Proud to be a Dairy Farmer – supporting the next generation of farmers


In an effort to help address the long-term challenge of attracting, retaining and developing people in the dairy industry, twelve young dairy farmers from across Victoria and Tasmania took part in the very first Proud to be a Dairy Farmer program last week

The program, which was spearheaded by the Fonterra Australia Suppliers’ Council with support from Fonterra, mentors young farmers looking to expand their career in dairy.

Running over three days, the group of 12 took part in a series of workshops led by a range of industry stalwarts, covering  topics including different operating and financial structures, how to progress their career through to farm ownership, and the importance of looking after your mental health. They also headed off to Gippsland to visit a few farms and Fonterra’s Darnum site.

Fonterra Australia Suppliers’ Council Chairman John Dalton says the dairy industry has evolved in recent years and farm businesses have become larger.

“There are many opportunities for young people interested in dairy and who want to have a successful career.

“We wanted to create a program that recognised and supported the next generation of dairy entrants and inspired them to build a successful career in dairy,” says John.

Dairy farmer Karli Pyke, who works on a farm in Naringal in southwest Victoria, took part in the program. Karli says it was a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and share their knowledge and experiences with each other.

“It was amazing to see the different work environments and roles out there and how it differs from your own experience – I learnt a lot,” says Karli.

To round off the program, the young dairy farmers wined and dined with leading industry figures from Dairy Australia, United Dairyfarmers of Victoria, Australian Dairy Farmers and Fonterra.

Australian Dairy Farmers President, Terry Richardson, praised the participants’ desire to understand, learn and engage with others across the industry.

“It’s a great demonstration of the industry giving back to the next generation of dairy farmers, this is what’s needed to help grow and support our industry to grow,” says Terry.

The program was inspired by Fonterra’s Proud to be a Chef program, which has been running since 1996 and supports young apprentice chefs.

Fonterra Australia Managing Director René Dedoncker says Fonterra is pleased to be able to support the Fonterra Australia Suppliers’ Council to get this up and running.

“We’re incredibly proud to be part of a program that celebrates the young people in our industry, our future leaders, and the future of what is great about dairy,” says René.