Ron Boswell get over yourself. Oz farmers are proud of what we and we are confident we will stand up to scrutiny

From The Australian this morning

Beef initiative ‘green thuggery’ SID MAHER APRIL 23, 2014 12:00A

 

A LEADING Australian trade expert has warned farmers that an environmental sustainability initiative for the beef industry, being promoted by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and backed by the Cattle Council of Australia, risks tying farmers up in green tape and is a move designed by environmentalists to “control farming’’.

I just don’t get why people like Ron Boswell et al seem determined to undermine partnership initiatives like this between beef farmers and NGO’s like WWF. Senator Boswell et al please don’t try to tell me Australians farmers aren’t dedicated to striving to achieve the best outcomes they possibly can for people, animals, places and a fair return for their efforts doesn’t underpin everything they do 

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Doing the right thing is not an impost its an honour and a legacy ( see footnote for explanation of the graphic )

Surely Senator Boswell et al you will agree all committed Australian farmers who are in it for the long haul are aspiring for excellence . Setting voluntary goals that the Cattle Council and WWF are working towards allows us to take it to the next step and have some measurables to back up our claims. Measurables are not an impost they are claims Australian farmers can make with integrity.

I judge organisations like WWF on their ethos and  people they employ to help deliver it. Backing up my point please take the time and listen to this fantastic TED talk by WWF’s Jason Clay 

I have worked with the WWF in this country and I am comfortable with what they are trying to achieve. In fact I will be showcasing former Cattle Council Rising Beef Champion, beef farmer and now WWF team member Ian McConnel and WWF’s Change the Way You Live campaign  to students as part of the Archibull Prize this year   

Well done Cattle Council and well done to Dairy Australia who are holding similar talks and throwing this brilliant piece of work on the table for comment by all parties.

 

Footnote – Some food for thought –  source

Create Value

At the top of the equilateral triangle, representing economic growth, is the effective pursuit of “profit”. In order for sustainable agriculture to achieve its goals, it must fully embrace the profit motive. This motive requires that developments deliver maximum present and future value to stakeholders by being driven by market demand, and that they do so in the most efficient means possible within the holistic triple-bottom-line perspective.

Accept Responsibility

The “people” leg of the equilateral triangle represents the social responsibility of industry professionals to recognize that project design affects a broad level of human well-being. Society requires and benefits greatly from gaining a greater sense of connectedness; having greater access to quality food, shelter, health care needs, as well as work, creative, recreational and educational opportunities; preserving its cultural and biological heritages; being safe; accessing cultural enrichment opportunities; respecting the diversity of its people; and participating in its own governance. Within the context of natural laws, it is every individual’s right to maximize these social opportunities, and it is part of agriculture’s responsibility to foster the culture to enable these opportunities to more readily occur.

Model Nature

The pure “planet” leg of the triangle recognizes the ultimate value and supreme intelligence of our natural world. Our environment offers an infinite number of time tested and successful patterns, designs and structures from the most minuscule particles, to expressions of life discernible by human eyes, to the greater cosmos. We must not only respect our natural world for its power to sustain us, but as we change and modify it, understanding its workings will lead us to the ultimate solutions we require to sustain ourselves. Make no mistake, the earth will survive. It is our societies which may be in peril. Using an ecological standard to judge our innovations will help us determine which solutions will work, and which solutions will withstand the difficult and ultimate test of time.

Eliminate Waste

Emanating from the creation of economic value is the concept of eliminating waste. Waste reduces profit, and as a result must be eliminated, but it won’t be easy. Eliminating waste requires strong visionary leadership that can transform a liability into an asset. It requires team-building, the development of greater trust, and getting a previously fragmented group of people working more effectively together. That is indeed a challenging task, but its relentless pursuit is absolutely necessary if we hope to achieve sustainability.

Quality of Life

Building from our social responsibilities is the understanding that the values our society espouses, and in fact, the spiritual “lift” we gain are more important than the material items we can own and consume. We must value and focus on the “soul” of our lives, for it is the root of true happiness and quality of life.

