Sellout success for DairySA Central Conference

The DairySA Central Conference held on 18 March was the first large face to face gathering for the dairy industry in SA for over a year. It attracted a sellout crowd of 156 dairyfarmers, service providers and other industry bodies to the event at McCracken Country Club Victor Harbor. The popularity of the Conference saw the day’s proceedings live streamed for the first time, allowing people from across the country to tune in. The Conference Dinner was the ideal setting for attendees to discuss the day's events, with speakers, friends and colleagues, providing a fitting end to the day.

Delegates heard from a range of speakers including Nigel Pannett, Managing Director Compass Agribusiness, who detailed the options available to farms for attracting investment for those farmers keen to exit or enter the industry. Tom Cosentino from SADA’s Dairy Industry Fund also outlined the funding available for relevant projects that directly benefit dairyfarmers and its community.

A panel representing both large and niche milk processors, a farmer and industry analyst examined the sometimes tricky question of what a sustainable dairy industry really looks like, particularly in regard to the ‘sweet spot’ for pricing. Sofia Omstedt, Dairy Australia Industry Analyst highlighted that for trust to occur in the supply chain, three criteria need to be met. These are:-

  • having clear market signals

  • being able to manage risk based on markets and;

  • providing good corporate governance across the industry

Nicolas Lyons, AMS Project Lead, Department of Primary Industries NSW looked at the role of technology in dairying, explaining that with the plethora of technology on offer to farmers it’s important to sift out the useful data that will help with operational and business decisions. Nico cited that there is enough technology at our fingertips for each cow that comes into the dairy to have more than 120 measurements taken!

Lorraine Gordon from the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance unravelled the range of current on-farm practices that comprise ‘regenerative agriculture’, and how they fit with the dairy industry.

‘Otway Milk’ farmer Matt Reid - together with his advisor Paul Groves - gave a ‘warts and all’ insight into their business operation. They detailed how Matt, together with his wife Alli, have created a workplace culture that empowers, supports and engages their most important asset - their people. Their inherent belief that ‘people are everything’ has seen their team realise an average of six years employment and having never missed a shift.

A highlight for many in the room was the virtual cross to NZ’s ‘Farm4Life’ founder Tangaroa Walker, a passionate dairy farmer whose mission is to educate dairy workers on all aspects of dairy tasks through online access to a daily raft of tutorials and information videos. His enthusiasm, passion and sense of humour - despite a tough upbringing - was infectious and he had the crowd in his hands!

If you’re keen to revisit the day - or if you couldn’t make it - head to the Conference livestream link

You can also peruse the Conference presentation slides

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