Current Projects in People Development

The following active People Development projects are being funded by Gardiner Dairy Foundation. These projects are the Farm Business Management Program, Nuffield Farming Scholarship, the Vets in Residence Program, the Australian Dairy Leadership Alumni (ADLA) 

Farm Business Management Program                         



Applications for the 2018 Farm Business Management Program have now closed. 


Project overview

In partnership with the three Victorian Regional Development Programs (RDPs) this program offers scholarships for Victorian dairy farmers to further their training in risk management, business accumen and leadership. There are ten scholarships state-wide for mid-careeer dairy farmers to complete the Rabobank Executive Development Program (1 per RDP), Australian Owner Manager Program (2 per RDP) and the Australian Rural Leadership Program (1 statewide).

This initiative forms part of Gardiner Dairy Foundations commitment to investing in emerging leaders and practices. The Farm Business Management Program offers a unique opportunity for scholars to build on their current knowledge base and to share their learnings with the wider dairy industry.

Strategic importance to the industry

Dairy farm efficiency and profitability is critical to the long-term sustainability of the industry. Farm business management has been highlighted as an area with significant opportunity for improvement. The industry has gone through significant structural change over the last decade and farmers must be able to manage their businesses more efficiently, grow their profits and build their wealth within this more challenging environment. Significant opportunities exist in the international marketplace for farmers with the skills and know-how to succeed.

Our involvement

Over the past three years (2015-2017) the Gardiner Dairy Foundation has supported almost 30 dairy farmers, through the Farm Business Management Program to develop their management and leadership skills. A critical aim of this program is that this investment will not only benefit the scholars own businesses but the industry as a whole. Each of these farmers will be inducted into the Australian Dairy Leadership Alumni (ADLA) once they have graduated from their course. 

To be successful applicants must be a farm owner looking to take their business to the next level. They must be willing to commit their time to complete the course but also demonstrate leadership development by giving back to the industry, ideally by sharing some of their learnings from the course. Finally, they must apply and be accepted into the course of their choosing, once they are through the Gardiner Dairy Foundation selection process.


For more Information download the FBM Brochure or to express your interest contact your local RDP or the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.


Nuffield Farming Scholarships

Project overview

Nuffield Scholarships enable dynamic Australian farmers to travel internationally, expand their personal horizons and learn from leading agriculturalists around the world. Scholars visit innovative farmers to study global farming practices and bring new ideas and inspiration to farming businesses in Australia.

This initiative forms part of Gardiner Dairy Foundations commitment to building industry leadership capability, through our People Development portfolio. It aims to develop Victorian dairy farmers to ensure that the industry has the required leadership, knowledge and skills for long-term success.

Strategic importance to the industry

The Australian dairy industry needs to be competitive on a global scale. Dairy farmers associated with Nuffield are exposed to cutting-edge technology globally, that could transform dairy faming and the dairy industry in general. They develop their networks, approaches and confidence, and bring valuable innovation home to share their learnings with the wider dairy community and creating more successful businesses.

The global market has become increasingly competitive as the dairy capability and capacity of many nations has increased. The sustainability and growth of the Australian dairy industry depends on the ability of our famers to adopt new technologies and more efficient production practices.

Our involvement

Gardiner Dairy Foundation has partnered with Nuffield Australia to provide a Victorian dairy farmer with a Nuffield Farming Scholarship each year. This scholarship is a unique opportunity for a Victorian dairy farmer to experience agriculture from a global perspective, investigate their chosen agricultural topic, and to innovate on their own farms and within their dairy communities.

Successful applicants spend a total of 16 weeks travelling the world – including 6 weeks of group travel through the global powerhouses of agriculture, in countries such as China, India, Brazil, USA, Canada and through Europe. Scholars then travel for a further 10 weeks by themselves, tapping into Nuffield’s global network of farming scholars to drill down into a research topic of interest to them and of value to the industry. Importantly, they then become part of a powerful alumni network of scholars right around the world, providing life-long opportunities for further learning and friendship.

