Why my dad hates ANZAC day

I am lucky enough to be able to surround myself with some of the brightest, talented, most socially responsive, selfless and caring young people in agriculture

One of those young people Hannah Barber just sent me this …… I love it and I am confident you will too…………..

My father hates the tradition of ANZAC day.

Naturally, being a farmer, he hates the idea of any day when the rest of the country closes for business, because he never does. He hates the idea of young blokes getting drunk, gambling their money and making a mess of themselves in town. Most of all, my father hates that our country has relegated celebrating our gallant ANZAC’s, remembering their heroism and living up to the sacrifices they made for us, to just one day of the year.

My father loves the ANZAC’s. He loves reminding us of those who came before us, those who toiled sun up & sun down to make this country what it is today. “You have to know where you’ve come from to know where you’re going” – whether it’s knowing the hardships and blind loyalty of our ANZAC’s, or knowing my great-grandfather chopped through a pine forest and raised his family in a tent to establish our farm; knowledge of the past is inspiration for the future.

Hannah Barber and her dad

My father believes we should all live everyday as though it were ANZAC day. Every day we should be grateful for those who have given us this opportunity, this society.

Be grateful for the ANZAC’s who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

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Be grateful for the women who have forged the way to allow me to be a woman of the land, independent and choose my own career pathway

Be grateful for the teachers who fought for our rights so when I do eventually (hopefully) marry my strong, handsome farmer, I can stay in that occupation that I love so much.

Be grateful for my mother’s amazing ability to raise all of us in such a loving, giving household and be grateful for my father’s, grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s commitment to leave our land a little better than they found it each time.

Think of those who you ought to be grateful for and remember. Each and every day.

In the meantime, just for tomorrow, wake up early. Pull up your sowing rig or shed the picker if you’re in the cotton game, get the kids out of bed or give your housemate a nudge, and remember in the fashion Australians do best

Celebrate our mighty ANZAC’s. Let the ring of the last post stand your hair on end, don’t fight the tears as returned servicemen salute their fallen brothers. Feel the heat off the light horse as he powerfully strides by and soak up the rising sun over our lucky country as we rise in unison and promise “Lest We Forget”.

Well done Hannah its great to see young people inspiring young people to share your values

Hannah Barber inspiring

Stay Safe Be Safe

Grass is grass isn’t it? As it turns out no it’s not . Some grasses are slippery than others and more challenging for tractors

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The production of affordable, nutritious, safe milk for Australian families relies on our dairy farmers providing the best quality pasture for their cows to eat all year round. At times planting this pasture often has to be done under very challenging conditions and its not always as easy as it looks.

In our region farmers have been planting annual rye grasses since early March to ensure their cows have the best quality pasture during autumn, winter and spring that suits our climate and our soils Sprung

Sprung- this young cow thought she would just sneak through the fence and see if this brand new paddock of lush ryegrass was tasty enough and report her findings back to the farmer. MMMH maybe not she looked pretty guilty when she realised she had been spotted

The massive downpour our region has received over the last four days and the now new slippery landscape conditions is going to play havoc for the farmers on the steep hills who are yet to plant their rye grass

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Lessons learnt

Be safe

Stay safe

Check out what other farmers in Australia are planting on their farms here 

Farmers unite and celebrate – don’t give the bullies oxygen

Twitter can be great fun and yesterday I was enjoying some great cheeky banter between our dairy farmer tweeps and their networks when some-one send me a twitter feed with the comment “I see the bullies are at it again”.  It appears there was a side conversation happening.

Twitter can also be sad. Because of these side conversations there are a lot of wonderful people who are small farmers or farmer supporters who don’t feel welcome or feel they will be attacked in these side conversations. These disenfranchised people become twitter watchers rather than active participants so everyone else on twitter misses out on the wealth of knowledge they could share with us

Some-one else who saw the side conversation sent me this wonderful post Am I a Farmer.

I am reblogging it today as my tribute to all of those wonderful people who support farmers. The bullies will never go away. They live in their own little world where they self justify but please be assured the rest of us salute our passionate supporters

Everyone who loves the land and advocates for a a fair return on investment for the people who feed,clothe and put a roof over our heads has skin in the game. Today Savvy Farm girl helps celebrate your selfless contributions

Savvy Farm Girl blogs here and below is a reprint of her post Am I a farmer

This question, or a variation of it, has been posed to me multiple times over the past month, and it seems like a day hasn’t gone by I haven’t thought about it: “Do you consider yourself a farmer?”

At the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Conference in Toronto last month I was asked the question by a young woman in the audience. I responded, “yes, for the most part I do,” then continued to elaborate as to why I felt this way.

