DemoDAIRY Foundation Mission
“To support existing dairy industry and training organisations and individuals improve the leadership and dairy farm business management capacity of dairy farm managers and owners making use of innovative learning approaches and evolving new technologies. These will contribute to a sustained improvement in farm profitability and farmer lifestyles.”
About the Foundation
The DemoDAIRY Foundation (DDF) has been established as a company limited by guarantee using the residual funds from the winding-up of the DemoDAIRY Co-operative Ltd. It is a registered charity.
The Company is established as a charity with the purpose of advancing the dairy industry in South Western Victoria by:
- Promoting the development of dairy resources in South-West Victoria;
- Funding tertiary training in dairy-related sciences in the form of grants, scholarships or fellowships;
- Making grants or donations to individuals, not being related to directors or members of the Company, for education or research relating to dairy sciences.
A voluntary board of five members manages the funds on behalf of the Foundation. Current members are listed under the contact section. The Board meets 3-4 times per year.
The Board wishes to bring new board members into the operations of the fund so two board positions will become available through retirement each year for new members. Dairy industry stakeholders with a good understanding of the Western District dairy industry and/or industry training/education sector are encouraged to approach the Foundation Secretary for more details.
The Foundation acknowledges the significant contributions already being made to developing dairy farm worker, manager and owner capacity through regional dairy industry groups (WestVic Dairy), Agriculture Victoria, vocational education (VocEd) providers (South West TAFE, RIST, Longerenong College and other providers), higher education providers (Deakin University, Melbourne University and the Marcus Oldham College) and dairy industry service providers.
The Foundation wishes to complement and, where possible, leverage additional external funding for these organisations to deliver services to upgrade and encourage wider adoption by regional dairy farmers of improved dairy business management approaches and tools.
Initial research indicates there is a range of Industry and more general agriculture focused government and foundation funding available which can be leveraged and already address specific dairy technical issues.
- Complementing existing funding sources and leveraging funding from current donors and dairy industry service providers. If the focus is on dairy farm business management, there may be opportunities to attract co-funding from financial sector service providers.
- Making use of existing processes for identifying and screening potential grantees. Awards can be linked to academic performance and /or funding constraints or to other Industry award activities
- Innovation Focus: For the non-education grants, a priority is to support demonstration of new extension / technology adoption approaches and innovative use of technology such as electronic data capture, use of imaging and creation of feedback loops to facilitate immediate on-farm management adjustments.
- Simple application processes. The Foundation will use simple application processes based on templates with some pro-bono support for more complex proposals requiring several stakeholders.
- Reporting Back to dairy farmers: In all cases, award grantees would be expected to provide feedback to appropriate industry forums. This could be a short presentation at an Industry workshop or field day, an on-farm field day or assisting production of an extension-oriented information note. The Foundation would support award winners in this activity.
Discussions with Industry stakeholders have indicated that there are opportunities in several areas of industry management capacity building.
- Business management skill development. Assist dairy farm workers who have developed their basic dairy technical skills and are working toward a long-term dairy industry career or business commitment. The grants will target those with limited resources to continue to Certificate 4, diploma or degree levels to develop their dairy business management knowledge and skills. The grants could cover fees and/or incremental course costs. Some of these grants may be targeted to developing future business management service providers (banking, business consulting, etc.) at diploma and graduate levels.
- Dairy business management projects. Encourage enterprising students in relevant diploma and degrees to undertake dairy business-related projects or dissertations required for their courses. The funds could be used to cover specialised research inputs or cash incremental costs of data collection.
- Innovation grants to existing dairy farmer groups (discussion groups, focus farms) to support on-farm action research or documentation / evaluation of existing innovations in priority areas of dairy farm management. These grants could be used to purchase specialised inputs, pay for collection and/or analysis of data needed to assess the innovation and document the innovations, and / or fund field day costs and wider dissemination of the action research findings.
- Capacity development grants for individual dairy businesses that have been identified as being innovative and/or providing good examples of sustainable dairy business management. These businesses could be identified through the WVD Dairy Industry Awards program, the Graeme Hall Awards run by the Simpson Lions Club and through direct calls for proposals by the Foundation.
The winners and runners-up in the different categories for each award grouping would be offered the opportunity to submit a simple proposal for a grant. The grants could cover cash travel costs, incremental investment costs, course / conference fees for specialist activities, etc.
- Emerging issues grants. An option would be available for the Foundation to fund short-term support to research / assistance for priority dairy industry issues that are identified outside the normal twice-yearly funding cycle for the first four groups of grants.
The funds needed should be less than 25 % of normal annual funding commitments and the application would need to show support from a range of Industry stakeholders.
At the end of May 2019, the DemoDAIRY Foundation has $840,000 in investments in interest-bearing deposits.
The Board has decided that the Foundation will be a closed-end fund with a life of 10-15 years, depending on the demand for grants and scholarships and quality of proposals. After deducting statutory administration costs, this should allow potentially $70,000 to $80,000 to be allocated annually in scholarships and grants.