WestVic Dairy Board
WestVic Dairy is run by a Board of Directors, made up of six farmers and two industry service providers who meet eight times per year.
The role of the Board is to ensure that levies collected from the region's dairy farmers are directed to regionally relevant research, development and extension. It then makes the results of this research easily accessible to local dairy farmers with the intent to increase profitability and sustainability of the western Victorian dairy industry.
Simone joined the industry with her husband Nick, after meeting at university 21 years ago, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology).
Simone participates in a number of industry bodies, including Dairy Australia and Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF). Across her career, both on and off-farm, Simone has focused on people performance.
On-farm, Simone has a series of roles, from business structure decision making to young herd management, people and performance.
Rhonda is an agribusiness banker, who has worked in banking for 44 years, the last 10 of which have focused on dairying.
Based in Warrnambool for all her working life, Rhonda is passionate about the region and its farmers. Throughout her career, Rhonda has had a number of customer service, lending and administration roles.
One of the main reasons Rhonda joined the WestVic Dairy Board was to give back to the industry and help do her bit to creating a sustainable and profitable dairy industry.
Vice Chair Farmer Director
Jacqueline is a Larpent dairy farmer who has been involved in the industry for more than 40 years alongside her husband, a fourth generation dairy farmer. The family milk 170 cows on approximately 130 hectares.
Whilst working off-farm throughout her career, Jacqueline's connection with the industry has always been strong. After retiring as chief executive of a community service organisation, Jacqueline realised she wanted to do something to stay active and give back to the community, and joined the WestVic Dairy Board.
With the industry in a state of constant change, Jacqueline's goal is to help farmers better manage their businesses in order to adjust to the changes.
Matthew works on his family’s dairy farm, Dixie Park Farm Trust, which milks approximately 500 cows on 280ha. Matthew graduated with a Bachelor of Business Agricultural Management and over the years has been involved in numerous discussion groups across the district.
Working at Warrnambool Cheese & Butter and Reid Stock Feeds has given Matthew an understanding of the industry from both the service provider and farmer perspective. He said he was hoping to bring a young perspective to the Board and to improve the engagement with young people in the industry.
Brendan has been farming on a multi-generational family farm in the Allansford area for the past 38 years. He is confident about the future of the industry but says it is not without challenges.
Brendan believes communication at a local level is vital to the industry’s success.
He wants to ensure a good delivery of the knowledge and advice that Dairy Australia generates through their research funded by levies.
Mike grew up on a dairy farm in Queensland and now works at Genetics Australia as a field sales manager. He has worked in the AI industry for 22 years after studying agribusiness at the University of Queensland.
Mike believes the dairy industry is at a turning point and he is keen to be part of its reinvigoration.
He wants to collaboratively support farmers and those in the broader industry to improve their productivity and profitability.
Jo wants to be an advocate for women in dairy and to encourage more young people into the industry.
Jo farms at Purnim West after moving from New Zealand 10 years ago. She also determined to promote a positive path for young people entering the industry.
Jo was previously in the New Zealand navy and worked in other professions, including disability support.
After years working as a civil engineer on high rise building sites in Melbourne, Daniel returned to the family dairy business five years ago. The Parkinson family farm is located at Kirkstall and covers 2,400 hectares with 2,550 cows being milked through three dairies.
Daniel believes there are many opportunities available to young people in the industry, with multiple pathways available. He believes the industry needs capable, skilled people and WestVic Dairy has a role to play in that with the workshops and courses that it runs, as well as the information and resources that it provides.
Associate Farmer Director
Brad and wife Tammy run their family farm on 155ha at Dixie, south of Terang.
For Brad, joining the Board is an opportunity to help promote the industry and challenge the often negative narrative.
He says dairy farmers produce some of the best food available, which the industry should be proud of and promote itself for.