The final Australian Dairy Plan is due for release any day now.
The plan will seek to address many issues in the Australian dairy industry, including: marketing of dairy products; attracting and supporting new entrants to industry; and a crucial underpinning theme of profitability.
The plan will also outline the top priority as identified by dairy farmers - reforming industry structures to create a more cohesive, financially viable and influential advocacy voice.
A high priority for the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV) is how dairy industry policy will be developed under a new model that appropriately considers the regional, state and national views and differences.
We must not lose sight of the importance of this industry reform.
Dairy is Australia's fourth largest rural industry and requires world-class industry bodies that can meet the needs of our dairy businesses.
We must also not lose sight of the complexity of this industry reform.
There is still significant consultation and engagement to be undertaken and a long road ahead.
An issue that has created significant discussion in industry is the potential involvement of processors in a new dairy industry structure.
UDV has long believed that dairy processors should contribute to the research and development undertaken by industry that benefits the processing sector.
This includes investment in trade and market access, sustainability and marketing of dairy products.
There has been a lot of discussion around a potential processor levy - and UDV supports this.
However, we need more information to have a serious discussion about the challenges and opportunities such a levy could provide.
Whatever the involvement of processors into the future, we need to protect the rights of dairy farmers to lobby on whatever they agree are the top priorities.
This needs to include the ability to call out poor processor behaviour.
UDV continues to push for clarity about timelines and how this important consultation will roll-out.
We know that COVID-19 has slowed the process. But it is crucial to garner the support of farmers and continue to progress the industry's number one priority.
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