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Three new faces for WestVic Dairy Board

Media Release 26 September 2018

Dairy farmers from Allansford and Purnim West and a genetics sales executive have been appointed to the WestVic Dairy Board.

Allansford farmer Brendan Rea and Genetics Australia field sales manager Mike Huth were today announced as new Board members and farmer Jo Fife, from Purnim West, joins as an associate member.

Current farmer directors Simone Renyard and Jessica Howe were re-appointed for a three-year term, with Simone retaining her position as Chair of the Board.

Brendan Rea has been farming on a multi-generational family farm in the Allansford area for the past 38 years.

Mr Rea said communication at a local level was vital to the industry’s success.

“I want to ensure a good delivery of the knowledge and advice that Dairy Australia generates through their research funded by our levies,” he said.

“Making that knowledge relevant to local farmers and being able to deliver it as a package in a timely and relevant fashion is vital.”

Mr Rea is confident about the future of the industry but says it’s not without challenges.

“Being able to adapt to change is one of the challenges facing all farmers as we cope with the ongoing issues of profitability, staffing and the demands being thrown at us from many angles.”

Mr Huth believes the dairy industry is at a turning point and he’s keen to be part of its reinvigoration.

A field sales manager based in Cobden for Genetics Australia, Mr Huth has worked in the A.I. industry for 22 years after growing up on a dairy farm in Queensland and studying agribusiness at the University of Queensland.

He wants to collaboratively support farmers and those in the broader industry to improve their productivity and profitability.

“The industry is at a bit of a turning point and I want to be part of helping to reinvigorate it,” he said.

“We need to work with local farmers to guide them to the most profitable and productive way forward. “With my understanding of dairy farming and dairy genetics, I bring a different perspective to a non-farming Board director role.”

Mrs Fife wants to be an advocate for women in dairy and to encourage more young people into the industry.

“I believe women should have a strong voice but they’re not always heard; we need to find ways to better support them,” she said.

Mrs Fife, who farms at Purnim West after moving from New Zealand 10 years ago, is also determined to promote a positive path for young people entering the industry.

“Our future depends on getting young people involved so we need to promote dairy as a great vocation,” she said. “We need to counteract some of the negativity in the media.”

Mrs Fife was previously in the New Zealand navy and worked in other professions, including disability support. “I think I have a slightly different outlook; not just the traditional farming outlook,” she said.

Media enquiries: Lindsay Ferguson — Executive Officer, WestVic Dairy 03 5557 1000 I media@westvicdairy.com.au

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