At the 2016 Annual General Meeting of the Macalister Demonstration Farm directors made a presentation about the financial stresses the MDF is experiencing in relation to the research and demonstration side of the business. This is the very reason for the existence of the MDF in supporting our dairying community. During that presentation the possibility was raised that the MDF might be sold and the funds invested elsewhere, as directed by our Rules. Over the past twelve months the Board has been working through a plan to find new partners and new sources of funding to stop this happening. We have had some success but you can imagine how difficult this has been in the current climate. This work will continue through 2017.
Our problem is that the business model that the MDF is built upon is no longer viable. Fifty five years ago forward-thinking members of the dairying community in the MID elected to invest in the purchase of the MDF by paying the equivalent of $25 for 50 shares. This was enough to borrow against and over the years farm profit has been largely used to pay off the original loan or reinvested in the farm. Over that time whatever has been generated by the research work undertaken at the MDF, like important work in grain feeding, nutrient outflow and irrigation practices, has been given out for free to anyone interested and no one has had to pay a cent since. What a fantastic return on that investment! But, it’s just not financially sustainable.
It costs the research side of the business nearly $50,000 each year just to open the door – farm profits have never been able to fund anything but the basics of the work we do. Apart from occasional funds for specific projects, the MDF does not receive any money from government and has not asked its stakeholders or supporters for any further financial support over those fifty five years. The time to ask for your help has come.
At the 2017 AGM in October we launched the Friends of the MDF, a way for you to volunteer a modest contribution to help us establish a secure financial base. Then the MDF will be in a position to attract funding partners as it launches into the next phase of terrific work for the benefit of our local dairy farmers.
If you value the work that has been done over the last many years and believe, like I do, that this asset is too valuable to just let go (because it will never be replaced) please consider supporting us to create that viable and sustainable future.
So please, act now to support the MDF and let us get on with more great work.
0488 175 366