Home' The Great Southern Star : August 9th 2016 Contents “THE STAR” Tuesday, August 9, 2016 - PAGE 41
By Stuart Biggins
THE four Gippsland candidates vying
for the Murray Goulburn board vacancy
following the resignation of the late Max
Jelbart presented their credentials at a di-
rectors’ forum at Leongatha Recreation
Reserve on Thursday.
Kelvin Jackson is a dairy farmer from Hazel
Park via Welshpool.
Mr Jackson said he offers experience as a board
member of Bonlac Foods and Dairy Australia.
He has learnt from his experience about what
to do, what works, and what not to do and what
does not working as a director.
Directors have a huge responsibility to make
the right decisions for the farmers and their em-
Timothy Dwyer from Newry has been a dairy
farmer all his life.
Mr Dwyer has a degree in economics and said
he believed in the company’s strategies that must
be seen through.
“Money raised by floating part of the company
last year needs to be well spent on building and
infrastructure,” Mr Dwyer said.
He was critical of the Milk Supply Support
Package (MSSP – approximately one cent per
litre) and said this must be pulled back to make the
milk price more competitive.
Raelene Hanratty is from Upper Maffra West.
Her husband Dennis grew up on the farm they
now share farm with their son Joey.
Mrs Hanratty said she asks questions and re-
quires acceptable answers in reply, not just spin.
“I offer common sense, integrity and honesty,”
“I would like to be involved with the new CEO
when appointed and the new look board.
“I am not here to play the female card but I also
offer the diversity of view a woman brings.”
Commenting on MG’s loss of the Woolworths’
contract, she said contracts change all of the time.
In what looks almost like a case of tit-for-tat,
the Coles contract will take effect in February.
Mr Jackson’s view is that Murray Goulburn
was never going to have both supermarkets’ con-
“The supermarkets want a point of difference
in the market,” he said.
Because Australian cheddar is renowned inter-
nationally and Murray Goulburn products always
achieve the highest price, opportunities exist to
find more lucrative contracts.
Bernhard Lubitz, a dairy farmer from Mt Ec-
cles, said the current board and governance struc-
tures were no longer working, and need to be re-
evaluated and changed if farmers are to remain in
control of the co-operative.
He called for chairman Phil Tracy to stand
down at the AGM in September, citing lack of
Standing tall: from left, Bernhard Lubitz, Timothy Dwyer, Raelene Hanratty and Kelvin
Jackson following their presentations as candidates for the board of Murray Goulburn in
Leongatha last Thursday.
MG candidates sell their case
WITH the ground wet under-
foot and the sun shining above,
there was room for at least a lit-
tle optimism at the most recent
Tactics for Tight Times event.
Held at the Nyora dairy farm of
Philip Ould and Paul and Louise Sher-
ar, Thursday’s field day was all about
making the most of the coming spring
to produce home grown feed.
Tactics for Tight Times is funded
by Dairy Australia using dairy ser-
vice levy funds and is being rolled
out across the region by GippsDairy.
It is aimed at helping farmers build
skills and resilience during a difficult
Farm consultant Matt Harms, who
facilitated the discussion at Nyora,
said dairy farmers had moved on from
the milk price issue and were starting
to focus on what can be done to im-
prove a bad situation.
“What we are trying to get across
today is to really look at the big pic-
ture settings of the season,” he said.
“Late winter and early spring de-
cisions, based around what that looks
like in terms of grain input levels, urea
rates, pushing to get silage and focus-
ing on the things we can control.
“We are not here to dwell on what
we can’t control. The milk price is the
milk price; the season is the season.
It’s now working out what we are go-
ing to do about it.”
Matt said many farmers in
Gippsland are already seeing a surplus
of pasture and are wondering when
they will be able to start harvesting
silage. It is offering some hope that
some of the damage caused by the
milk price drop could be offset by a
“The plans that have been put in
place are starting to look like they are
lining up. Some people are starting to
say it’s looking OK,” he said.
“The cows are producing on less
grain, we’ve got grass and we are
looking forward to, while not a great
outlook, maybe not the train wreck it
looked like two months ago.”
One of the messages from the
Tactics for Tight Times event was for
farmers to stick with what has made
them successful in the past – if they
can afford it.
“For farmers who are not neces-
sarily having such a tight year, don’t
turn your farming system on its head.
Maybe look at some minor changes or
some tweaks,” Matt said.
“For others who aren’t in such
great shape, maybe they do need to
change things significantly with stock-
ing rates or changes to input levels or
The Ould/Sherar farm is a joint
venture between Phillip and Louise
and Paul. The Sherares also share-farm
on a Loch property owned by Phillip.
Having bought the 120 hectare Nyora
farm in March – just weeks before the
milk price announcement – it’s been a
tough period for the business.
Using a full time manager in Ste-
phen Spaull to run the farm, it’s been
a difficult time, but one which Phillip
is hoping will be cushioned by a good
good season will help,
but while it’s looking good so far, it’s
too early to say it will be a good sea-
son,” he said.
Phillip believes events like Tactics
for Tight Times can help people re-
assess how they approach their farm
“When the milk price is high there
are things you can get away with,
when it’s low you can’t do it the same
way. You have to rethink your strategy
and stick with the basics, he said.
GippsDairy regional extension
officer Karen Romano said 70 peo-
ple came to the Nyora event, push-
ing Tactics for Tight Times numbers
above the 900 mark.
“To have that many people com-
ing out during a busy time shows
dairy farmers are looking to access
information and resources that can
help them through the current tough
period,” she said.
“These events are just one part of
the Tactics for Tight Times program,
which has fact sheets and online re-
sources available to every farmer.”
For more information go to www.
tftt.dairyaustralia.com.au or call
GippsDairy on 5624 3900.
accountability and a gung ho attitude, as well as
a broad disregard for open communication with
One example he said was the Il Migliore pack-
aged cheese varieties presented at last November’s
AGM as a shining example of MG’s value added
strategy working, now nowhere to be seen.
Mr Lubitz said farmers should be fully in-
formed about the positive and negative outcomes
of initiatives so they can be part of an inclusive
conversation about how their co-op is perform-
Tactics to spring into action
Discussing season: from left, Mountain View’s Alicia and Chris
Drew with Athlone’s Connor Cunningham at recent The Tactics
for Tight Times session at Nyora.
Opening doors: from left, farm part-owner Phillip Ould, Gipps-
Dairy’s Irene Baker, farm manager Stephen Spaull and GippsDairy’s
Leah Maslen at the Nyora Tactics for Tight Times event.
Young ones: from left, Poowong’s Ash Till-
ing and Jake Follett have a chat with Bena’s
Nick Leppin at the Tactics event at Nyora.
Well attended: the farm walk was a highlight of the Nyora Tactics
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