Energy Flows

Emanating from nature’s model is our understanding of the natural long-term energy flows which emanate from the sun, and are captured by plants, some of which are eaten by animals, which then (along with plants) cycle the energy into the earth, which stores it and ultimately feeds our plants again. Our short-term oriented consumption of these energy stores is seriously disrupting the cycle, and we must learn how to respect, protect and utilize these natural energy flows.

Share Knowledge

Between the “profit” and “people” ideals is the recognition that, as we progress deeper and deeper into sustainable land development, we must be willing and able to share the knowledge we gain with the other stakeholders throughout the world. Our industry has many areas of specialization, and in order for anyone to effectively develop the requisite holistic perspective, we must seek to better understand and address the needs of all the stakeholders throughout the process.

Humans and Nature Co-exist

Rather than man dominating nature, or man being required to avoid nature, there must be a recognition that man and nature can and do co-exist. With this recognition comes an understanding that man must benefit from nature, but that nature must also benefit from man.

Recognize Interdependence

Between the “profit” and “planet” ideals, and stretching to the very epicenter of the triangle is the understanding that we must recognize – in fact maximize the effectiveness of – our interdependent relationships. This interdependence exists not only among industry professionals, but with society as a whole – as well as cause and effect in the natural world. This principle of interconnectedness, inseparability and union provides us with a continuous reminder of our relationship to the whole, a blueprint for the sustainability of our work.

The solutions we seek reside within this fractal model. As we dig deeper and deeper, the model replicates itself, becoming infinitely complex, yet always maintaining the necessary holistic, triple-bottom-line perspective.

Government is a Partner, But Private Industry Must Lead

As we move forward, we must do so in partnership with government, but ultimately, solutions must emanate from the bottom up, not the top down. History has proven that top-down solutions rarely solve the problems they purport to address, and they often create new ones in their wake. It is the private, profit-driven members of the industry itself that can and must take advantage of the opportunity to not only reverse the negative image the industry has been given, but to become the absolute heroes of our time. It’s a momentous opportunity, and the time is right to seize it.

Today’s reality is that the “people” are driving demand for practices that steward the “planet.” To date, the single-minded pursuit of “profit” has been an impediment to truly sustainable development, but as adopters continue to pave the way by incorporating more holistic new – yet proven – practices, the time is rapidly approaching that supply will begin to meet demand.

Are you ready to participate in the bold new world in which we live – where socially responsible and eco-friendly practices not only boost your bottom line, but are required for survival? That world is closer than you may think, and our goal is to help you achieve it. There are a host of emerging technologies, products, perspectives, knowledge assets, and other resources necessary to enable professionals throughout the industry to make it happen. Stay tuned, as they say. There’s much more to come.

Republished from the May, 2007 issue of Sustainable Land Development Today magazine

* Note have replaced the word ‘development’ with ‘agriculture’  to put into context

Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life

14 thoughts on “Ron Boswell get over yourself. Oz farmers are proud of what we and we are confident we will stand up to scrutiny”

  1. The cotton industry too thought that. The ‘right to farm’ in a manner that was seen as traditional was firmly held by some. We went ahead and got involved in the ‘green tape’ with the BMP program despite the resistance from a few. It was the best thing we ever did. We learnt that the ‘right to farm’ was not actually a legal tenant, but a social one. We had to earn the right to farm from our neighbours and communities. The cotton industry today is a very different industry to the one that demanded the ‘right to farm’. Notwithstanding the green tape, the industry is profitable and sustainable too.

  2. Yes Mike the cotton industry has fully embraced this ethos – with great outcomes.
    “Ultimately, solutions must emanate from the bottom up, not the top down. History has proven that top-down solutions rarely solve the problems they purport to address, and they often create new ones in their wake. It is the private, profit-driven members of the industry itself that can and must take advantage of the opportunity to not only reverse the negative image the industry has been given, but to become the absolute heroes of our time. It’s a momentous opportunity, and the time is right to seize it’.
    On the other hand I fear Dairy Australia’s top down approach will be a major impediment to success and dairy farmers emulating cotton farmers and being absolute heroes of our time. It’s a momentous opportunity, and the time is right to seize it.
    MLA through their Target 100 program is a great example of a large industry empowering their farmers to achieve greatness

  3. Lyn, What is to stop the WWF demanding higher and higher standards once they get such a framework in place? What is to stop these standards forcing farmers off the range-lands if they decide they no longer believe it is environmentally sustainable? Would it not be a better approach for producers to set and accredit their own standards instead of submitting to an offshore NGO who is accountable to no-one?