In many of the circles I frequent day-to-day, whether it be at work or with friends, I am as much a farmer as my parents, brothers, and my farming friends (real and online). In fact, I may be the only “farmer” they know. Many farmers likely have friends like this. My friends don’t know so much about the specifics of farming, but they know I do and if they want to know about dairy or grain farming, I’m the person they ask. They definitely don’t care that my income is not derived from the farm. Some have visited our farm after knowing how much I care about it, and they saw the same passion in my family. For them, knowledge and passion might be enough to justify why I fit the term.

Yet, for farmers it seems to be different. It feels like there are those among us that believe unless you earn your living from the land directly, you don’t “deserve” to call yourself a farmer. It leads to an “impostor syndrome” of its own. Even if I work with farmers in my job, if my family is all farming, I spend most weekends there, helping in the barn or field, I read almost exclusively about the agriculture industry and think of nearly nothing else; I am not a farmer in the eyes of other farmers.

Why do we do this to each other? Is it because we think you must have “skin in the game” to truly understand or care about the industry? Or are we just scared? Scared those who have time to commit to an industry may indeed make an impact and cause it to change? Status quo is so comfortable and farmers are often so busy with the day-to-day, there is little time to challenge it.

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This is exactly why my family has empowered me to speak on their behalf. I’m not on the farm everyday and if I was, I couldn’t do what I do or it would be exceptionally harder. For more reasons than just having the time too; physically, our farm is located further from the “hub” of Ontario agriculture than many others are and rural broadband can be unreliable. My parents also taught us to do what we love and for me, it’s all about talking – public speaking, networking, socializing, debating. I love them all. I’m not sure our cows nor my brothers would care for me to be at the farm everyday. Usually, they’re done listening to me after a weekend.

At the end of the day, “farmer” is still a label. It’s more than an occupation, because it also encompasses a lifestyle and a connection to the land many of us will never shake, but it is still a label. For me, it’s more important I uphold the values which were instilled in me growing up on a farm and do work which betters the lives of farmers I grew up with and the community I grew up in. This betterment could take many forms, but if my talents are used to their fullest by telling my farm story and speaking up for other farmers in pursuit of common goals, isn’t that what’s more important anyway? The income stream is just a means to achieve a goal and should not define who we are

Who is Savvy Farm Girl – you can read all about the wonderful and gutsy Jen Christie here

Who is Savvy Farmgirl?

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My name is Jen Christie. Thank you for checking out Savvy Farmgirl!

I grew up on a dairy and grain farm outside a small, rural Ontario town. As a kid, before I could head off to swimming lessons or the movies, the barn chores had to be done, the rocks picked or the hay unloaded. The work wasn’t easy but at the end of the day, it was rewarding to know you had accomplished something and we saw the fruits of our labour daily on the dinner table. Today, our 6th generation family farm is a busy spot, and I enjoy spending my free time there in the barn with the cows or in the tractor cab in the field.

So, that’s the farm girl. What about the savvy part?

I love marketing. I love networking. I love social media. I love challenging the status quo.

In my undergrad, I lived the mantra; “don’t let your schoolwork get in the way of your education.” I didn’t get it all right, but when other students went to the Agri-Marketing Conference competition in the U.S. to compete and party, I went to meet industry marketing leaders and be enlightened by the speakers. I learned about social media at one of those events before Twitter probably even existed.

These events gave me a deeper appreciation for marketing and cultured my fascination with branding. Working for one of the most widely known brands in the world, let alone, agriculture, allows me to see brand power at work everyday.

For me, social media’s power is amplifying brand promises. Hiding behind an avatar online is even more difficult than it is to hide behind a glossy advertisement. Those who aren’t leveraging social media are being passed in the marketplace by those who are connecting with customers who want to do business with them. Understanding that it’s no longer possible to be perceived as the best, brands literally have to be the best at what they do in the eyes of those who love them is creating a great opportunity in every industry today. Including agriculture.

For me, this means constantly challenging the status quo in agriculture. We can always be better and there is literally nothing that can’t be improved in our industry. When I decided to go back to school for my EMBA and my father asked why, my response was; “If I’m not going forward, I’m going backward.”

This mindset has created an insatiable curiosity about the definition of sustainable agriculture and the social licence with which farmers operate. It perplexes me the world has as many obese people with too much to eat as it does hungry people, dying from not enough to eat. Agriculture plays a role in changing this dynamic, and I believe it’s all of our issue to own and address individually, in our home and on our farms.

I love the lifestyle farming has and continues to offer our family. I seek to promote this everyday in my career, my community through speaking opportunities and online. If you’ve followed my blog or think this sounds like something you’d like me to work with your organization on, let’s chat. I’d love to see how we can work together

Industry image – “Are we talking about the porn industry or Ag sector?”

