About art4agriculturechat

This blog will share farming stories from our family farm Clover Hill Dairies. What you will discover however is that farming today is so much more that growing food and fibre. By opening the door to my role in our family business I am hoping you will gain greater insights into the passion and committment of the people and the places behind the land that produces our food and hands that grow it

Farmers for Climate Action – debunking the myth that farmers are climate change deniers

A well known group of highly respected Australian farmers have put their hands up to debunk the myth that Australian farmers are climate change deniers

In a previous blog found here I shared the research that showed 2 to 4 times as many farmers identify as human induced climate change sceptics compared to the community in general. In contrast to this lack of alignment with 97% of scientists and the community, up to 90% of surveyed farmers acknowledged using climate change adaption and mitigation strategies.

So the question is “why” do so many farmers prefer identify as sceptics? This article by Gabrielle Chan in The Guardian – Climate change is spoken of in hushed tones but it wasn’t always this way provides some excellent insights.

 

Climate Change is now well and truly out of the closet for Australian farmers. Our farmers have a lot to be proud of whilst we are Australia’s fourth highest source of emissions (after electricity, stationary energy and transport) we are the only sector to have decreased emissions in recent years.Farmers have acknowledged they are part of the problem and they are very determined to be part of the solution.

At the moment, the electricity sector contributes around 34% of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia each year. This is more than double the emissions from agriculture. Unlike changing our personal and food waste habits, which will require a gradual cultural shift, changing our energy sources and reducing our energy consumption primarily requires political commitment.

We already have the technology and are seeing it adopted on a large scale around the world.Emissions reductions from the electricity sector could deliver the rapid and significant cuts that we need as soon as possible.

Excitingly our farmers are gaining public support and now actively lobbying our politicians to get on the clean energy train as this recent example shows

This article is a reprint from Australian Geographic by Gemma Hilton on Sept 27th 2016

Farmers asked to share their climate change experience

IF THERE’S ANY group of Australians who are likely to see and fully appreciate the impacts of climate change first-hand, it’s our farmers, who rely on the patterns and moods of the weather to make a living.

Farmers like Peter Holding, who is a third-generation mixed-operation farmer (wheat, canola, wool and lamb) from southern NSW. Peter’s family has been farming their land on the south-west slopes of Harden since 1929. He says he first really started to be impacted by the changing climate with the big, late-season frost event of 1998, followed by the unprecedented drought period of the first decade of the 2000s.

Peter Holding.png

Today, Peter is vocal about the need to do something about climate change. He is also a member of the newly formed Farmers For Climate Action, which is asking farmers around Australia to share their experiences of, and attitudes towards, climate change in a nation-wide survey. This is the first Australia-wide survey of its kind and was launched last week at a large, annual NSW agribusiness event called Henty Field Days.

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Volunteers from Farmers for Climate Action prepare to survey farmers at Henty Field Days, NSW. (Source: Farmers for Climate Action)

Peter says farmers are at the “frontline” of climate change, and he thinks attitudes among farmers are changing – however the survey, which has already received hundreds of entries, will paint a clearer picture.

Cattle farmer and businesswoman Lucinda Corrigan, who has already completed the survey, is now encouraging other farmers to do the same.

“We already know agriculture is Australia’s most climate-exposed industry, but precise impacts vary between regions and sectors. For me, in southern NSW, we’re seeing increasing temperatures and our rainfall patterns significantly alter, and this makes short and long-term planning for our agribusiness more challenging,” she says.

“It’s critical that as many farmers as possible get involved in this conversation because the decisions made today and tomorrow will affect us long into the future. We want to make sure we can keep farming into not just the next season, but for generations to come.”

Farmers For Climate Action will use the survey results to inform their practices and areas of focus. Farmers who complete the five-minute survey will also go in the draw to win a solar system and battery storage worth $15,000.

The survey has already has 400 responses from farmers – help Farmers for Climate Action reach 1000 responses farmers can undertake the survey here. 

 

Its never too late to find out why you were born

Let me introduce you Changemaker Naomi Edwards who I met earlier this year

Naomi is described perfectley below by fellow #legend Megan Rowlatt

Now this girl is a legend. Naomi is a leader, an innovator and social entrepreneur who is so passionate about conservation and the environment, and a real change agent on a national scale.

I have never met anyone with such infectious energy, zero ego, and an unrelenting love of the coast and dunes. Naomi is a breath of fresh air and an absolute star. 

