THERE would be few in the Australian dairy industry who have not been impacted by the work of local dairy farmer, Allan Burgess.
Former Australian Dairy Farmers president, Allan has long been well known as a fierce advocate for farmers, leading the industry through some of its most formative decisions and he was recently honoured with the 2017 Pat Rowley Award for Outstanding Service.
Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) chair, Terry Richardson said the award was a fitting tribute to what has been a stellar career in dairy.
“This is a real celebration of Allan’s contribution. There would be few others who have worked so tirelessly, and had such a significant impact, on the long-term success of their industry,” Mr Richardson said.
“For 30 years Allan led the dairy industry to understand that we can largely create our own future. He was an architect driven by strong ideas and a collaborative spirit.
“Whether it’s been leading the way at a local level or tackling the complex task of building some of the industry’s foundation organisations, Allan has consistently led from the front. His selection for this year’s award was an easy one for the ADIC Board,” Mr Richardson said.
Mr Burgess first became involved in his local United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV) District Council in the early 1980s.
A believer in the ‘power of like minds with a joint vision,’ over the following three decades Allan has held numerous positions of leadership including deputy president of the UDV, board member of Australian Dairy Farmers Federation, and president of Australian Dairy Farmers.
“Through his relationships he was able to leverage millions of dollars from State and Federal Governments to support the industry and many of the major initiatives of the industry over the last 30 years have been underpinned by the work of Allan,” Mr Richardson said.
His commitment to establishing strong research and development structures to support industry growth, meant Mr Burgess was involved in the formation of Dairy Australia and the Dairy Cooperative Research Centre. He was also a key player in the establishment of the Regional Development Program network.
With the betterment of farmers always a priority, Mr Burgess recognised the importance of educational opportunities and was a driver in the establishment of the National Centre for Dairy Education. His strong lobbying of the Commonwealth Government also secured assistance for dairy farmers in a number of challenging times throughout the 2000s.
In his time as president of ADF, Mr Burgess played an instrumental part in trade negotiations, particularly the three-fold increase in the amount of Australian dairy able to be sold to the United States achieved in the US Free Trade Agreement.
“On behalf of the entire dairy supply chain, the ADIC congratulates Mr Burgess on his remarkable contribution, pay tribute to his efforts, and wish him every success,” Mr Richardson said.