Getting farmers fit for the future where they focus on their financial sustainability is one of the biggest challenges facing the dairy industry.
NSW fresh milk and dairy advocate Ian Zandstra acknowledges that today's farmers have all the necessary farming skills of herd and pasture management but they need to focus on where their profits are generated by controlling their margins.
It was one of the issues discussed at the dairy advisory panel meeting on Tuesday where it was decided there needed to be a new NSW Dairy Plan as the last one was in 2016.
"There are good farmers who have lasted the distance, we now need to focus on operating margins and the financial side of the business," Mr Zandstra said.
Another issue raised was the decrease in the number of farmers left in the industry where some losses could be attributed to the drought.
Mr Zandstra said there were 567 farmers in NSW, with an eight per cent decrease last year alone.
"The terms of trade of worsening, electricity costs, water costs and labour costs are increasing and that's aside from the impact of drought," he said.
Mr Zandstra said the next stage was targeted extension, which would be in unison with work by Dairy NSW and Dairy Australia.
"This is about getting the message out to farmers about the research that's there as well as the information about how they can boost their business," he said.
"When the drought ends, dairying will have a bright future in NSW."
Mr Zandstra recently toured the South Coast where he met with dairy farmers and saw first-hand the varying impacts of the bush fires.
"This is a wonderful story about how they will keep going, where the farmers were stoic and resilient," he said.
"There was no sense of pessimism but undoubtedly for some they will no doubt wonder how they will fund their future. It was a great reminder of where advocacy starts and it starts with a farmer in a meeting.