United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV) today has announced an election for the role of UDV vice president.

The nominees for the role are Corangamite dairy farmer, Ian Morris and Colac dairy farmer, Mark Billing.

Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) CEO and returning officer Jane Lovell said by voting, people can have their say on who is appointed to this key role within UDV.

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“The UDV vice president helps to shape the future of the Victorian dairy industry,” Ms Lovell said.

“I would encourage all eligible UDV members to vote.

“The VFF will be hosting an online UDV vice president candidate forum on Monday, May 10 at 12pm to allow members to hear from and put questions to both candidates before voting.”

The VFF is encouraging prospective members to join and existing UDV members to ensure their membership details are correct to enable them to participate in the election.

About Ian Morris

Mr Morris became secretary of the Corangamite UDV Branch at the urging of membership concerned about the key problems emerging from the Dairy Plan process.

After an international career as a development economist, and now a dairy farmer, it was felt he could bring a unique set of skills to bear on dairy policy and advocacy.

Mr Morris’ professional experience means he has a sound understanding of how governments work and develop policies.

Specifically, he has extensive experience in framing policy, advocacy and economic policy questions buttressed by evidence and engaging governments.

As a dairy farmer he has a deep understanding of how government policies can have a profound effect on farming, on the costs of producing milk and thus farm profitability.

“I believe the historic advocacy response of UDV/VFF to issues such as effluent as industrial waste; quad bike standards and safety and access to river frontage has been both inadequate and has been very late in consulting with membership (if at all). This has to change,” Mr Morris said in his nomination statement.

“I believe branch membership must drive this and insist on accountability from our leadership.

“Further, in this complex interrelated world, governments need good quality advocacy and stakeholder engagement to inform policy making – without it we get poorly thought-out policy.

“This all too often has serious detrimental effects for farmers which could have been avoided and can seriously affect farm operations.

“I have a passionate commitment to ensuring quality advocacy that is buttressed by a sound evidenced base. To this end I challenged aspects of the Dairy Plan on targets, and the economics of the dairy industry.”

About Mark Billing

Mr Billing has been involved with the UDV as a member for more than 35 years, he is the policy councillor for region eight and sits on the UDV executive committee.

“Dairy farming in Victoria has always been an industry with challenges, however, it has proved time and again that it is a hugely successful one,” Mr Billing said.

“Through adoption, adaption passion and persistence, our industry has shown that dairy farmers are some of the strongest and most resilient operators in agriculture.”

Mr Billing sees his role within the UDV as one that champions the cause of the dairy farmer and to challenge the status quo.

“I truly believe that it is only by having farmer representation at policy levels and above that our proud industry will prosper into the future,” he said.

“UDV must be the strongest and loudest voice for Victorian dairy with strong connections back to its members.

“My vision for the UDV is one that provides a platform for all members to provide input into how the Victorian dairy industry should be positioned in the future.”

Voting and registration

If you have difficulty voting, are interested in signing up as a member or would like to update your membership or contact details, please call the team on 1300 882 833.

Voting closes COB Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

The UDV vice president election results will be announced at the 2021 UDV annual meeting and conference at ZINC Federation Square, Melbourne on Friday, May 28, 2021.

Registrations for the upcoming candidate forum can be accessed online by clicking HERE.

RSVPs for the UDV conference can be made on the VFF WEBSITE.

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