Naomi also blogs and this post reblogged below in particular resonated with me. Its taken me a very long time to find out why I was born but I am so glad I finally got there

Falling in love – with my life

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If you know me, know of me, or have some idea about who I am I want you to park all your judgements aside and read on with no expectations and assumptions. Because that is how I used to live my life, then I got caught up with expectations and assumptions, only to realise the impact this was having on my life. It’s like I have found my 10xmore excitement for life, and it’s genuine.

I was talking with a friend tonight about life and where I am at in life. I have this feeling I can’t explain other than falling in love, with my life. It’s bubbling. It’s exciting. I’ve been trying to figure out where this feeling has come from, is it for someone, something or some reason. But my friend said it perfectly tonight, your being true to yourself and your life. Yeah our mojo’s go and down and go the long way round sometimes. But right now, I feel raw, real and genuinely present to who I am and for the world.

Someone who is genuinely 10xmore excited and it’s real. I am not putting on a happy face, my face is happy. I am genuinely present, patient and listening from the silences I hadn’t listened from before. I am learning, a lot, and seeing myself differently and accepting that I haven’t got it all, got it all together, or got it right or get it right.

My access to this state of being has been being truthful, true to myself.

Truth gives power and I have discovered it, as Michel Foucault, a french philosopher, work unveils.

“Truth is an event which takes place in history. It is something that ‘happens’, and is produced by various techniques (the ‘technology’ of truth) rather than something that already exists and is simply waiting to be discovered”  – Michel Foucault.

I have invited myself to discover my truth and what I see is love for my life and every part of it.

I invite you to discover your truth.

the-day-you-find-out-why

 

 

Finding your WHY is vital

Changemakers fascinate me. People who wake up everyday and want to change the world or at the very least their part of the world.

the-day-you-find-out-why

I am particularly fascinated by young changemakers or as they call themselves ‘disruptors’. Young people who are being a revolutionary – spotting something that needs to change and not being afraid to turn things upside down in order to achieve it.

Yesterday I got an opportunity to sit in on a roundtable in Canberra consisting of some of Australia’s most engaged young changemakers in the sustainability space.

The exercise that they did  that blew my mind involved mapping their personal and professional development journey.

Identifying the moments in time.

The:

  • inspiration points
  • pivot points

Identifying the key people on the the journey.

The:

  • champions
  • mentors
  • critics/naysayers
  • connectors

These young people were all under 35. They all had a strong community spirit and involvement in community from a very young age. Many identified being inspired by a guest speaker at their school. They all viewed life as an opportunity to grab with both hands.   And they had all changed the world. The world was a better place because they were in it

One thing that resonated with me was the impact of the political landscape on many of these young people. Young changemakers choosing career pathways based on who was leading our country at the time. Too often it was lack of inspiration from the top of the political tree being the pivot point in their journey.

Yesterday was definitely one of the highlights of my life – thank you  #YoungAustralians committed to a #brighterfuture

jane-goodall-quote

 

 

 

Farmers – celebrating the skills diversity women bring to the farmgate

I am reblogging this awesome post by Grain Farmer Julia Hausler found here on LinkedIn

Its brilliantly written and her words speak for themselves #gogirlfriend #skillsmatter #strongwomen #grainslove

julia-hausler

What is your image of a grain farmer?

I am a grain farmer. Sometimes I receive funny looks when I say this and am subsequently asked – “So do you drive the tractor, header or truck?” Of which I drive none but is this really the perception to make me a grain farmer?
My husband Tim, is very good at “in-field” operations and more importantly, he enjoys it. Along with our working man Matt, I have great confidence that my “in-field” contribution as a chauffeur and occasional stock shifter are more than adequate. So how do I consider myself a grain farmer if I’m not that active in the paddock?

Here is a list of my contribution and you can decide for yourself.
1. Staff, payroll and safety inductions
2. Grain sales program
3. Harvest logistics
4. Record keeping
5. ATO compliance
6. Mother, cook, gopher, lawn mower, mediator, nurse, school project consultant etc.

With a background in grain accumulation for large companies such as Cargill and GrainCorp I bring certain contract knowledge and market insight skills. My husband and I decided a long time ago (possibly after I mis-raked some hay) that we should work to our strengths in our farm business. So with assistance from our brokers at Rural Directions I usually start our sales program well before harvest, look for cash opportunities during harvest and then finish with post-harvest direct delivery sales with crop we decide to store onfarm.

