The stars have aligned for the south-west dairy industry, according to Cowleys Creek farmer Matt Grant who was recently named the Great South West Young Dairy Leader.
Matt, 38, said the milk price was good, feed prices had come back down, and the seasonal conditions were excellent. He said the trifecta meant the industry was primed for young people who wanted to work hard and enjoy a lifestyle he and many others cherish.
“It’s rare to have the milk price, the feed price and now the season all file in together for us. With COVID-19 it has been head down, bum up like always and we’re really lucky that we haven’t been directly impacted, so things are really positive at the moment,” he said.
“We are getting rewarded for the work we are putting in. This October rain we are getting will delay harvest a bit, but it sets us up for good yields…it’s just a matter of when we can get on it.
“The hay sheds were already looking pretty good, because last year was a good harvest so we’re going into this harvest well ahead.
“Winter was pretty good to us as well, so we were already ahead of the curve. Now, with the rain, we’ll have a longer tail end of the season.
“Traditionally doing hay around Christmas functions was normal…if we can get to that period before feeding out that would be great. I’ll take the rain now anytime.”
Matt milks 430 cows at Cowleys Creek and said winning the Young Dairy Leader Award at the recent Great South West Dairy Award was a feather in his cap. The award was part-sponsored by the DemoDAIRY Foundation. Matt also received a $2500 grant from the DemoDAIRY Foundation to further improve his dairy business.
“I’ve been pretty lucky to have good mentors and people give me guidance and help along the way. It’s helped me get where I am and I really enjoy being able to give that back to some young up-and-comers where I can,” he said.
“I think it’s great that our industry likes to share information and techniques and help everyone do a better job – it’s a great thing and very unique to our industry.
“Years ago I got involved heavily in industry organisations and I probably burnt out a bit, so I stepped back for a while and just focused on what was happening on my side of the farm gate.
“In the past few years I’ve taken a greater interest in the direction of our industry, becoming actively involved with discussion groups, YDN, industry meetings, the UDV and I recently joined the Fonterra Australia Suppliers Council.
“I was pretty chuffed to receive this year’s Young Dairy Leader Award.”
The DemoDAIRY Foundation offers a range of grants and scholarships.
HOW DO I APPLY
Existing grants include;
- Business management skill development: Scholarships of $2500 to $5000 per year to agreed courses. Dairy business management projects: Grants of $1000 to $2000 to create awareness in appropriate education organisations and assess proposed projects.
- Innovation grants: Up to $5000: Offered through the contracted service providers (currently Agriculture Victoria, WestVic Dairy and some dairy companies) to the groups.
- Capacity development grants: Grants of $2000 to $5000 to screened candidates.
- Emerging issues grants: Short proposals developed with relevant industry stakeholders and reviewed by the DemoDAIRY Foundation board.
- Powell Legacy Fund: Up to $3000 annually for up to three years across the areas of education, agriculture and volunteering.
Applications can be completed online here www.demodairy.com.au/scholarships-and-grants/application/
DemoDAIRY Foundation secretary Ian Teese can be contacted directly on 0427 358 987 or email him via firstname.lastname@example.org