Don’t tell the cows but yoghurt grows on trees

This story by Saffron Howden  “Cultural cringe: schoolchildren can’t see the yoghurt for the trees”made the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald and not only that it was the most read article nationally. I am not sure I should tell you this but the whole world is talking about it. If you Google “yoghurt grows on trees”  you get almost 1.7 Million hits on the web on this story line

At the farm we have decided that we wont tell the cows that 27% of children surveyed think yoghurt comes from trees. It will break their hearts.

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It was bad enough to learn that most people didn’t know cows had four teats let alone this latest travesty.

But seriously what is it we want people to know about agriculture. I am sixth generation farmer. I grew up on a beef and sheep farm not returning to the dairy industry until I was 22. I will readily admit I had no idea how many teats a sheep had until I looked it up the other day. They have two by the way

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Sydney School students visit Clover Hill Dairies

Today farming is diverse, its complex, underpinned by the latest science and research and is highly technical. Its also dynamic, innovative and can be a very rewarding career pathway.

One of my next door neighbours is an engineer and for quite sometime taught advanced engineering at Sydney Uni. He loves living on the farm and being part of a working dairy landscape. We have had many many discussion about educating people about agriculture. He tells me its not so much about educating but building an appreciation. He uses the mobile phone as an example. He tells me the mobile phone is the most technically complex device on planet but it is not necessary for people to understand how it works they just appreciate it works and he believes this is where agriculture should focus.

For agriculture I like use the Sydney Harbour Bridge as an analogy. We value it as an Australian icon. We appreciate its a complex structure, but we don’t need to understand the intricacies of how it is put together. When we cross from one side to the other with our most precious cargo, our families, on board  we just need to have confidence in the people who designed it and trust who the people who built it .

My neighbour is right. The key is for farmers to actively engage and have two way conversations with urban Australia to build trust and appreciation of Australian agriculture so the community will value the hands that grow it and the land that produces it.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

There are many ways to do this and Art4agriculture was conceived for agriculture to have these conversations as early as we could.

On the farm we have taken every opportunity to share the Clover Hill Dairies story and its definitely a highly rewarding experience having two ways conversations with the people who not only love yoghurt but also know it is made from milk from happy healthy cows

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