About YDN

The Young Dairy Network

The Young Dairy Network (YDN) provides a link for farmers with similar interests, in an environment where they can share ideas and experiences. Membership typically is made up of young innovative farmers who are adopters of change and seekers of information.

It is an organisation that is managed by Subtropical Dairy Program Limited and overseen by a strategic steering committee. It is non-political and a not for profit organisation.

The key principals of the YDN are to provide professional development and training and opportunities for networking and social interaction for young dairy farmers, in order to build community capacity within and across farming communities. This is achieved through a ‘ground up’ approach to operations which ensure that training is delivered in a timely manner and is relevant to the current and individual needs of each group within the Network.

The Northern Dairy Industry covers a large area from Kempsey in New South Wales to the Atherton Tableland in Queensland.

The Young Dairy Network has three aims:

1. To provide encouragement, support and opportunities for young farmers to develop the technical knowledge and skills they require to make informed decisions in their business; build the communication and leadership skills they require to fulfil key roles in the dairy industry and community; and communicate and build relationships with key industry, agribusiness and government contacts that can assist them to develop their businesses.

2. To create a supportive network environment where young farmers can act autonomously; share challenges and successes; inspire one another to grow and develop their businesses; and boost morale through challenging periods.

3. To improve the sustainability of the Northern Dairy Industry and the communities this industry supports through developing future leaders to fulfil key roles in the dairy industry and community; building the critical mass of dairy farmers the industry requires to continue functioning effectively; raising the profile of the dairy industry to other industries, all levels of government, communities and consumers; and sharing available resources across the whole Northern Dairy Industry Region.

YDN Strategic Steering Committee

The Strategic Steering Committee (SSC) is the peak consultative forum of the Northern Dairy Industry’s Young Dairy Networks and oversees the operation of the program. The SSC is currently made up of the following:

QLD Young Farmer Rep

NSW Young Farmer Rep

QDO Young Farmer Rep

SDP Young Farmer Rep

SDP Executive Officer

QDO Executive Rep


NSW Farmers Rep

Processor Rep

Processor Rep

YDN Program Manager

Queensland Dairy Organisation Board Member

Subtropical Dairy Board Member

Jason McInnes (Vice Chair)

Jai Woolridge

Francis Hayden (Chair)

Todd Brown

Brad Granzin

Joe Bradley

Dominique Hinchliffe

Currently Vacant

Charlie Ernst (Parmalat)

Sally Hopper (Maleny Dairies)

Vivienne McCollum

Matt Trace

Rachael Parkes


Purpose of the Young Farmer Network Strategic Steering Committee

  • Foster the continued development of the Young Farmers Networks ensuring their continued sustainability
  • Provide considered direction and leadership to the Young Farmer Networks
  • Provide recommendations to the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation and Subtropical Dairy regarding future goals, gaps challenges and funding opportunities for the network
  • Ensure that applications for future funding for network activities are high quality and in line with the strategic direction of the networks
  • Provide guidance and mentoring to Operational Steering committees, by addressing their concerns and recommending approaches to challenges
  • Foster the collaborative partnerships within the Networks ensuring effective and efficient use of industry resources
  • Oversee project budget and financial management processes
  • Maintain a strategic focus within discussion topics.
Regions and Staff

There are six YDN Regions across Subtropical Dairy. Each region has an Operational Steering Committee (OSC) made up of young farmers from that region. The OSC is the leading consultative group of young farmers at a regional level, setting the direction of events and activities for that region so that members needs are being met at a local level. The current YDN regions are the Darling Downs, South East Queensland, Sunshine Coast, Far North Queensland, Far North and Mid North Coasts of NSW.


Project Staff Project Manager & SC Regional Coordinator – Vivienne McCollum

Viv McCollum web

Since graduating from the University of New England with a degree in Rural Science, Viv has worked in both the Cotton and Dairy industry. With a background in sales/marketing, business management, precision agriculture and natural resource management she commenced her role as program manager of the Young Dairy Network in 2009. During this time Viv has worked with young dairy farmers, the coordinating team and stakeholders of the YDN to grow and continue the development of the network. Viv and her husband Doug have 2 children and live at Hampton North of Toowoomba.

M: 0428 460 380


South-East Qld Co-ordinator, Darling Downs YDN Contact – Belinda Haddow


Belinda has been working in the dairy industry in Queensland since 1995, following her studies in Agricultural Science at the University of Queensland. She worked for 10 years in a farm liaison-extension role with the Dept Primary Industries and Dairy Farmers. During that time she lived in Toowoomba and spent most of her time working with farmers on the Darling Downs and the South Burnett. In her more recent roles, Belinda has worked with farmers in the Young Dairy Network and on industry projects and natural disaster response teams. Over the years Belinda has enjoyed working with dairy farmers and in their businesses and has built good working relationships with farmers and some great friendships. Belinda and her husband, Mark, have 3 children and live in Highfields near Toowoomba.

M: 0423 003 638


Far North Coast and Mid North Coast NSW Coordinator – Katina Trout

Raised on a mixed farming property in Queensland, Katina graduated with a degree in Agribusiness and later obtained a postgraduate certificate in Marketing Management. Katina worked for several years in various agricultural industries, including roles with the Cotton Trading Corporation, Incitec Pivot Fertilisers and Bayer CropScience. In addition to her agribusiness experience, Katina has worked in brand, product and marketing management roles in the member services and tourism sectors. Katina currently has a marketing and design business specialising in agribusiness, undertaking brand, promotional and communications work for a number of private and corporate clients.

M: 0439 587 688


Sunshine Coast Coordinator – Kylie Dennis

Kylie began working in the dairy industry in 2004 when she commenced employment with the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) as an Executive Assistant. She left QDO late last year and joined the Subtropical Dairy team in January this year as an Extension Co-ordinator. Kylie has vast experience in event management, business administration, communication platforms and supporting farmers during disasters. She is very passionate about the dairy industry. Kylie lives in Brisbane with her three children.

M: 0456 191 965


Industry Partnerships

ydn_qdo_sdp_combined_250The Young Dairy Network is managed by Subtropical Dairy Program in collaboration with the Queensland Dairy farmers Organisation.

Key Stakeholders

Qld Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
NSW Farmers
Processing Company Representatives

YDN Funding

DSS_logoCommunity Investments Program

Department of Community Services

The funding obtained from the Australian Government Department of Social Services, Community Investments Program is being delivered for the YDN project “Building a stronger community through the young farmers’ network in the Darling Downs, South East Queensland and Sunshine Coast regions”.


YDNA_Logo_CMYK_smYoung Dairy Network Australia

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The Young Dairy Network Australia (YDNA) is a Dairy Australia initiative which is working with existing regional groups to establish a nation network of young farmers.

Funding obtained from the YDNA by the YDN is being delivered for the project “Young Dairy Network in the Subtropics – to run a Young Dairy Network in the Subtropical Dairy Region that engages young farmers and industry representatives to build their capacity as future leaders of the Dairy industry”.