DFMC’s Ward Representative Advisory Council (WRAC) met in June to discuss key issues and share regional updates. 

The WRAC is a consultative panel, currently made up of twelve DFMC members. They act as a sounding board to help drive the co-operative forward.

Among their duties, they meet at workshops twice a year to consider issues on policy and strategy presented to them by the DFMC Board. Additionally, they consult with the Board on regional issues and ideas from members throughout the year.

This two-way, consultative approach underscores a key foundation of the co-operative.

The mid-year workshop was held in late June in Brisbane with Directors joining the WRAC for two busy half day sessions starting with a regional updates with each being asked to address key issues such as the seasonal outlook, current farm input prices (i.e. grain, electricity, water, fertiliser and labour prices), major constraints their region is facing that limits on-farm investment, and competitor activity. Given the diversity of each of the regions there were fascinating insights for all.

The WRAC then had a session together to bring together issues they would like to raise with the Directors. Communication and Board composition as well as WRAC involvement in the AGM were raised. The chair of each of the Board committees then gave updates on key issues addressed at Board level in recent months. Andrew Burnett, chair of the pricing and policy committee, sought WRAC feedback on a few milk policy changes that are being discussed with Lion and reminded participants of changes previously agreed for implementation in the 2017/18 season.

All major elements, together with pricing, will be covered in the mid-year supplier meetings that have commenced with South Australia and Far North Queensland meetings already held.

The night sandwiched between the two half day sessions started with teams competing in lawn bowls and then a BBQ dinner at The Boo, a historic local bowls club.

A very enlightening and thought provoking final session presented by Sarah Green from the NSW Rural Adversity Mental Health Program had everyone very engaged.