2023 VFF UDV Vice-President Election

Welcome to your 2023 VFF UDV Vice-President Election information hub, featuring all your need-to-know details.

At the close of nominations, the two following nominations were received for the position of VFF UDV Vice-President: Craig Dwyer & Bernie Free

Craig Dwyer

Experience: I am also the UDVs representative on the VFF Board currently

Other positions held: Previously ran successfully for a position on the Murray Goulburn Board

Relevant experience: Over 20 years in the dairy industry

Bernie Free

Experience: Deputy Policy Councilor

Other positions held: Member of Industry Leader Group

Relevant experience: 40 years in the dairy industry

An election for the position of VFF UDV Vice-President will therefore be conducted. This election will take place as an online voting election. Voting will open on Wednesday 28 June and will close at 5pm Thursday 20 July.

Get to know our VFF UDV Vice-President Nominees​

Craig Dwyer

To my fellow UDV member,

My name is Craig Dwyer and I am seeking your support to become UDV Vice President for the next 2 years.

For those of you whom I haven’t met previously over my 20 plus year dairying career, please allow me to introduce myself.

I am currently filling the Vice President’s role on a casual basis and have for the past 12 months. I am also the UDVs representative on the VFF Board currently, having taken on that role in September last year; positions that bring with them serious responsibilities and their own challenges.

Having previously ran successfully for a position on the Murray Goulburn Board after the milk price crash of 2016, you can see that I do not shirk away from a challenge!

Along with my wife Donna, our farm milks 300, just outside of Cobden in South West Victoria.

We are passionate and committed to the dairy industry, having just embarked on a new chapter with our sharefarmers, having just signed a five year 50/50 agreement.

Although I am a 3rd generation dairyfarmer, Donna was new to the industry and we progressed from ⅓ share sharefarming, to 50/50 through to farm ownership, a journey that was completely independent to the family farm.

The sharefarming journey was fantastic to our family and we are very proud to be able to give the next generation of Victorian dairyfarmer a similar opportunity.

Dairyfarmer advocacy has never been more important with some serious issues coming over the horizon, some faster than others, but all that we must be prepared for. From farm safety to animal welfare; nutrient run-off to social licence; water; roads & rates, cheap imports… the list goes on.

We must stay ahead of the game in order to keep Victorian dairying as the national powerhouse of what is a bloody good industry, producing a world class product.

I look forward to the challenge that the Vice Presidential election brings and would appreciate your support.

Please do not hesitate to contact me on 0408 033 783 should you wish to discuss anything further.

Thank you for your time and I wish you well for the new season ahead.


Craig Dwyer


Bernie Free

To VFF/ UDV Members,

I am a 58 year old dairyfarmer. Together with my wife a daughter we have a dairy operation in Winslow, SW Victoria.

We, as a family are passionate about advocacy and and promotion of successful farming systems in agriculture.

My wife and I were runners up in Share Farmer of the year in 1995. This success encouraged us to strive for the best outcomes for the dairy industry and agriculture in general.

Having recently sold our 2nd dairy farm in Yambuck, I am now able to engage in a much greater capacity within agriculture advocacy.

Advocacy in agriculture has been a passion of mine since from my early mentorship days working for and then share farming with John Harlock, a great industry leader and agriculture advocate.

I have been actively involved with the UDV at a branch level for many years and subsequently as both deputy and acting policy councillor for the UDV Wannon Branch.

Having witness the recent destruction of dairy advocacy, within and by the VFF, has made it all the more important to fight for reform. The stripping away of sovereignty of the UDV dairy farmers by the VFF Board, along with the lack of proper governance of the VFF’s relationship with ADF is beyond belief! VFF should be passing on UDV membership levies to the ADF.

As a commodity group (UDV), we need an organisation that has sovereignty (control of levies, policy, budgets and staffing) over the commodity together with an accountability and transparency back to farmers.

Farmers are the UDV, and they need to be listened to. Dairy farmers are being treated like mushrooms, kept in the dark fed @#$%.

Without a strong UDV with more members that are listened to, the organisatio will continue to wither and die as is happening under the current leadership.

With no major advocacy/ policy input into the State Budget, no major document that outlining the positives that the UDV (VFF) achieved in the State Budget, farmers are not getting value for money in their advocacy organisation.

The importance of grass roots led representative and accountable governance is sacrosanct above all else. Sadly, this is being taken away within the governance of the VFF.

This is a key and motivating reason why I feel the need to stand for Vice President of the UDV. Should you wish to discuss this please call me on 0419 002 137.

Members who were financial members of the VFF UDV as at the close of nominations and are listed as a nominee on their membership account are entitled to vote in this election.​

Members who are eligible to vote will receive an email notification with a dedicated link to the online voting portal. All votes recorded shall be secret.

Please note: Members voting online must do so through the individualised link sent to the email address they have registered with the VFF. This link must be accessed from your email account and cannot be accessed by others.

If there are two nominees for the membership with the same email address, you must enter their individual name.

Where two nominees share the same email address, they may still be able to vote individually by accessing the dedicated link. Each nominee can vote on a separate occasion by entering their personal name into the voting portal.

Eligible members are encouraged to vote online, however postal voting is available to you if you request.

An application for a postal vote can be submitted via the online voting portal or by email to [email protected] or by calling the VFF on 1300 882 833.

Postal vote requests must be received before 5pm Monday 3 July 2023. Please be aware that postal votes will be subject to strict deadlines to ensure ballots are received in time for counting.



Announcement of the election result will take place at the

VFF UDV Conference at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday July 25