    1. Hi Jim
      Today’s reality is that the “people” are driving demand for practices that steward the “planet.” Yet I too often find in agriculture there is always 4 Million reason not to be on the front foot. There are a number of producers who have set their own standards and using them as a marketing tool Surely it is also smart for industry to partner with WWF and leverage their brand.

      1. Just because people drive demand for a certain practice, doesn’t mean they are right.
        There have been plenty of idealistic mobs who thought wrong. Yet enforced their theory on others.

  4. As I do too, you haven’t answered my question though, what is to stop them ratcheting up their standards once they get in the front door? There are some serious questions about their motives and methods, of course it makes sense to leverage off a powerful giants brand but what will they want in return 10 years from now?

    People are driving the change and farmers have suffered in recent years because we have outsourced our marketing and representation to ineffective organizations. I fear this one is downright hostile.

    1. Hi Jim
      As I mentioned in the post I have worked for a number of years side by side with Ian and WWF OZ.
      I think their motives are genuine and believe we have more to fear by not engaging with them

  5. I find the reasoning in this post very perplexing.
    “Oz farmers are proud of what we and we are confident we will stand up to scrutiny”
    Exactly the point that those who have concerns about WWF involvement are making.

    What evidence do you have that those against the WWF strategy of market transformation initiative are also against any BMP program that has been developed locally by those with real skin in the game? Where is the correlation?
    In your first reply in the comment section you write, ““Ultimately, solutions must emanate from the bottom up, not the top down. History has proven that top-down solutions rarely solve the problems they purport to address, and they often create new ones in their wake.”

    Doesn’t this negate your own argument in your post above?

    1. Hi Aleyn
      I see farmers working side by side with WFF a bottom up approach. As I said in my reply to Jim ‘There are a number of producers who have set their own standards and using them as a marketing tool Surely it is also smart for industry to partner with WWF and leverage their brand’
      The WWF brand is highly recognised and has a high approval rating by the people ( general public ) who buy what we produce – here is a great chance to leverage that
      May I suggest we see what the industry/WWF partnerships put on the table. There is a good chance very few farmers will find it an impost

  6. I’m sorry, but as a grazier who has also been involved in natural resource management groups in a leadership role, I have seen WWF from both sides, so I can tell you that I have never seen a more 2 faced group in my life. They may be telling farmers one thing, but you can bet your boots they are really trying to implement another. The whole issue is a thinly veiled attempt to put their stamp of approval on our product at our cost. WWF don’t realise that they have no social licence in the bush. The need to be doing a lot of bridge building before they have any hope of being allowed back into the hearts of producers. It isn’t up to NGOs to set environmental standards (or any other standard for that matter) it is the role or elected representatives of the people. What WWF are trying to do is little more than blackmail producers, by meddling in their markets. It’s nothing more than industrial terrorism in my opinion.

  7. I believe Russ has it right, it has also been my experience that I have never seen a more 2 faced organisation in my life.
    I don’t believe it’s smart to work side by side with WWF even if the panda logo is one of the most recognisable brands in the world.
    I put it you that you don’t know WWF, only a very , very small part of their multinational, multi million dollar operation. A small part in Australia run by Rob Cairns with Ian McConnell employed to promote WWF move into sustainable beef certification.
    Once I was prepared to give Ian the benefit of the doubt until he wrote a blog article that repeated WWF diatribe of vilification against beef producers in the catchments along the great barrier reef.
    https://blog.wwf.org.au/2012/09/sustainable-beef-makes-a-healthy-reef

    BTW you haven’t answered my question from my first comment – What evidence do you have that those against the WWF strategy of market transformation initiative are also against any BMP program that has been developed locally by those with real skin in the game? Where is the correlation?

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