To give this some perspective, I’ll share last year’s harvest sales program and subsequent logistics. Forward multi-grade sales were made for wheat and barley. This differed from previous years which would usually also include canola. However, with a dry cropping start, low rainfall through winter and no rainfall for spring, the canola crop struggled all year. So I sold a small proportion of canola for cash at harvest and stored the rest onfarm. Lentils were 100% sold at harvest. Some further cash sales of wheat and barley were made and the remainder used to fill onfarm storage. We grow vetch for hay and 100% of this was cut, baled and also stored on farm, mostly under cover.

There is money in the margins, so I require the right quality matches the right contract spreads at the right delivery location. So this might sound easy enough but let me go through our local delivery options. Firstly, we have GrainCorp and a private store (Wilken Storages) near town, 2 GrainFlow sites (one North, one South) each about 60km away and at least 6 packer/processor pulse buyers within 100km radius. We also use our own on farm storage. So I required ASW wheat at GrainCorp and any other grades at Wilken Storages. I required specific volumes of lentils to go to PeaCo Donald and Wimpak Minyip respectively. I required a set volume of feed 1 barley only at GrainCorp to fill contract commitments and any excess or other grades to Wilken Storages. Our exfarm sales have been delivered to Central Districts, Western Districts, Melbourne and Geelong regions of Victoria.

In the meantime, I run excel spreadsheets documenting every paddock by commodity and then variety. Once harvest starts each load delivered is entered, paddock yields calculated, loads are then allocated to contracts and the contract transfers are executed by my broker. This system gives me confidence that contracts are delivered in full on time with the right quality (or DIFOTQ for those in grain trading!) When we receive our remittance advice for the sales these are cross-referenced on the excel spreadsheet to ensure accurate and timely payments have been received and levies have been deducted. Due to the mixed nature of my sales program payments vary from 5 days for pre harvest contracted grain through to 30days for exfarm sales directly to end-user customers.

Hopefully from this small snapshot of my contribution to our grain growing business, you might start to rethink the definition of a grain grower. At the very least hopefully I have convinced your perception of a grain grower to be more than just a paddock role.

Julia Hausler

Supermarket milk wars: a lot of pain for no gain

 

Aussie Farmers

Image Source

I am reblogging another another wonderful insight from the milk pit (coal face) of the Australian  dairy industry from Milk Maid Marian (see here )

Its this comment that particularly resonates with me

“Taking the emotional side of the issue into account first, there is no doubt that the discounting of fresh white milk has devalued the perception of product value in the eyes of farmers. To see milk selling for less than the price of something like bottled water has an impact on farmer sentiment that the economic data doesn’t capture. It suggests to farmers that all the hard work, capital investment, and management skill that goes into producing the product is not properly valued, by those selling it, or the wider community buying it.”

A further cynical insight from me

Sell your soul to the devil

I just nod my head with disbelief at this notion by milk processors that sell their souls to Coles and Woolworths  that the duopoly will do the right thing by them and farmers

Dairy Australia also understands that there may be an advantage for processors in attaining additional supermarket shelf space for their company branded products in both milk and other dairy categories by supplying private label milk (i.e. a non-financial return).

The upcoming ACCC dairy market study is likely to bring some of this information to light.. ”.

I look forward to what ACCC unearth. From what I have seen processors who find themselves locked in these no win contacts are treated like fools

Just take my region. Parmalat package and sell their NSW dairy farmer suppliers milk to Woolworths which they sell as Woolworths Select. Parmalat’s brand is Pauls. Try going into a Woolworths in my region and buying Pauls milk. If its there then is invariably almost out of date.

and the big question are people buying more milk because its cheaper than water. ???

“What Dairy Australia can demonstrate though is that per capita consumption of fresh white milk has not increased as a result of the $1 litre pricing policy introduced in 2011.”

After five years of crippling farmer pain due to $1 milk the statistics show consumers arent even buying more white milk

Gary Helou

and yes the only person left smiling  in this photo is the man on the right (John Durkin) and yes he works for Coles. The other two Garry and Tony havent faired so well.

  

The Milk Maid Marian

Milk sales 20160825
Thank you. The most heartening thing about the Australian dairy crisis is the support ordinary Australians have shown for farmers. The remarkable graph above proves what we’ve all seen on supermarket shelves. Real people taking real action.

This graph showing the split between home brand and brand name milk sales comes from Dairy Australia analyst John Droppert, who has answered a handful of questions from Milk Maid Marian with some very telling numbers. Thank you, John! I have added quotes from John in italics. Because they were so fulsome, I have selected some highlights for you.

