Victorian dairy farmers are conducting an independent review of the leadership governance and effectiveness of advocacy among the farmer and industry representative groups.
The Dairy Advocacy Review Team (DART) has been established to provide recommendations on the advocacy model in a move supported by the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV), the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) and the Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF).
The DART consists of a group of independent, successful, young farmers brought together by UDV Vice-President and Gippsland dairy farmer, John Versteden, with former Department of Primary Industries Executive Director, Dr Clive Noble as Executive Officer.
Mr Versteden said that he was encouraged by the support shown for the DART by farmers, milk processors and industry representative groups such as the UDV, VFF and ADF.
“The DART will review the current governance and effectiveness of dairy farmers’ advocacy and will develop options for the most effective model into the future. A DART interview team has commenced initial research with more than 50 farmers and industry stakeholders.
“There is no doubt the industry requires a clear and connected advocacy structure with dairy farmer support now and into the future.
“The dairy industry wants strong leadership and governance of its farmer advocacy groups, which are critical in protecting and promoting the wellbeing and effectiveness of dairy farmers and the industry in general,” said Mr Versteden.
The DART has been nearly a year in the planning and has become a reality thanks to the support of the UDV, VFF and ADF, which all wish to see farmers engaged and having the best representation with stakeholders, both within and outside the dairy industry.
UDV President, Adam Jenkins, has welcomed the formation of the DART and has encouraged dairy farmers to offer their support and share their views with the team.
He stated that the interview team, under the guidance of John Versteden, is consulting widely to collect data to assist the DART deliberations.
“There has been a lot of background work put into this and I am grateful for the time and effort of the many industry stakeholders, including representative bodies, processors and individual farmers, who are freely sharing their thoughts with the interview team and encouraged this process.
“Farmers now have the opportunity to make a balanced assessment on how the industry is represented and to report back to other farmers, representative bodies and the industry on how they want to be advocated for in the future. This should be a great step forward and we encourage anyone with an opinion to contribute to the process,” said Mr Jenkins.
The DART will be meeting in early April 2017 and will enlist the support of various industry stakeholders, professional advisors and agricultural advocates, in preparing its recommendations for the best approach to dairy industry advocacy and how the existing representative infrastructure would assist.