14 October 2021

Blazing New Paths for Better Farming Practices

An award-winning project has helped the industry better understand what tools and resources farmers need to support good, on-farm environmental practices.

The Growth Drivers, together with Dairy Australia, collaborated with dairy farmers across the country to better understand what tools and resources are required to support positive on-farm environmental practices.

The project has been awarded an Australian Good Design Award for their collaboration, showcasing its success in developing tools for environmentally friendly dairy farms.

As climate change leads to warmer, drier weather and more frequent drought, Dairy Australia recognised that dairy farmers need to be equipped and supported to change their practices and get more from existing resources.

“We wanted some processes that would allow us to gather the insights directly from dairy farmers themselves,” — Dairy Australia Energy and Climate Lead Alison Kelly

“From a Dairy Australia point of view, we're not operating alone in this space, so we really needed to use this process to get a minimal viable product for us to actually make a difference.”

This was achieved by recognising that each dairy farmer is on their own pathway to good on-farm environmental practices. Farmers determine what they need by looking at their current capabilities, opportunities, motivators, and business context to find solutions that work for them.

“There is increasing pressure from government and consumers for farmers to provide evidence for their ongoing farm management and its contribution to biodiversity and the overall improvement of the natural environment,” — The Growth Drivers Project Manager Kyle Kessler

With significant investment into researching and developing environmental practices, the project identified what farmers really find valuable in these tools and resources and what they need in the future to support their own goals.

The project blended user-centred design and behaviour change to support farmers with three bespoke programs that allow them to engage meaningfully with Dairy Australia and strengthen their on-farm environmental practices.

The Growth Drivers provided Dairy Australia with a full picture of the industry and how they can best engage with different farmer types to deliver environmental programs that are impactful, valuable to farmers and financially sustainable into the future.

The key contribution of this project is delivering tools and resources that farmers will use to improve their practices, because they can see how their needs will be met.

Tools developed through the project, such as EnviroTracker and the Enlight Environmental Learning and Development courses, to be delivered in 2022, are tailored to provide dairy farmers opportunities to improve their environmental practices in practical ways.

“It's engaging parts of the business that aren't necessarily across the environment either, so I think that's also something that's been helpful,” Alison added.

“It gives you something that would be exportable and sensible to a supplier, or bank, or whoever, to demonstrate environmental improvement on farms.”

See the Good Design Awards information at https://good-design.org/projects/dairy-australia-elevating-environmental-practices-on-dairy-farms/

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