New DairyTas executive officer Jonathan Price understands what drives dairy farmers and has plans to build the industry.
Previously employed as Fonterra’s regional manager for milk supply, Mr Price had a good grounding as an intermediary between dairy farmers and the processor.
“That gave me great exposure to a significant proportion of the dairy farmers of Tasmania,” Mr Price said.
“I have a good understanding of [dairy farmer’s] key drivers, issues, objectives and goals for their business operations so I hopefully have an insight into how DairyTas can steer education and development programs to tailor to the objectives and the needs of dairy farm businesses,” he said.
I have a good understanding of [dairy farmer’s] key drivers...Jonathan Price
In the past five years the dairy industry has raised its profile at a government and community level and Mr Price plans to expand on that awareness.
“One of my ambitions in the role is to convert that awareness into knowledge; so building knowledge around career opportunities that exist, the challenges and the requirements for investment,” he said.
Based at the Burnie DairyTas office, Mr Price sees the location as a good central point for the state’s dairy industry.
It is also close to the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, which partners with DairyTas on some projects.
Historically DairyTas has offered many courses to develop dairy farmers’ skills, but Mr Price hopes training can be steered towards the organisation’s strategic plan now the industry has increased confidence levels.
“A lot of those courses have been delivered responding to the dry season, the wet season, the impact of the price adjustment at a processor level,” Mr Price said.
“There will always be a need to adjust depending on these climatic conditions – it’s part of the industry that we’re in – but we’re well set up at the moment to get back on track,” he said.
DairyTas is in the midst of running several careers programs for primary and high school students, along with industrial standards and financial management workshops and the roll out of the new Focus Farm in Circular Head.
Although it is only early days in the role, Mr Price expects the Tasmanian industry to regain its losses from last season and finish closer the 2015-16 season figures.
Mr Price replaces Mark Smith, who was the DairyTas executive officer for 15 years.