COLAC district dairy farmer Andrew Beale says he wants to improve his lobbying and presentation skills as part of a national leadership program.
The Cororooke farmer is one of eight people from the Bonlac Supply Company and Fonterra to take part in the year-long program.
“It’ll help me with interacting with those further up the command chain to get things for the community – teaching me about lobbying and presenting an idea and encouraging people to come on board with my ideas,” Mr Beale said.
“In the community I’m involved obviously with the theatre, and I just thought it would help develop my leadership skills, help my general presentation, that doesn’t mean I’ll have a shave or anything,” he said.
Mr Beale and his family milk 600 cows across three properties in the Cororooke area and he also founded the Red Rock Regional Theatre and Gallery.
He said the dairy industry would not survive without strong communities.
“Obviously the dairy industry is largely run by the country regional communities, it’s an industry that relies on people,” Mr Beale said.
“So the people in the community require more than just the dairy skills, they require interaction with each other, they have needs outside of their work, and if those needs aren’t filled, it doesn’t make for a healthy community,” he said.
Mr Beale spent five days at Warragul in Gippsland in January as an introduction to the course.
“The next session is in Melbourne, and that’s going to really get down to a lot of theory, study and homework, based around lobbying, based around presenting an idea, and taking that idea, putting into a format that can be presented to government maybe or just the local community,” he said.
“The final days of the course involve a week in Canberra where we will be presenting our ideas or policy objectives to someone in Canberra.”
Fonterra Australia director of ingredients and operations Bruce Donnison said the leadership program was “an important step in creating dairy leaders of today”.
“The Australian dairy industry faces a critical skills shortage,” Mr Donnison said.
“If we are to truly become part of the food bowl to Asia, we must increase capability in the sector,” he said.