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Dairy Conference debates growing or shrinking for prosperity

Growing or shrinking for prosperity was the theme of the day at the 2017 WAFarmers Dairy Conference, with insightful and constructive discussions held by presenters and attendees alike.

Featuring an opening address from Hon. Darren West MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, and presentations from Dairy Australia Australian Dairy Farmers, and Western Dairy, attendees gathered to learn more about the current status of the Western Australian and national dairy industries and how the sector can prosper.

A highlight of the day was an interactive debate, during which local dairy farmers Ross Woodhouse and Phil Depiazzi and representatives from Dairy Australia discussed the event theme and whether growing or shrinking industry supply would provide better results and security in the long run.

During the AGM, Michael Partridge, Ian Noakes and Paul Ieraci retained their positions of President, Senior Vice President and Vice President, respectively, on the WAFarmers Dairy Council.

Mr Partridge said the event provided the opportunity for WAFarmers Members and other attendees to have collaborative discussions about pressing issues within the sector.

“It has been a difficult couple of years for Western Australian dairy farmers, so we aimed to create an event that would not only inform delegates but increase confidence in the industry while also generating thoughtful discussion,” he said.

“There should always be an expectation that farmers have a home for their milk, and better communication is needed between processors and farmers to ensure this happens, along with fair and equitable contracts.

“Farmers have as much invested in the dairy industry as processors do, however not all processors recognise this, and this needs to be reflected in the way we do business with each other.

“Notably, a presentation from Dairy Australia’s Neil Lane showed that Western Australian dairy farmers are as efficient and comparable to anywhere else in the world, so it important to recognise our farmers’ capabilities.”

Mr Partridge also said flattening the supply curve can come at a significant cost to the farmers, and needs to be reflected in price.

“We hope delegates went away with a deeper understanding of the issues currently facing the industry and that the presentations held throughout the day have provided some genuine food for thought," he said.

Special thanks to all the event sponsors: Dairy Australia (major event sponsor), Australian Dairy Farmers, Brownes, Lion, Harvey Fresh, Brunswick Agencies, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Landmark, Amanda Energy Solutions, Farm West, Elders and RSM.

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