Conference looks to future

February 08, 2018

Ready and raring... Australian Dairy Conference Programming Committee chair and Tongala farmer Scott Fitzgerald is preparing for this year's conference.

Innovation, the future of the dairy industry and change will be the focus of the Australian Dairy Conference this year.

Tongala dairy farmer Scott Fitzgerald has taken charge of programming the February 12 to 15 event, held at Pulman Melbourne in Albert Park, which is expected to attract 400 dairy farmers from across the country.

Mr Fitzgerald, who milks 300 cows with his wife Anna, said there would be fresh programming for young farmers.

‘‘A focus this year has been on attracting younger members of Australia’s dairy community to involve themselves with ADC,’’ Mr Fitzgerald said.

‘‘I attended for the first time only a few short years ago and look where that involvement has led me to today.

‘‘The digital age we are moving into is going to be moving a lot faster than I believe we are ready for.

‘‘The pressures might not necessarily be coming at us from on-farm, where we can see them coming and influence it, but off-farm in a space we probably haven’t even given any thought to.

‘‘Is our industry ready for change, how do we manage change? Our markets seem to be becoming more volatile, how will our industry change from being reactive to proactive?’’

After attending his first conference in Tasmania in 2015 on a whim, Mr Fitzgerald said it inspired him and drove him to get involved in the event.

He said the conference provided a great opportunity to network with other farmers.

‘‘People are there for the same reason.

‘‘The conversations you have at conference are more looking at the big picture, rather than the conversations you often have locally where you talk about the day-to-day issues of running the farm.’’

A number of speakers will present at the conference, including Saputo chief executive officer Lino A Saputo, Dairy Australia’s John Droppert and Kaila Colbin from Silicon Valley think-tank Singularity University.

■Full registrations including dinner functions are $880 for dairy farmers and $1320 for non-farmers. Day registrations can be purchased for $450 for dairy farmers or $715 for non-farmers per day.

■To register or see the program visit: australiandairyconference.com.au

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