Dairy Industry Crisis Response to Extended Dry
Above: The 1-in-a-100 year drought in 2003 significantly affected the whole eastern seaboard (Photo: Rod Dyson)
Client: Dairy Australia
Location: National, coordinated from Melbourne
Responsibilities: To facilitate a collaborative, industry-wide effort to help farm businesses make decisions
The need: This initiative started in December 2003 following an industry-wide commitment to help dairy farmers through a period of low milk prices and extended dry conditions (a 1-in-a-100 year drought across the eastern seaboard). It was a large scale ($4.5M), collaborative effort between Dairy Australia, dairy companies and state government departments over 18 months.
What we did: Pauline Brightling and Steve Coats (Dairy Australia) led the Advisory Group that worked intensely to articulate the issues and uncertainties, and shape an effective response – that ultimately reached more than 1,800 farmers. The response was designed to focus on an individual’s situation, give farmers control by providing a clearer picture of the situation and their options, be matched to the mood (no spin doctoring), have a straightforward mode of delivery, and work through a large network of aligned advisers.
The collaboration across all parts of industry gave rise to several initiatives that continue to endure, including Dairy Australia’s National Dairy Farmer Survey and Dairy Situation and Outlook report, and a way of Taking Stock of both the physical and financial aspects of the farm business.