The major parties are coming under increasing pressure in to release policies relating to agriculture, and the dairy industry in particular, in the 2013 election campaign.
There are more than 7,500 people employed in the dairy industry in western Victoria and they produce about a quarter of Australia's milk output.
But it has been a very tough season and farmers are disappointed there has not been more of a focus on policies that will ensure the industry can survive.
Mark Billing is a fourth-generation dairy farmer near Colac in south-western Victoria.
He says the past seven or eight months show the need for greater policy focus on the dairy industry.
"It's been one of those years that's been out of the box," he said.
"We've had the perfect storm of high prices, high input prices, milk prices have been low and our season's been pretty tough, and it's only now we're starting to get some of the pasture on the ground we need to feed the cows."
He says the $13 billion industry is not looking for hand-outs, but the major parties should be investing more in research and development to secure the industry's future.
"The one percenters just make a huge difference on our profitability, so (we need) research around the cows and pasture, we need to get more sustainable pastures that can deal with some of the climate change that we're seeing," he said.
The dairy industry says the supermarket war over cheap milk prices is continuing to put a major strain on farmers.
The industry is lobbying for a mandatory supermarket code of conduct to be overseen by an ombudsman.
It is also pushing for more opportunities offshore, including securing free trade agreements (FTA) with China, Japan and South Korea.
The Trade Minister, Richard Marles, was in China in June for the latest round of FTA negotiations.
"Getting those markets opened up in China, but not just China, Japan and Korea and other parts of Asia really offers one of the enormous potentials for job growth in this country. So that's very much our focus," he said.
The Opposition's Trade Spokeswoman, Julie Bishop, visited Corangamite on the first day of the election campaign.
She says securing FTAs in Asia is a top priority for the Coalition.
The dairy industry is also keen to see changes around industrial relations laws that mean farmers have to pay staff penalty rates to milk cows on Sundays and an increase in working visas from six to 12 months.
Mark Billing is also keen to see investment in broadband.
"The smart phone that I've got links back to the dairy computer and I can look at these cows' production in the pastures," he said.
"So, long-term I think the NBN or whatever we get will be pretty important for the future and to engage the next generation coming on."
The Mayor of the Colac Otway Shire, Lynn Russell, says the industry accounts for more than 10 per cent of jobs in the region, and the hot, dry summer has hit hard.
"We've already had one suicide that I know of in the area," she said.
"It puts a lot of stress not only on the farmer but their family. It's also in retail and the other manufacturing sectors here."
Councillor Russell has met with each of the candidates and she is not impressed.
"We're very disappointed that we haven't had any policies or any promises from our members or the candidates and that is reflected in the agricultural industry," she said.