Rural | Better times on horizon for industry

GLASS HALF FULL: While there are some challenges ahead in 2020, the industry can look forward to some good as well.

GLASS HALF FULL: While there are some challenges ahead in 2020, the industry can look forward to some good as well.

While the year ahead for both the QDO and Queensland dairy farmers looks challenging there are also some very real positives with good potential in the not-too-distant future.

Last year for instance many were still saying $1 milk was here to stay.

But QDO led the way, finally achieving after what was an eight-year battle, an end to this unsustainable price discounting.

Key in achieving this was talking to consumers who like our product and want it to be here long-term.

Likewise, over the next 12 months QDO along with our NSW counterparts will need to lead on achieving at least $1.50 per litre for generic supermarket discount milk.

A more sustainable return needs to be achieved out of the domestic market whether for fresh product such as liquid milk or for the great array of manufactured dairy products, particularly cheese.

While the year ahead for both the QDO and Queensland dairy farmers looks challenging there are also some very real positives with good potential in the not too distant future.

Clearly though what happens in regard the drought will be a critical issue in deciding how much milk we produce and how many dairy farms we retain over the coming year.

But processors and retailers need to respond also.

It will be critical that the new Federal Industry Code of Conduct is not only in place from January 1, but effective in delivering a fair outcome for the nation's and particularly Queensland's dairy farmers.

There will also be some serious decisions to be made regarding process and outcomes of the National Dairy Plan.

Dairy farmers spoke loudly in the farmer consultations that set up the beginning of the plan process.

They indicated they want a serious restructure to create a single, farmer-controlled organisation delivering both advocacy and industry services at the national level that state and regional organisation can work with to deliver greater outcomes at farm level.

It's going to be another busy year for QDO but we are charged up and ready to take on the challenges ahead.