Mick O'Keefe has been employed by the DEPI as a Dairy Extension Officer to work primarily on the Alpine Valleys Dairy Pathways Project (AVDPP). The project is the culmination of several years hard work by the AVDPP steering committee and strong collaboration between the DEPI Dairy Services Branch, Murray Goulburn Co-operative, Dairy Australia and Murray Dairy. The AVDPP believes there is scope to increase the amount of arable land in the north east alpine valleys region under dairy production to 18 per cent, with a subsequent increase to current milk production. This would provide a significant boost to the social and economic outcomes of the alpine valleys.
Mick commenced the role in late June and agreed to a quick interview.
So Mick, what is your background?
I was raised on a sheep and cropping farm outside of Wangaratta. For the last eight years I have worked as an agricultural and environmental engineer for two businesses, one in South Australia from 2005-2008, then Echuca and Wangaratta from 2009 till my recent appointment with DEPI.
In South Australia I was responsible for providing effluent system planning, design and management advice to the dairy industry. This also included the development of effluent guidelines for the main dairying regions and assisting farmers through the statutory planning process for new and expanding dairy shed and feedpad developments.
After moving back to Victoria I was employed by a private consulting firm. My main roles were conceptual design and statutory planning for beef and lamb feedlots, piggeries and poultry farms; as well as completing research and development for Dairy Australia, DEPI, Meat and Livestock Australia and Australian Pork Limited. Throughout this work I was involved in writing design and management guidelines for the Australian pork and beef feedlot industries and the Guidelines for Victorian Dairy Feedpads and Freestalls.
What does your role entail?
The objectives of my role include delivering regional and state wide services focusing on productivity and sustainable land management practices for the dairy industry, with a strong emphasis on industry growth and development. As part of the AVDPP I will facilitate local extension services and act as a key conduit between local farmers and the steering committee.
What most excites you about this new role?
The ability to work in the local region with a proactive agricultural industry, whilst building my knowledge and capabilities in dairy production at a farm level.
Getting away from work, what are your passions and interests?
I enjoy football, golf and camping. When time permits I enjoying assisting my father and brother on the farm.
Where will you be working from and how do we contact you?
I am based at the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) Rutherglen.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org,and landline number (02) 6030 4500.
Good luck Mick and we look forward to having you on board.