Board Report - December 2017 Meeting

The goal of the Board is to increase the awareness of members of the position of the Association, key activities being undertaken and how they relate to the overall Strategic Business Plan.

Detailed below are major considerations and outcomes from the December 2017 Board Meeting.

1. Finance

The major downturn in export activity is having a significant impact on revenue for the 2017/18 financial year requiring the Board to review the Budget compared to year to date actuals.

Over the last 10 years revenue from export has been a significant contributor to financing operations and the recent slowing of export activity, particularly to China has had immediate ramifications. The Board, through the Strategic Plan had made the decision to work towards restructuring the Association over the next two to three years to not be so reliant on export revenue to fund operations. Due to the now apparent poor state of the export trade the Board has brought this forward to this financial year. More on that later in this report.

For members to get a sense of the current financial situation a summary of actual versus budget for the major revenue and expenditure segments is set out below:


  • Membership Subscriptions: in-line with Budget
  • Registrations: falling behind Budget following a very positive start to the year
  • Transfers: well ahead of Budget
  • Classification: ahead of Budget
  • Technical Services including Genomics: slightly below Budget
  • Journal advertising: below Budget
  • Export: significantly below Budget

Overall revenue is below Budget and below last financial year for the same period as a direct result of lower export activity.


  • Classification: in-line with Budget, below last year
  • Technical Services: below Budget
  • Member Services: below Budget
  • Administration and Office: slightly above Budget
  • Marketing and Journal: above Budget

Overall expenses are below Budget and well below last financial year for the same period.

For the six months to the end of December the Association’s financial position is below budget and potentially will remain below budget through to the end of this financial year resulting in a loss for 2017/18.

2. Actions Taken By The Board

The Board in conjunction with Management has commenced a full review of revenue opportunities and where expenses can be reduced on an ongoing basis.


The Board has requested that the Strategic Directions Committee working with management undertake a full review of Holstein services, packages and fee structure to develop recommendations to be considered by the Board.

The Strategic Directions Committee will be meeting early February and the Board are meeting late February.

Thus following the February Board meeting members will receive a further update on the financial position of the Association for the current financial year and the recommendations on changes to services, packages and fees.


The review of expenses has been an on-going focus over the last 18 months and for the current financial year expenses are 17% below the corresponding period of 2016/17 and are 9% below Budget. This is an encouraging position in the light of the current circumstances.

Management will continue to regularly monitor expenses to find savings without compromising the level of service to members.

3. Communications

As a key platform of the 2016 to 2020 Strategic Business Plan; Communications has been a major focus for the Board over the last few months.

The Board has considered how we communicate with members as well as the wider dairy industry in what we all know is a fast moving and very dynamic environment.

Historically, predominately communications has been through The Journal and resources were allocated to achieve this outcome. The Journal is a wonderful publication that has served members very well for many years. What The Journal represents and delivers is not in question however in today’s publishing environment the delivery model has limitations. These include unsustainable printing costs, unsatisfactory and frustratingly slow delivery at very high postage rates and lack of member advertising support.

Members now source their information beyond The Journal, whether digitally or through social media and it is delivered quickly on various devices including smart phones, tablets and home computers. Hard copy publications such as The Journal find it difficult to compete as a primary source of information.

As the Board reviewed the communications structure it was very clear that our existing one dimensional approach was not suitable for today or the future. Already the Board and Management have commenced changing the way we communicate with members and industry through the following actions-

  • A new dynamic website with more information and member interaction. This will be launched in February 2018
  • Holstein Dispatch. Our new e-newsletter providing members and industry news on the world of genetics, breed highlights and general interest articles. Dispatch commenced being distributed on a monthly basis and for 2018 will be distributed fortnightly; check your email in-box for the next issue.
  • Social media and increased participation across a number of platforms. A great opportunity to connect the Holstein community in Australia and globally


4. The Journal

The single most discussed topic around communication has been where to with The Journal and what it will look like into the future as it moves from being the Associations primary method of communication to being just one part of a multi-channel communication strategy.

The Board have considered publication frequency, size of the Journal and ultimately how the Journal is distributed.

Consequently, the Board decided that The Journal will move from being a bi-monthly publication to a quarterly publication meaning there will be two more editions this financial year.

In another move to control costs The Journal will be reduced in the number of pages published from 60 to 40 pages. The Journal editorial team are currently working on the content priorities for the reduced format.

Management is also investigating how to add an electronic version accessible online in addition to the traditional printed copy being distributed by mail. This will be a gradual change as part of a choice for members in the future.

The savings generated through the changes around The Journal will be directed to supporting the initiatives of Holstein Dispatch, social media and wider media engagement without increasing the overall communications budget enhancing our return on the communications investment.

5. Summary

Whether finances or communication the Board are seeking the balance of servicing members while staying within the financial constraints of the Association. This will see increases in fees for services and changes to how we have engaged with members.