Is supermarket milk really important to dairy farmers?
To answer this question I asked Dairy Australia how much of the milk that leaves the farm gate ends up in cartons on supermarket shelves. Well, (with apologies to Lara Bingle) that depends on where the bloody hell you are. In Queensland, just about every…

View original post 1,015 more words

#DairyCrisis – the elephant in the room

Elephant in the Room

In my opinion the #DairyCrisis is a direct result of the industry not investing in the capacity of its farmers to navigate and lead the industry through the minefield that is doing business in the 21st century

I have been watching the peer appointed dairy industry leaders David Basham and Adam Jenkins with great admiration over the past months.

I am very exctied to say that I believe it is clear there is a new culture at the top of the national body  Australian Dairy Farmers and United Dairy Farmers of Victoria

‘Doom and gloom’ speak ( farmers need sympathy) has gone out the the door replaced by ‘We are all in this together. We can beat this. We have a vision for a bright future for Australian dairy farmers and we are going to work with government and the supply chain to make that happen’.

I just love how they are communicating with their farmers and keeping them in the loop. David with his weekly newsletter and Adam with his very quirky video Weekly Wrap.

I have watched with interest a new culture of women in dairy putting their hands up to invest in personal and professional development to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to lead the industry forward.

Kudos to those I know of personally including Lauren Peterson, Di Bowles , Cath Jenkins and Erika Chesworth ( new chair of NSW Farmers dairy committee). I have heard on the grapevine that many dairy women are doing the same.

Its time for industry to follow their lead. I have seen what other industries do. Cotton is highly committed to investing in its leadership development programs. Australian Wool Innovation has a very strong focus on investing in its young people.

These industries are leading the pack, its time dairy went into overdrive to catch up.  I have sat on far too many dairy committees where I knew I didn’t have the higher level skill sets necessary for me to take the lead. I would look around the table and go oh no oh dear all the farmers around me are in the same boat

So what sort of mid career programs do farmers need to move with confidence into leadership roles?

Comprehensive-leadership-1

We need programs that focus on the fundamentals of team engagement and handling difficult conversations from conflicting perspectives.

We need cross sectorial programs that would see dairy farmers network with other industries’ farmers and see what those industries are doing well and bring it back.

We need programs that support our dairy farmers to get a world view and see how other businesses beyond the agriculture sector thrive in a minefield

We need programs that help farmers understand complex leadership challenges and corporate governance responsibilities. On corporate governance kudos to The Cattle Council this year for providing the opportunity for a number of its young farmers to undertake the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course.

We do have a problem at federal government level with the Minister for Agriculture also ignoring the elephant in the room.  Whist he has put $900K on the table to help dairy farmers achieve rudimentary financial literacy skills he appears blind to the fact that investment in research, development and technology alone is NOT the panacea for a vibrant and resilient agriculture sector .

Farmers do have the power to guide Dairy Australia in the right direction. If our dairy farmers want a bright future for their industry its time to use that power.

 

Dairy – a whole lot of love

As the #DairyCrisis heads into a round-table between industry stakeholders and the Deputy PM  I am reflecting on the last 8 months journey for dairy farmers

Excitingly out of the negatives  can come so many positives especially if people analyse all the issues and directly address them with the aim of ‘putting the fight back in the dog’

And what a great segue that is to highlighting this wonderful initiative   

Black Dog Ride for Charity

Just yesterday this wonderful Facebook campaign started by a school in Vincentia on the NSW south coast who are selling bumper sticker they have designed to raise money for farmers appeared in my new feed. Check out Fight the $1 White here 

Fight the $1 white

The outpouring of #dairylove from the community has just been phenomenal

The grass roots driven initiative that just keeps on giving that has overwhelmed with its success is the Show some #dairylove Facebook page started by some very switched on and caring female dairy farmers from Victoria with the face of the page being Di Bowles.

Di Bowles

In fact, it has been a life saver for some farmers

This site has helped turn my life back around. I’m very much a loner ………. My biggest social outlet is Facebook.

And eye opener for some follower members of the wider community who have not traditionally been supporters of our industry.

What I have seen (on this Facebook site) does reassure me that on the whole,
most dairy farmers are decent, caring and genuine people

I have so many favourite postings on the site and I would like to invite Show some #dairylove Facebook followers to identify theirs for me to showcase here

 

Here are some I have recently shared on my Facebook page

#dairylove2

katherine botterill

#dairylove4

 

#dairylove3

#dairylove1

#dairylove

This one from Clancy Burn found here 

I look forward to filling this page with highlights

You can email me on  lynnestrong@art4agriculture or message me on Facebook here

 

FYI If you would like to follow this page you can make a request to Dianne here https://www.facebook.com/groups/1591950161115622/