Strategic Plan 2020-2023


Maximise benefits to all sectors of the Victorian dairy industry and dairy communities.


To support the dairy industry goal of ‘Profitable, Confident and United’, Gardiner funds and promotes RD&E, people and community development, and industry engagement and support activities that will benefit all sectors of the Victorian Dairy Industry and Victorian Dairy Communities.

How we work

  1. Prudent stewardship – funds are managed to best practice standards with a risk managed, long-term investment strategy.
  2. Outcome driven – project investments align with our Purpose and Strategic Plan, are chosen using robust selection processes to deliver high impact.
  3. Collaborate – we work cooperatively with industry organisations, government and stakeholders, co-investing to optimise the impact of investments.
  4. Agility – we are alert and respond quickly to dairy industry and dairy community support needs.
  5. Industry Engagement – we respect the contributions of our stakeholders and value processes and behaviours that provide a sound basis for trust, transparency and the delivery of value consistent with our Purpose.
  6. Strategic Thought Leadership – we facilitate strategic discussions in the dairy industry and its communities to share new knowledge, encourage new ways of thinking and to promote innovation.
  7. Organisational effectiveness and efficiency – we efficiently apply our resources and capability to most effectively achieve our Purpose and Objective.

Our Investment Programs;

To deliver on our Purpose and Objective, Gardiner invests in three key programs.

  1. Research, Development & Extension

The development and application of innovations to improve the profitability, sustainability and growth of Victoria’s dairy industry, with a focus upon a small number of large investments in strategically important priorities.

  1. People and Community Development

Building the capacity and capability of the Victorian dairy industry’s people resources, with a focus on leadership and priority skill development, the strengthening of dairy communities and supporting a positive industry culture.

  1. Industry Engagement and Strategic Support

Wide engagement to support industry connectedness, together with the provision of strategic thought leadership and tactical projects to respond to emerging industry needs and opportunities.

Our strategic direction is reflected in our target investment allocation across our programs:

‘Australian dairy: Profitable, Confident and United’.Australian Dairy Plan, September 2020

The Australian Dairy Plan charts the way forward for the Australian dairy industry to be more profitable, confident and united over the next five years and beyond. The Dairy Plan sets the strategic direction and outlines the specific actions necessary to drive value and productive changes to achieve this objective.

At the core of the plan are five commitments – to deliver on the priority issues that were consistently communicated through industry engagement across the supply chain and from all dairy regions:

  1. Reform industry structures to create a more cohesive dairy industry and strengthen our influence with key stakeholders.
  2. Attract and support new people and investment to build our industry.
  3. Increase our effort in marketing and promotion to build greater levels of trust and improve the value of dairy.
  4. Intensify the focus on farm business skills to improve profitability and better manage risk.
  5. Restore trust and transparency between farmers and processors to strengthen industry confidence.

In addition to the five commitments, the Dairy Plan recognises the crucial contribution of ongoing programs which will continue to ensure sustainable long-term growth of the industry:

  1. Shaping future success through research and innovation.
  2. Industry success through strengthened policy leadership
  3. Creating opportunities through market development
  4. Empowering people through learning and capability development
  5. Transforming dairy through industry-wide leadership and a positive culture
  6. Sustaining the trust and support of the community and consumers (Sustainability Framework)

Gardiner is committed to continuing joint efforts with the other partner organisations that came together to support the development of the Plan (ADF, ADPF and Dairy Australia) to enable the attainment of the Dairy Plan’s goals and success measures, noting however that success relies on all dairy stakeholders taking ownership. We will focus our efforts on those parts of the Dairy Plan where we can add the most value, based on our expertise and experience.


Gardiner’s 2020 – 2023 Strategic Response

To achieve our Purpose and to support the Australian Dairy Plan, Gardiner will prioritise its Investment Programs in the following areas;

Research, Development and Extension

The crucial role of research and innovation in underpinning the success of the dairy industry is widely recognised. Understanding the science of what makes a dairy farm work is fundamentally important in filling key knowledge gaps, and using existing information in different ways to contain cost increases, manage risks, increase milk production and sustain our natural resources.

Gardiner Foundation will continue to invest in research and innovation in partnership with other industry service organisations and government, with an emphasis on research that increases farm profit and reduces the costs of production. We will place an emphasis on major, collaborative investment partnerships that optimise impact such as through the following initiatives;

  • DairyBio – delivering more advanced plant and animal genetics with greater yield, feed quality, heat-tolerance and persistence of pastures and increases in animal performance for production, fertility, heat tolerance and health.
  • DairyFeedbase – delivering better management of agronomy and nutrition, with greater pasture yields and utilisation, improved allocation of feed for dairy herds, and improved nutrition.

Gardiner will support Dairy Moving Forward to expand the range of innovation models, to focus efforts to improve investment, and to undertake priority actions associated with the Dairy Plan.

People and Community Development

The people in dairy, across the value chain, and the local dairy communities, are the life-blood that supports the industry. The capability, opportunities, health and well-being of dairy people and dairy communities is fundamental to achieving a profitable, confident and united dairy industry.

Gardiner Foundation will place an emphasis on the following people and community development areas;

  • Attracting new people to Dairy.

Attracting new people to dairy, both pre and post farmgate, will continue as a priority for Gardiner and we will strengthen our investments through support for scholarships, learning and experiential opportunities that can overcome awareness and opportunity barriers for young people in dairy regions and those from metropolitan areas.

  • Enhancing Farm Business Skills and access to risk management tools.

Improving farm business skills is an essential precedent to increasing profitability.  Gardiner and Dairy Australia have cooperated in the development of the Our Farm, Our Plan business skills program, to support dairy farmers to:

  • Clarify and document their strategic long-term goals,
  • Identify and prioritise actions needed,
  • Manage risks and capture opportunities.

Gardiner is committed to investing, in collaboration with Dairy Australia and other partners, to support an expanded and accelerated delivery of Our Farm, Our Plan across Victoria, and to support dairy farmers accessing new risk management tools.

  • Leadership Development and a positive industry culture.

A positive culture plays a crucial role in industry success and building a more positive culture is fundamentally about leadership. Leadership is not simply skills and knowledge; it is also about the mindsets and behaviours we exercise every day. The Dairy Plan recognises that to deliver positive cultural change in a more volatile world, we need a new leadership paradigm where leadership is everyone’s responsibility.

Gardiner has for many years invested in leadership development and we will strengthen these investments and be a major contributor to the development and implementation of a new Dairy Industry Leadership Strategy.

  • Strengthening dairy communities.

Strong communities are vital to support the dairy industry. In a unique role among dairy service providers, Gardiner is committed to a grants program designed to strengthen Victorian dairy communities by assisting them to build local infrastructure, engagement and access to support that is a catalyst for community resilience, growth and well-being.

 Industry Engagement and Strategic Support

Engagement with industry stakeholders is a fundamental enabler of Gardiner’s program planning, delivery and strategic industry assistance. Gardiner will strategically invest in projects and activities that address emerging and key issues and needs of the dairy industry and dairy communities. Gardiner will retain a high level of agility, enabling us to support the industry in times of critical need, such as from floods, fires or feed shortage and to support whole-of-industry enabling actions. Consistent with this approach, Gardiner will support the governance and reporting of the Dairy Plan implementation and will provide financial support to the process for reforming industry structures.