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New Focus Farm Hunt on for WestVic Dairy

WestVic Dairy is looking for a new Focus Farm to participate in a two year program, commencing in January 2019.

The selected farm business will be given access to a team of experienced farmers and service providers, including a vet, nutritionist, agronomist, accountant and banker. This team will be led by an expert farm consultant.

The advisory team will meet eight times a year to discuss different opportunities available to the farm over the coming months. This presents the farmer with several detailed and fully costed options on which to base their business decisions.

Importantly, the successful farmer is able to hand pick their advisory group to ensure they are people whose opinions they trust and respect.
According to WestVic Dairy regional manager, Lindsay Ferguson, the Focus Farm program is all about improving farmer decision-making, managing risk and increasing farm profitability.

“Whilst dairy farmers are used to making complex decisions there is an increasing level of volatility in the industry. Whether that volatility is due to markets, input costs or seasonal conditions, having the support of the advisory group allows farmers to be more confident about the decisions they make,” Lindsay said.

Each Focus Farm holds three open days over the two year period. These days are held to enable interested farmers and the dairy industry to learn from the farm’s progress – as well as hear from industry experts about current local issues and how they may be overcome.

Previous and current Focus Farmers have used the program to help them with specific issues that they face on their own farms, such as: increasing use of home grown feed; changing calving pattern to suit individual circumstances; improving pasture management and use; and, better understanding farm labour needs and costs.

Brett and Bronwyn Davies joined the Focus Farm project shortly after moving to Simpson from a dairy farm near Swan Hill and found it very beneficial for their business.

“We had a good mate, Skeeta (Verhey), involved at Koondrook and he told me how much he got out of it and we got so much out of it as a support group network,” Brett said.

“There’s no better way to start off on the straight and narrow and set off in the right direction,” Bronwyn added.
The Focus Farm project plays a pivotal role in WestVic Dairy’s commitment to provide relevant, timely and accurate extension activities to local farmers.

Lindsay Ferguson encourages all types of dairy farm businesses to apply to become the next Focus Farm.

“Whether you are a new entrant to the industry or your family has been farming for generations, we want to hear from you,” Lindsay said.

“It may be that you have a particular story to tell such as changing farming systems or you may be in the process of succession planning. Alternatively if you know of a farm that you believe is suitable please encourage them to apply.”

Interested dairy farmers should contact WestVic Dairy’s Laurie Hickey on 0439 833 484 to find out more.

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