policy work

ENERGY

UDV has been actively lobbying for comprehensive upgrades to Victoria’s energy infrastructure. This includes upgrading Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) lines to 3-phase power across the state. 

Part of this work includes a feasibility study funded through the New Energy Jobs Fund. What was found was that farms on a SWER line cannot readily expand herd size beyond the milk storage capabilities of their vats. In other words, a dairy’s ability to expand is constrained by its milk storage capacity and this capacity cannot be increased beyond the energy constraints imposed by SWER lines without intervention. 

UDV are calling on the Victorian Government to upgrade the outdated SWER infrastructure to 3-phase power across the state. The UDV has committed to keep pushing power line upgrades as a priority into 2017. 

Click here to download a copy of the feasibility study final report - New Energy Options for the Victorian Dairy Industry.

CODE OF PRACTICE 

UDV members right across the state called for significant reform to the relationship between farmers and processors after last year’s milk price changes. Members overwhelmingly called for changes to existing arrangements. They also requested those changes provide them with improved milk supply terms and conditions that provide fair, transparent and equitable agreements with processors.

UDV has been working with ADF and other industry representatives on a Code of Practice that builds upon the new 2016 Unfair Contract Terms Law for Small Business which allows a number of issues that affect the unfairness seen during the last year to be addressed.

The Code of Practice Addresses 11 key areas of milk supply contracts:

1. Transparency

2. Pricing

3. Pricing Mechanisms

4. Contractual Variations

5. Loyalty Payments

6. Volume and Exclusivity Clauses

7. Contract Duration

8. Termination and Notice to Terminate

9. Termination upon Fundamental Breach

10. Dispute Resolution

11. Review

Whilst adherence to this Code is voluntary, it sets out minimum good practice in terms of dairy contracts.

milk price structure

As an ongoing issue for the industry, UDV has led the industry discussion on what is a complex issue that is not generally understood well by farmers. Since the UDV started the debate the two biggest milk processors have conducted, or are conducting, milk price structure reviews.

In more recent times the commentary from farmers and consultants is more informed, and as a result, potential solutions to the problem are now being offered.

UDV has recently organised a day long milk review discussion involving 12 key dairy industry consultants to develop a discussion paper for further industry discussions.

BJD Control Program Review

Dairy farmers contribute to the Cattle Compensation fund through levies on sales of cattle. The fund has a range of functions, but one is to fund a program (TCP3) designed to contain Bovine Johne’s in Victoria’s cattle herd

UDV has led the push for a full review of the TCP3 program including the effectiveness of the current program, the need for the program to continue, market access implications and BJD management in the other states to ensure we achieve the best use of farmers levy payments.

View the final report of the BJD management review here .

Electronic NVD Trials

Livestock producers must supply a vendor declaration with each consignment of stock. Dairy farmers regularly sell (low value) bobby calves and chopper cows in small numbers. Because of the forms in book format dairy farmers are paying a disproportionate higher cost compared with other livestock sales.

UDV is an active supporter of a trial to convert the NVD to an electronic format and thereby utilise the livestock monitoring systems put in place for the Time Off Feed project.

This has resulted in reduced livestock selling costs for farmers. The improved monitoring will also assist meat processors with stock identification thereby improving residue compliance, reducing opportunity for errors and the impact on markets.

NZ Dairy farmer immigration issues

The Victorian dairy industry had an influx of a significant number of New Zealand dairy farmers move here over the past ten years or so. Despite buying farms and being active members of their local communities, the complexity of Australia’s immigration system has made it extremely difficult for them to gain Australian residency and citizenship status. 

UDV has already made progress in removing a number of elements of the process that have been excluding these people from successfully applying. Through working with the Department of Immigration, the UDV believes there is now a clear pathway to apply for permanent residency.

Industry Funding Allocations (DEPI/DA)

Victorian dairy farmers are demonstrating they are interested in how farmers levy payments are spent and that they expect appropriate funding investments.

The UDV has been asking questions about the industry/government/3rd party funding models currently being implemented across the dairy industry and scrutinising the effect of the changes on the delivery of services to farmers.

Young Farmer engagement and development

The UDV ran the 2017 tour of New Zealand in February funded by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation. This provided an opportunity for six of the best industry talents to share a ‘hands-on’ education of a competitors farming structures and systems, develops a peer network and links farm based and farm service based people. 

Click here to become a member and have your say today.

For more information on becoming a member, phone VFF member services on 1300 882 833 or email

members@vff.org.au