First dairy advocate for NSW

Ian Zandstra has been appointed the first fresh milk and dairy advocate for NSW

News
The NSW Government has followed through on one of its key election commitments, appointing the state's very first fresh milk and dairy advocate Ian Zandstra.

The NSW Government has followed through on one of its key election commitments, appointing the state's very first fresh milk and dairy advocate Ian Zandstra.

Aa

The NSW Government has followed through on one of its key election commitments, appointing the state's very first fresh milk and dairy advocate Ian Zandstra.

Aa

Establishing a dairy action plan is a key priority for the state's first fresh milk and dairy advocate Ian Zandstra.

To do this Mr Zandstra wants to get together all parts of the supply chain from the farmers to processors and retailers to the discuss what that plan will look like.

Mr Zandstra, who has 37 years experience in the industry both as a dairy farmer and industry leader, put his hand up for the job because he has in-depth knowledge on both sides of the farm-gate.

"I never stop thinking dairy and that's the most valuable part to be able to understand and articulate the farmer's situation," Mr Zandstra said.

As a dairy farmer, Mr Zandstra has experienced the full spectrum of dairy; starting from scratch, struggling with regulation constraints, high interest rates, moving, shutting down, restarting and growing.

"I know that dairying is based on a few main things; hard work and understanding the economics of it all," he said.

Based at Nowra on the state's South Coast, Mr Zandstra comes from a long-line of Dutch dairy farmers and purchased his own farm after a career outside the industry.

Mr Zandstra now has two dairies, one at Nowra which he operates in partnership with a share-farmer milking up to 900 cows and a 350-cow dairy in Victoria leased to a young farmer.

With an extensive board resume, he first cut his teeth in governance at Nowra Dairy Co-operative, which became the merged Shoalhaven Dairy Co-operative.

Mr Zandstra has also been a director of the Dairy Farmers Co-operative board from 1998 to 2004, the chairman of the Dairy Farmers Milk Cooperative from 2004 to 2013 and now sits on the NSW Farmers' dairy committee.

His board experience has involved the mergers of co-operatives, the operational performance of these processor businesses, marketing and branding as well as heading up interaction with governments and supply chain.

"In my role I want to listen to farmers, be well back-grounded of their situation and use the resources of the NSW Government and Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to position farmers as best we can," he said.

Mr Zandstra's appointment was one of the key election commitments of the NSW Government to help provide a united voice for industry, deliver clear advice to government and help drive profitability across the entire industry supply chain.

The advocate, who will be independent from government, will be supported by an industry advisory committee, which will be established in consultation with industry.

The NSW Government has been in discussions with the Commonwealth Government to ensure the role of the advocate will be aligned with the work of the ACCC Specialist and the Federal Consultative Committee.

Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said Mr Zandstra had a wealth of experience, was highly regarded across industry and was in a wonderful position to hit the ground running for this important role.

"The advocate will champion dairy in NSW by providing advice to both government and industry on how we can better support our producers across the entire supply chain," Mr Marshall said.

"There's no doubt the NSW dairy industry has faced some serious challenges in recent years but I'm confident this role will provide the support our producers need and help ensure NSW remains a fresh milk state."

Reaction

NSW Farmers' dairy committee chair Colin Thompson echoed Mr Marshall's sentiments saying Mr Zandstra's wealth of experience throughout the dairy supply chain made him the ideal advocate as he has over 35 years experience and was highly respected throughout the dairy industry.

"He knows and understands the dynamics of the dairy industry, how it has changed and the opportunities for the future," Mr Thompson said.

"The appointment of the advocate is critical for the NSW dairy industry. They will pay a key role in working with industry to identify the changes needed to create a strong and profitable industry.

Mr Thompson said the fundamental problems facing the dairy industry, like the inequities along the supply chain and the irrational prices for dairy products needed to be addressed.



Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by