Archive for Dairy fund

SA Dairy Fund announces first projects

Two projects designed to help attract crucial outside investment in the State’s dairy industry are among the first to be funded by proceeds from the sale of SADA Fresh. The new South Australian Dairy Industry Fund is providing a total of almost $60,000 to four projects this year in its first round of funding.

“This is a landmark day for the State’s dairy industry and its communities,” Fund chair Dennis Mutton said before announcing the recipients at a seminar in Mount Gambier today.

“The South Australian Dairyfarmers’ Association (SADA) attracted national attention when it took the innovative step of creating its own milk label just 18 months ago. Their vision was to take the initiative and raise money that could be harnessed to create a better future for dairy farmers who were struggling to survive because of some tough seasons, increasing costs and low prices for their milk.

“Thanks to that vision and the overwhelming support of South Australian consumers, we are now in a position to finance our first projects which we believe have the potential to make a genuine difference to the industry as a whole.”

Mr Mutton said an obvious starting point for the Fund was exploring ways to make the South Australian dairy industry more attractive to global and national investors.

“We need this investment to not only expand our farms and the number of cows being milked, but to build the processing sector and open up new markets for premium products, that will in turn offer farmers more security and lead to them being paid more for their milk,” he said.

“We know there is enormous investor interest generally in the Australian dairy industry, especially given the Free Trade Agreement with China and growing consumer demand in Asia. SADA Fresh has started exporting milk to China and the Midfield Group has announced plans to open a new processing plant near Penola, but we have some work to do if we want to turn more opportunities into reality here in South Australia,” he said. “Two of the projects we are supporting will give us some of the tools we need to unlock that potential.”

In the first project, the Fund is providing $17,600 to develop a document that will give investors key information about the industry in SA and what it has to offer. It is being prepared by leading Melbourne-based dairy industry analyst and adviser Stephen Spencer, with input from the South Australian Dairyfarmers Association, Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA), the Dairy Authority of SA and DairySA.

“We need something we can put on the table upfront to help secure investors’ attention – a value proposition that takes their interest to the next level. This document will give them the initial information they need to see that it is worth taking a harder look,” Mr Mutton said.

The Fund is also providing up to $3300 towards the cost of staging today’s South East Dairy Investment Seminar, which is exploring alternative sources of finance to help dairy farmers expand their operations, and to increase their appeal to potential investors. The forum is being organised by PIRSA in association with SADA and the ANZ Bank.

Another $22,000 has been awarded to a project exploring the benefits of variable rate irrigation technology, which is already used in horticulture but yet to be taken up by South Australian dairy farmers. The project is being funded because of its significant potential to reduce water and energy use and improve production, benefiting both farmers and the environment. Due to be completed by December, it is being co-funded by DairySA, the SA Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and Natural Resources South East.

The final project is an intensive three-day program designed to improve the skills and resilience of young South Australian dairy farmers so they are better able to contribute to building successful farm businesses. Organised by DairySA, the project has been given $16,500 because of its potential to develop the next generation of farmers and help secure the future viability of the dairy industry in this State.


New dairy fund announces first call for projects

The new South Australian Dairy Industry Fund today (Wednesday, December 10) announced its first call for applications from projects that will benefit the State’s dairy industry.
Applicants have until February 16 2015 to submit concept proposals to the fund, which has been established with proceeds from the sale of SADA Fresh.
“We are greatly looking forward to receiving innovative proposals that offer some exciting opportunities to reinvigorate an industry that’s been vitally important to the State and its economy for generations,” said Fund chair Dennis Mutton.
“Our overarching purpose is to finance projects that directly benefit the South Australian dairy industry and its communities. We are interested in concepts that will improve the productivity, performance, business growth and diversity of the industry,” Mr Mutton said.
“We are particularly keen to receive applications that focus on supporting and encouraging local investment and value-adding, both in terms of new products and opening up new markets here in Australia and overseas. Projects that improve the capacity and resilience of dairy communities to manage change and volatility are also of interest.”
Mr Mutton said the fund board was open to receiving proposals from diverse sectors with a keen interest in adding value to the industry, including research and extension organisations, individuals, private companies, dairy processors and boutique manufacturers, farmer and community groups.
In the first stage of the process, applicants are being asked to provide a brief outline of their concept as an expression of interest. The Fund Board will assess the applications and finalise a short list in early March 2015. Short-listed projects will then be invited to submit more detailed information before funding allocations are decided and announced in April 2015.
The fund will accept proposals for projects seeking up to $20,000 each. The amount available to individual projects is likely to increase in future calls, as revenues from the sale of SADA Fresh accumulate.

Mutton to chair new industry fund

SA dairy industry fund chair Dennis MuttonA well known figure in South Australian agriculture with vast experience in the research and development sector has been appointed inaugural chair of the new fund being established to help secure the future viability of the State’s dairy industry. Mr Dennis Mutton (pictured left) will lead a small board selected for its specialist expertise to manage profits generated by the sale of SADA Fresh.

Announcing the appointment today, SADA President David Basham said the organisation was extremely pleased Mr Mutton had agreed to take on chairing the fund during its crucial set-up phase. A former chief executive of South Australia’s primary industries department, Mr Mutton is Chair of the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork and BioInnovation SA, and a member of the Premier’s Science and Industry Council.

“We could not think of a better person to lead it, and we feel very honoured that he has offered to waive sitting fees as part of his contribution to what he sees as an exciting and ground-breaking initiative,” Mr Basham said.

Mr Mutton said he agreed to become involved with the fund because he was impressed by the concept and its potential to make a genuine difference to the South Australian dairy industry. “This is an industry association showing significant initiative and leadership. SADA Fresh provides the opportunity to demonstrate that by working collectively farmers can secure a more viable future. They are not sitting back and saying ‘woe is us’; they are doing something pro-active to generate opportunities and a return on investment,” he said.

Mr Mutton’s brief is to make sure the fund is invested in a way that maximises returns to the local dairy industry. Over the coming months this will involve helping to develop clear guidelines and protocols for the allocation process, including identifying research and development priorities, and criteria for selecting projects.

SADA’s intends to appoint other board members over the coming weeks. Legal and financial arrangements for the fund will be formalised by the start of the new financial year, with enough money likely to be in hand to call for project applications before the brand celebrates its first anniversary.