Stuart Crosthwaite, Chairperson, North East Murray Dairy
"The Alpine Valleys of North East Victoria are one of the best places to dairy in Australia – and produces some excellent performances in terms of overall farm profitability, compared to other areas of the country," was one of the key messages delivered by John Mulvany to the participants at the recent North East Murray Dairy Business breakfast and forum at Tangambalanga. But John also noted the dairy industry has a significant problem convincing the next generation they should be dairying for a living, and providing a pathway for this to be achieved.
Over 90 North East dairy farmers and 45 dairy industry service providers attended the breakfast and/or forum engaging in a robust day of discussion and providing ideas to some of the following questions. Is there a long term sustainable future for dairy in the valleys? What will the industry look like in the future? What are the issues we need to confront to allow this to be achieved? How can we better handle business transitions so we can meet the needs of our retiring dairy farmers at the same time as allowing for the next generation to have the confidence to invest in future dairy growth?
The breakfast and forum marked the launch of the Alpine Valleys Dairy Pathways Project, which will be delivered here in North East Victoria and aims to tackle some of these fundamental questions. We believe there is significant potential for growth but we need to do a number of things differently to achieve this. The project is being supported by Dairy Australia, DEPIV, Murray Goulburn, the Gardiner Foundation and the four local rural municipalities. It will be run over the next three years to commence in January 2013, and will include the appointment of a full time dairy extension position to the region for this period.
The project is a North East Murray Dairy initiative and will be looking to engage with as many local people and service providers as possible. A project steering committee will be established to provide guidance to this process, and we will look forward to keeping in touch with dairy farmers and service providers in the region via the Mountain Milk Line as the project progresses.