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The Structure of Your Dairy Industry

By Nick Steel, Rural Affairs Advisor

  

The dairy industry has many organisations that undertake roles and services for dairy farmers. 

Because of this there is considerable confusion amongst dairy farmers about the various industry structures and how these interlink, as well as the roles of each organisation and how the statutory levy system operates. 

The below diagram provides a better understanding of who is involved in terms of R&D and lobbying services and how the various organisations are funded.

The centre of the diagram is ‘you’ a dairy farmer who pays a compulsory national R&D levy to the government or a voluntary member levy to the TFGA.

The compulsory levy is matched and provided to the Research Development Corporation, Dairy Australia, who provides funding to its eight regional develop programs, of which DairyTas is one. 

DairyTas then uses the funds to provide R&D on ground demonstration and extension activities to the Tasmanian dairy industry. 

While the TFGA voluntary dairy levy that farmers have a choice in paying provides funding to TFGA to undertake policy and advocacy activities, which includes lobbying government on various matters.  TFGA also pay membership to the Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) who represent the dairy industry nationally lobbying for rights on many nationally issues.

The obvious key difference between the R&D and advocacy organisations is that of funding.  TFGA is heavily reliant on voluntary funding model to provide revenue to pay for its policy and advocacy member services. 

If members don’t see value or benefits in paying TFGA the voluntary levy they can stop paying and stop being a member.  However, farmers must pay the compulsory R&D levy that is deducted from their milk cheque each fortnight.

 

This is where ADF and TFGA are working together through a project that is being funded by ADF to increase the amount of TFGA dairy members in the state.  The more members we represent the more we can influence government (local, state and national) on a range of agri-political issues.

This year we are concentrating on the two larger dairy regions in the state – North West and Circular Head (Marrawah to Thirlstane).  From the data sourced through the TDIA dairy licence data, as at 30 June 2013, there were 254 dairy farmers across these regions.

The TFGA will be using our current dairy farmer members to assist us increase the amount of members we have this year.  We hope that as a local of your area you will be able to help us influence the non-members to consider becoming a member.

We may call on you this year to help us out to build an even stronger TFGA to continue what TFGA does best and that is lobby for the rights of Tasmanian farmers.