Dairy farmer

Once you make the decision to start a dairy business, there are several steps to follow before you can legally operate.

Take a look at each of the sections below for all the information you'll need to get started, including a checklist of requirements before you apply for a dairy licence with Dairy Food Safety Victoria (DFSV).

To operate a dairy farm business in Victoria you are required under the Dairy Act 2000 to be licensed with DFSV and comply with the conditions of that licence. This includes compliance with relevant provisions of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, in particular Part 3.2 and Standard 4.2.4.
The Victorian dairy licence handbook outlines what is required to obtain and operate under a DFSV dairy licence.
  1. Ensure your farm meets the requirements
    Ensure your premises and equipment are fit for purpose, in a good state of repair, able to be cleaned and sanitised effectively and comply with Standard 3.2.3 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Additional information can be found in the DFSV technical information note Managing farm food safety risks and also seek advice from the company you will be supplying. 

  2. Develop a food safety program
    Most milk companies have developed farm quality assurance (QA) program templates within the company QA system which meet the farm food safety program requirements. By adopting and implementing the milk company QA template you will fulfill the DFSV farm licence condition to have an approved food safety program.

    If your milk company does not provide you with a QA system, you will need to develop a documented HACCP-based food safety program outlining the control measures and procedures that are in place to reduce or eliminate significant food safety hazards associated with producing milk. Refer to the Guidelines for Food Safety: Dairy farms and the Minimum requirements for farm food safety programs. DFSV has developed a template that you can modify to suit your dairy farm.

    Additional requirements - producing milk for raw milk cheese
    If you intend to produce milk for raw milk cheese you will need to address the additional requirements under 4.2.4 in your documented food safety program. Further information, including a checklist of the additional requirements, is available here.

    Additional requirements - milk not intended for human consumption
    If you intend to sell, deliver or supply milk not intended for human consumption you must obtain DFSV’s approval as to how these products will be treated so as to deter human consumption and to clearly differentiate them from dairy food.

    This also applies if you intend to supply raw milk to a manufacturer other than a licensed dairy manufacturer. They will be required to demonstrate to you how they will ensure that products made from that milk will meet this condition. This will be a requirement of your licence.

  3. Ensure adequate skills
    Make sure you have the necessary skills and competency to manage all the food safety aspects in your business. Training courses are available.

Need help?

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on 03 9810 5900.

A dairy farmer licence must be held by the person or entity in charge of operating the business and therefore ultimately responsible for regulatory compliance.

If you plan to operate at more than one site you will need to have each site licensed separately with DFSV.

Submitting your application

Applications for new licences, licence transfers and licence cancellations can be completed online, along with credit card payment of the relevant application fee.

Apply now

Alternatively, forms can be downloaded and printed. Return completed forms to DFSV with applicable payments made by cheque or EFT.

New licence (bovine)          New licence (non-bovine)    

Cancel a dairy licence         Click  here for information to assist you to complete your application.


Licence transfers

If you are planning to take over a current licence to operate a dairy business held by another person or company, you must apply for a licence transfer. Please do not apply for a new licence.
You can either apply online or download and print the  Dairy farmer (bovine) or  Dairy farmer (non-bovine) transfer application form. Further information on licence transfers is available here.

Please note
that it is an offence under the Dairy Act 2000 to commence operations prior to the licence being issued by Dairy Food Safety Victoria. Should DFSV discover that you have been operating a dairy business without a licence, enforcement action including prosecution may result.

Once your application is received a DFSV food safety manager will make contact with you within 10 business days.

In order to assist DFSV in processing your application within 45 business days from receipt, please ensure that:

  • The application form is complete and includes relevant payment, and
  • A pre-approved food safety program is adopted from the manufacturer you are supplying; or
  • A food safety program is provided that meets DFSV food safety program guidelines (refer to Guidelines for Food Safety: Dairy farms and Minimum requirements for farm food safety programs on the DFSV website), and
  • Any requested changes to your food safety program draft submitted are completed and returned within 10 business days

The farm premise is ready and complies with relevant legislation within this 45 business days period.

If these conditions are not met your licence application may not be progressed within this period and may be subject to cancellation after 6 months from the date of application.

New licence application fee

The one-off application fee for new dairy farmer licences is $190.00


Licence transfer application fee

There is currently no fee to apply to transfer a dairy farmer licence.

Licence fees 

Bovine dairy farmer licence fees are calculated per litre of milk supplied from the farm.

Once you obtain a dairy farmer licence and commence milk supply, your licence fee will be deducted from your milk cheque by the milk company that you supply and will be forwarded to DFSV by the milk company on your behalf. In some exceptional circumstances, fees can be paid annually in advance based on a milk volume estimate at the same rate.

These payments are ongoing until the business is no longer in operation.

Dairy farmer (bovine) licence fee – by volume rate per annum
Litres$0.0001614 per litre

Non-bovine dairy farmer licence fees are paid annually, based on the volume of milk supplied from the farm over a 12-month period.

For new applications, the milk volume used to calculate the fee is the estimated annual production volume declared by the applicant on their application form.

To renew the licence for the next licence period, the fee is calculated based on the volume of milk supplied in the previous licence period (12 months).

Dairy farmer goat/sheep licence fee – by volume rate per annum
Up to and including 100,000 litres$62.00
More than 100,000 litres$124.00