Focus Farm Opportunity
Dairy farmers looking to take their business to the next level are invited to consider WestVic Dairy’s Focus Farm project. Expressions of interest to participate in this two-year program are currently open.
The successful farm business will be given access to a team of experienced farmers and service providers, led by an expert farm consultant, to help achieve its goals.
The Focus Farm initiative has become a flagship project in western Victoria, with multiple farmers benefiting from taking part, and many more learning from this ‘real farm, real decisions’ extension format.
The successful business hand picks its support group, to ensure it includes people whose opinions are trusted and respected. The group meet eight times a year to discuss opportunities available to the Focus Farm over the coming months. This presents the farmer with several detailed and fully costed options to consider.
Dale and Karen Angus farm at Ondit have been Focus Farmers for the last two years and have seen some significant changed take place within their business in that time. The project has been completed with “The Last Hurrah” Field Day taking place on Wednesday December 8 at 11am.
“Being involved in the project has been a great benefit to our business. We have enjoyed working with the support group and have embraced new ideas after discussing the options with them. More importantly, our business is more productive and profitable because of the project. It is very satisfying to see many of the goals set down early in the project ticked off over two years. We would recommend applying to WestVic dairy to be part of the program,” said Mrs Angus.
Terry and Shannon Blasche successfully applied to become WestVic Dairy Focus Farmers – with their two-year program commencing in May this year.
‘Shannon and I are really enjoying being Focus Farmers. Moving to a new area and learning a different system is a bit daunting but getting advice and talking through options with the Support Group has certainly helped and made us more confident with the decisions we have made.
‘Not only has it been good for our business, but it has also helped us to settle into the farming community, introduced us to new friends and with the amount of experience and knowledge in the group there are times when there are almost too many options put forward!’
Focus Farms hold three open days over the two-year period. These days allow those in the industry to learn from the farm’s progress – as well as hear from experts on current local topics.
Previous and current Focus Farmers have used the program to help them with specific issues they face, such as growing more feed, improving herd fertility, incorporating technology and workforce planning.
Focus Farms play a pivotal role in WestVic Dairy’s commitment to provide relevant, timely and accurate extension services to local farmers.
Regional Manager, Lindsay Ferguson says the Focus Farm program aims to ensure farmers are fully informed when making business decisions.
“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 all relevant information to hand allows farmers to be more confident in the decisions they make.
“We would like to hear from farm businesses keen to explore ways of thriving in the dairy industry - whether you are a new entrant, or your family has been farming for generations.
“It may be that you have a particular story to tell, such as changing farming systems or succession planning. Alternatively, if you know a farm you believe suitable, please encourage them to apply,” said Mr Ferguson.
Interested farmers should contact WestVic Dairy on 5557 1000.