The Gardiner Foundation provided three Victorian dairy farmers with the unique opportunity to join the Victorian Agricultural Minister, the Hon Peter Walsh on the Government Food and Beverage Super Trade Mission to China in September.

Dedicated to the future of the dairy industry, the Gardiner Foundation’s Trade Engagement Program invited current and emerging leaders to gain a greater understanding of trade related issues for the Australian export focused dairy industry.

The successful agribusiness professionals were selected by the Gardiner Foundation for their commitment to advocacy and the long-term sustainable future of the Victorian dairy industry.

The Gardiner Foundation selected Roma Britnell, Chair of the Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) Trade Policy Advisory Group, Vice President of the United Dairy Farmers of Victoria (UDV) and Managing Director of a Victorian dairy operation; Adam Jenkins, Councillor on the ADF Trade Policy Advisory Group, Policy Councillor with UDV and first generation Victorian dairy farmer; and William Ryan, Young Agribusiness Professionals committee member and South Gippsland dairy farmer, to represent the farmer delegation in China.

Gardiner Foundation Chief Executive, Mary Harney led the program on behalf of the organisation and said it is dedicated to investing in the agri-political leaders of the future.

“The Government Food and Beverage Super Trade Mission provided the Gardiner Foundation with an opportunity to connect young leaders with our strong international networks and provide a unique and valuable professional development experience. This experience will inform their roles on state and national advocacy bodies and provide greater understanding and support for the Government’s role in trade negotiations.

“Given the export focus of the Victorian dairy industry, we aim to offer emerging dairy leaders exposure to trade engagement in leading market destinations such as China,” said Ms Harney.

During the trade mission, the three delegates from the Gardiner Foundation’s Trade Engagement Program attended events and meetings with the Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, the Hon Peter Walsh as well as meetings with San Yuan, Mengniu, Bright Dairy and New Hope Dairies, in Beijing, Hohhot, Chengdu and Shanghai.

Representative William Ryan said, “The Gardiner Foundation’s Trade Engagement Program is an invaluable opportunity to explore the market opportunities in China.

“Attending the Trade Mission allowed us to gain a greater understanding of the relationship Government aims to foster with export partners and how they facilitate export programs, which was highly beneficial for our professional development,” Mr Ryan said.

The Gardiner Foundation’s Trade Engagement Program commenced on 16 September 2014 and concluded on 28 September 2014.