The 2014 scholar Aubrey Pellet, from Hill End in Gippsland, used his scholarship to investigate the future of productivity gain for dairy farmers. Read his case study here Aubrey Pellet 2014 

Previous scholar reports Aubrey Pellet 2014 | Damian Murphy 2012 | Graeme Nicoll 2010 Jamie Snell 2006

For more information: Visit the Nuffield Website or Contact Gardiner Dairy Foundation

Vets in Residence

Partner organisations: The University of MelbourneDairy Australia and six rural veterinary practices

Project overview

The Vets in Residence program aims to build and maintain veterinary capacity in the dairy industry through advanced clinical training of vets at a number of Victoria's leading dairy veterinary clinics.

This People Development initiative forms part of Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s commitment to invest in emerging leaders and practices. It aims to develop much needed advanced veterinary expertise by offering graduate vets the opportunity to conduct research, provide extension, teach under-graduate vet students and strengthen their clinical skills.          

Strategic importance to the industry

In 2010, it became apparent that there was a looming shortage of specialist dairy vets and that a decline in the ongoing supply of skilled veterinarians in local practice would have a negative impact on the efficiency of dairy farms.  This prompted a collaboration between Gardiner Dairy Foundation, the University of Melbourne, Dairy Australia and three leading rural veterinary practices to establish the Vets in Residents Program to address the issue.

The training veterinary residents receive throughout the program will allow them to become leading dairy veterinary practitioners or scientists. It is hoped this can lead to innovation of veterinary services for broader dairy industry. Providing these opportunities is helping to expose students to an alternative field of veterinary work and maximise movement of veterinary students into dairy and rural practice after graduation.

Our involvement

Gardiner Dairy Foundation is a partner in this $1.4 million project. The 3-year project commenced in 2010 with the first three resident students. Due to its success, the program was extended to an additional 4 students in 2012. A further two dairy veterinary practices joined the program in 2015.

The University of Melbourne residents undertake on-farm research, develop their whole herd management and extension skills, and provide day-to-day clinical services to dairy farmers in order to gain their Masters of Veterinary Science. The dairy residents are located at leading rural clinics including the Maffra Veterinary Centre, the Veterinary Group (Timboon), the Warrnambool Veterinary Clinic and the Rochester Veterinary Clinic.

Research into on-farm practises by the dairy vets in residence has included addressing issues such as non-cycling cows, bull fertility and colostrum management practices. The findings of this work are already having a positive impact on the industry. Dairy Australia communicates key findings to the industry as soon as they've been validated so that farmers can immediately start incorporating them into their farm management systems.

Program achievements to date

Two residents have won awards for their research. Maffra based Dr Stephanie Bullen earned the title of 2013 Rural Ambassador, and Rochester based Dr Ashley Phipps was awarded a Greenham's Dairy Scholarship to help finance his continuing research.

Project Leader Assoc. Professor Michael Pyman was also awarded a Vice Chancellor’s Engagement Awards for industry engagement.

Read more about Vets in Residence


Australian Dairy Leadership Alumni

Partner organisations: Dairy AustraliaDepartment of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources

Project overview

The Australian Dairy Leadership Alumni (ADLA) has been established to bring together the graduates of five executive leadership programs. It aims to continue building their leadership capability and harness their intellectual capacity, energy and drive to improve the performance of the Australian dairy industry. Alumni are graduates of the Australian Rural Leadership Program, Nuffield Scholarship, Institute of Business Owners - Australian Owner Manager Program TM, Rabobank Executive Leadership Program and Horizon 2020 program.

This People Development initiative forms part of Gardiner Dairy Foundations commitment to invest in emerging leaders and industry practices. ADLA enables the dairy industry to build on its investment in these graduates by providing a platform for higher order thinking that will benefit their local community and the industry.

Strategic importance to the industry

The dairy industry has consistently invested in developing its future leaders. Approximately 80-90 people from the industry have been involved in leadership programs over the past 20 years. The knowledge and experience that recipients have gained through their learning and in the period since graduation is significant.  Many alumni hold leadership positions within industry, agriculture, politics or the community, while others are on a clear path to take on these roles.

Our involvement

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation has partnered with Dairy Australia and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources to form the ADLA which runs an annual summit to bring alumni members together.

The summit provides participants with a unique opportunity to meet as a group, be inspired, build networks and strengthen their entrepreneurial and leadership spirits. It incorporates a series of events, forums and activities and provides an opportunity for the next generation of leaders to connect with the trailblazers from both inside and outside of the agricultural industry.