors from the Murray region consulted during its development.

The plan includes research and analysis of the current state of the industry across northern Victoria and the southern Riverina, with goals and recommendations to guide effort and investment into the future.

Murray Dairy chief executive Jenny Wilson said the plan was developed to provide the industry, government and supporting organisations with a road map for shaping change across the industry.

“Farmers in this region are continuing to undergo significant change to respond to the variability we see from climate, water policy reform, and the impacts of global and domestic dairy markets,” Ms Wilson said.

“The conversations we had with dairy farmers, processors, the service sector and others involved across the supply chain all indicated that we needed to understand what the future of the industry might look like, and we needed a clear strategy to support businesses undergoing change to be sustainable.”

The Murray Dairy region, spanning from Swan Hill to Corryong and into southern NSW, is a major producer of dairy products nationally. In 2017–18 the dairy industry in this region generated a farm gate value of $916 million.

Farms have been adapting in response to these changes in the operating environment, with a trend towards fewer but larger and more efficient farms.

Future Focus provides recommendations for research, education and training, investment, planning, communication and promotion to support the dairy industry to continue to adapt, and outlines the roles that all levels of government, industry and supporting organisations and agencies can play to achieve its goals.

chief executive officer of the Committee for Greater Shepparton Sam Birrell highlighted the importance of this project for the region.

“Last year, dairy’s economic contribution into our region’s communities was $730 million,” he said.

‘We know this industry is resilient and that this region offers real potential for dairy production to expand, that’s why having a plan that we can all get behind is so important,” Mr Birrell said.

The plan has widespread industry support, including from Dairy Australia, Agriculture Victoria and the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria . It will feed into the Australian Dairy Plan, a national initiative backed by Dairy Australia, The Australian Dairy Industry Council, Australian Dairy Farmers, Australian Dairy Productions Federation and Gardiner Dairy Foundation.

The Future Focus plan is on the Murray Dairy website: