Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists


The Future of Australia's Dairy Industry

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Following on from the highly rated 'Skimming the Cream' forum in Brisbane on the 9th of February, members of the Young Dairy Network and SubTropical Dairy groups reconvened to consider the impacts of Climate Change on the dairy sector in Australia using the high-impact 'Accelerated Scenarios process'. The '2030 Dairy Scenarios' brought together the members of the YDN and SubTropical groups using the core issues raised by the almost 100 farmers and industry representatives at the Skimming the Cream forum to consider what changes might emerge in the sector in coming years.

More importantly, the dairy industry representatives building the scenarios were tasked to not only consider what the future might look like given a whole range of competing demands, they also had to generate some key strategic initiatives open to the industry as it adapts to change.

Process facilitator, Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber stated from the outset that '...the purpose of exploring the potential futures in more detail and with greater depth is so that we can identify what actions we can take to both mitigate our risks and capture opportunities we can see in the Dairy Industry.  Generating these scenarios is tied explicitly to a series of pragmatic 'robust' actions that can be undertaken on farms across Australia'.

From over 120 concerns and issues raised at the 'Skimming the Cream' forum, members at the two day scenario workshop selected a dozen or so key issues, with two core issues identified: The degree of industry regulation emerging from Government attention to Climate Change; and the level of consumer engagement with traditional dairy products.

These two core 'drivers of change' enabled the groups to create four connected though differing views of a potential future dairying landscapes: 'a world in which there is high government regulation with high consumer engagement with dairy products; a world in which there is minimal government regulation with low consumer engagement with dairy products; a world in which there is high government regulation with low consumer engagement with dairy products; and a world in which there was low government regulation with high engagement with dairy products.

These four 'potential futures' provided the opportunity for farmers and industry people to answer the question 'If this was 'your lot' in life as a dairy farmer, what actions would be available to you in order for you to 'succeed' at some level?'  The four scenarios and various actions provided some great insights into both the emerging challenges within the industry as well as the options for action available to various parts of the sector.

The results of the scenarios are being rolled out across dairy farming communities from the mid coast of NSW to the upper reaches of QLD.  For further information contact Viv McCollum, program coordinator.

For questions related to the Accelerated Scenarios process, contact Marcus Barber

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