Alpine Valleys Dairy Pathways Project delegation takes message of success and confidence to Parliament House in Canberra

A six-person delegation co-ordinated by the Alpine Valleys Dairy Pathways Project will extol the dairy industry in the halls of Parliament House on Wednesday.

Stuart Crosthwaite

Stuart Crosthwaite

The visit, organised by Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan, corresponds with the inaugural Farrer Food Fair.

Together the day will showcase the contribution Riverina and North East Victorian farmers make to the national economy.

Pathways project chairman Stuart Crosthwaite said the North East group will meet with representatives from all major parties, including Senator Fiona Nash (Minister for Regional Development), Joel Fitzgibbon (Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Shadow Minister for Rural and Regional Australia), Senator Anne Ruston (the Assistant Minister for Ag and Water Resources) and senior advisers to Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

“We’re all a little bit unsure whether we’ll have any impact at all but at least we’re informing them of what we’re doing and the value of dairy here in the Alpine Valleys, and the opportunities to grow,” Mr Crosthwaite, who operates a dairy farm at Kergunyah, said.

“I think one of the opportunities of going up there is not being negative but being positive about the future.

“The agricultural sector has been inundated with negative stuff over the last little while, particularly dairy, but we’re talking about growing and helping put some things in place to grow it.”

The Alpine Valleys Dairy Pathways Project goal is to double its dairy production within two decades.

The project has worked closely with regional schools to help make farming a viable career choice and has also developed a successful program to assist farm succession planning.

Mr Crosthwaite will be joined by dairy farmers Karen Moroney, Scott McKillop, Pat Glass, industry consultant Patten Bridge and Towong Shire mayor David Wortmann.

Ms McGowan believed the progressive pathways project was a success story which could easily be adopted to benefit other regions.

“They are talking about some very practical things,” she said.

“The National Party has set up an education review so they are going to be talking about education and the close relationships they’ve got with schools in the area.

“Here in the Alpine Valleys we’ve got plans and skills and the people who’ve got the leadership to speak up for themselves. 

“They’re doing it in partnership with everybody.

“They’re also really keen to talk to the government about farm succession planning.”

The visit came from a community meeting in Tangambalanga last month attended by about 100 dairy farmers and industry workers.

The Farrer Food Fair was set up by Member for Farrer Sussan Ley to highlight the region’s irrigated agriculture which produced rice, grapes, cotton, cereals, wool, fat lambs and cattle as well as dairy.

“This is an opportunity to showcase food and wine produce from across the Farrer region – to the Parliament of Australia,” Ms Ley posted on social media.