The proposal has already garnered strong support from both dairy and philanthropic organisations. Extra funding is now being sought for the development from a variety of potential project partners. It is expected to cost $2.5 million. DemoDAIRY Chairperson Bryan Dickson said the proposed facility would showcase and demonstrate best practice and be a pivotal development for the advancement and promotion of the local dairy industry. Mr Dickson said DemoDAIRY’s existing dairy extension facility was lagging behind industry standards and a new centre was needed as a matter of urgency.
It will highlight sustainable environmental management, animal welfare, automation, quality assurance and employee safety. Mr Dickson said the planned centre fits DemoDAIRY’s charter for demonstrating best farm practices and would have social, environmental and economic benefits. “With appropriate facilities, DemoDAIRY can play a key role in showcasing the industry, promoting career opportunities and expanding the knowledge base in the region to ensure the dairy industry maintains its status as a significant contributor to the south-west’s economy,” he said.
The plan includes a modern and well equipped training room, opportunities to broadcast live dairy operations on the internet, installation of sustainable design principles to reduce carbon emissions and save water, and demonstration of technology and automation including recycled water-powered backing gates and an auto draft system.
Mr Dickson said the project had already general support across the dairy industry and the region. It is aligned with the Great South Coast Regional Strategic Plan and has support from the Great South Coast Board. The project also aligns with the `Down the Track – Dairy 2020’ plan which seeks to maintain and grow regional capacity to undertake trials and demonstration.
The next step is to establish a project steering committee and preliminary discussions are already underway.
The project has attracted funding from Gardiner Foundation, The William Buckland Foundation and the A.L. Lane Foundation and multiple letters of support. DemoDAIRY is keen to ensure that district community members are more aware of the project and the significance of the development for the region. The activities, projects and tenants based at DemoDAIRY provide a significant contribution to the local economy and the many local businesses that provide services to DemoDAIRY.