While the Queensland dairy industry represents only a small percentage of the total volume of all milk produced in Australia, it does remain a vital industry for our rural communities and for consumers.
Over the past 12 months, QDO has transformed its core agenda from traditional advocacy to action. We have gone from being a relatively small voice, to be a leader within the in the Australian dairy industry.
This does not mean that QDO is no longer an advocacy body since by definition advocacy is public support for a particular cause or policy. We do, however, recognise that pursuing traditional advocacy avenues is essentially the definition of insanity i.e. doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Consumers are now our main target for advocacy. In an age of instant and open communication, we recognise the importance of speaking and connecting with the 20-million Australians that consume dairy.
The success of the campaign to end $1/L milk demonstrates our commitment to helping members be profitable whilst improving the integrity of farm practices.
Over the last two years, we have been encouraging Queensland dairy farmers to take advantage of QDO membership to have their herds tested for Johnes Disease (JD). While JD testing is voluntary, a good JD score is expected to have considerable market-value in future when farmers want to sell stock.
By the 30 June deadline, over two-thirds of Queensland dairies will have had their herds JD tested and scored which shows that again that the Queensland dairy industry is leading Australian best practice.
As the number of dairy farms across Australia decrease, our accountability as an organisations that services the industry needs to increase. We need to accept and embrace scrutiny if we are to continue to be necessary to farmers.
We are delighted that our membership numbers have reached 75% of all Queensland dairies. Since membership is voluntary, we rely on improving our service offering and encourage everyone to provide feedback on how we are doing.
Brian Tessman – QDO President