Episode 4: How to value-add to your business… and the entire agricultural industry

Vic Drought Hub - Farmland 1
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So far, we’ve learnt from the stories of others on why and how they navigated the innovation process. Now it’s time to talk about types of innovation.
Australia is known for its high-quality produce, but when you factor in the costs of water and inputs – are farmers really getting enough value for what they grow? Using milk as an example, research shows that value-add products such as cheese and yoghurt generate more profit per litre than just milk itself.

So, if you have been considering moving up in the value-chain, this episode looks at how: from feasibility studies, accessing skills and resources and defining your target market. We also look at how industry players can work together to increase the value of their product.


David Downie - Strategic Advisor Regional Development at the Centre for Rural and Regional Development, Deakin University

David has over 30 years experience directing and implementing policy reform and delivering significant infrastructure projects for the State of Victoria, Australia. He was the former Head of the Office of Water, Victoria and also Secretary Department of Energy and Minerals, and Deputy Director General of Conservation and Environment. David is an expert in government relationships and strategy, and engagement with community, academia and business sectors. He was responsible for introducing and implementing major reform across the energy and water sectors. This included privatisation of energy in Victoria, creation of energy and water trading markets and development of inter-state (Murray Darling) water management arrangements. David has led structural reform in energy, water and the environment across the State of Victoria and nationally, including institutional, market and regulatory changes. He has acted as chief executive and senior Board member of state and private sector corporations.

Cressida Cains – Founder of Dairy Cocoon, a not-for-profit platform connecting and supporting dairy producers to move up the value chain.

Cressida is a pioneer in the Australian dairy industry. As an entrepreneur, she believes in challenging the status quo of Australian farming and thinking differently.

Cressida is the co-founder and director of the Pecora Group which includes Pecora Dairy, Pecora Cheese and Wine and Dairy Cocoon. Since its inception in 2011, Pecora Dairy has been consistently awarded for its innovation, research and excellence. In 2018 Pecora Dairy became the first cheesery in Australia licensed to produce a raw milk cheese. She is the 2020 NSW/ACT AgriFutures Rural Women's Award winner and National Runner Up. Throughout her years in the dairy industry, she has been a strong advocate for small Australian dairy farmers. In 2021 she founded Dairy Cocoon and online platform which assists dairy farmers to take back control of their businesses by transforming up the value chain. Cressida's dream is to see a thriving and vibrant dairy sector dominated by independent brands, much like what has been achieved in the craft brewery industry.


Dairy Cocoon - a not-for-profit digital platform and support hub which provides a pathway for willing dairy farmers to begin their journey up the value chain.

Is value-adding a pipe dream for Australian agriculture? - John Ralph Essay Competition 2022, Australian Farm Institute