It appears my blog last Monday When farmers are their own worst enemy  has opened the door for agriculture to have the open and honest conversations about industry image (and how to best leverage the great opportunities when they present themselves) its been wanting to have for quite some .

Source See The Land 16th April 2015 See Footnote

Conversations have definitely started. See Andrew Norris Editor of  The Land opinion piece here

I know the sections of the dairy industry and the exhibitors who contacted me are currently 100% committed to working together with the RAS to ensure the Sydney Royal Easter Show provides the best experience for showgoers, exhibitors and the industry.

Well done Dairy Australia, Holstein Australia and the RAS for being quick off the mark. Please dont forget to reconnect with Mike Logan CEO of Dairy Connect who two years ago put forward a brilliant Sydney Royal Easter Show Dairy Experience Extraordinaire strategy that included the milk processors that I believe would be the perfect centrepoint to grow from.

I grew up on a farm and am like Oxley too quite amused by lingo that I hear from time to time.Poor dairy is the focal point this week but our industry is no different to anyone else. Phrases that jumped out at Oxley on dairy cattle show day was cows being described as ‘Oozing dairyness’ and having “silky udders”

Oxley

 Source: The Land 16th April 2015 Oxley the Explorer Opinion Page 16

North Coast ABC journalist and presenter Kim Honan found herself at the centre of a potential pornography scandal when she dared to post pictures of cow udders she took at a local show on Facebook.

Dairy Cattle Judging

As you can see from this extract from the Dairy Judging Workbook the perfect cow is a multifaceted beast carefully blended from head to toe with her udder attracting 40% of her overall score.  What the judge and every dairy farmer is looking for is a cow with an udder that shows characteristics for a high milk yield and a long productive life. The udder is deemed so important that there is even a prize for the “best uddered cow”

Best uddered cow

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Now I dont judge dairy cattle but it would appear that ‘oozing dairyness and silkiness’ is a quick summary for all those characteristics listed above.

Kim’s situation reminded me of a conversation I had a number of years with my local council economic development officer. At that time the local dairy industry had put together a very professional magazine to promote local dairy genetics to international buyers

Now for those who have never seen a stud dairy cattle magazine and suddenly see one that features pictures of udder after udder you could understand his first reply. ‘My goodness this looks like cow porn’

Best udddered cow

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So when we farmers think about it, its time for mutual respect – it is clear the general public might be forgiven for thinking we say the odd ‘silly’ thing ourselves

On a lighter note this little titbit from The Australian April 17th 2015 in Andrew Mann’s  MARGIN CALL column

Dirty, smelly, ‘sexy’
The twitterati were out in force at the GFF but it was a clear no contest
as to who produced the tweet of the day.
In a panel of the nation’s top food processors lamenting about how hard it was to get quality talent on to the land, JBS Australia boss Brent Eastwood remarked how many in
agriculture had “good faces for radio’’, to which Dairy Connect chief executive Mike Logan added by way of explanation that “It’s dirty, it’s smelly, it’s hot”.
It prompted this tweet from the Camm Agricultural Group’s young dynamo Bryce Camm: “Are we talking about the porn industry or Ag sector? Sounds pretty sexy to me!’’

Footnote

Re The Land 16th April 2015 story correction

My blog was written 24 hours before show day. The ‘mystery shopper’ experience was through the cattle sheds not on show day. Show Day is a whole different ball game and the breeders ability to exhibit with as little stress as possible needs to be factored very high on the list of engagement strategies for show day

It’s about telling the story in the right way, for the right audience. Because after all – don’t we all love a good yarn?

There is an interesting story behind why I started writing my blog. I just happened to find myself in a workshop full of agricultural industry communication managers who declared the best people to talk about agriculture are farmers ( very true) and they should all write blogs ( beg your pardon- surely you are not serious??? ).

I was furious. Yes farmers are born bloggers. Of course we are – we are jacks of all trades. There is nothing we can’t do and we shout it from the roof tops.

Well the first thing we farmers need to learn is to stop telling everyone we are experts at everything and start outsourcing the expertise we don’t have.

Whilst I was a bit nervous that my blog “when farmers are their own worst enemy’ yesterday would incur the wrath of the gods it turned out 100% of my readers agreed that perhaps dairy cattle stud breeders aren’t the ideal people to be the face of our industry at the event of the year that attracts almost one million of the most important people on the planet – the people who buy what we (farmers) produce.

From all the feedback I received from dairy cattle exhibitors, exhibitors from other industries, farmers, the media  and the general public everyone agreed that being the face of your industry is a specialised skill not suited to the majority. This feedback clearly indicated agriculture had sooner rather than later think very seriously about how stud exhibitors and agricultural shows fit into their industry strategic, communication or social licence plans.

Cotton Australia is the peak body for Australia’s cotton growing industry. Currently Cotton Australia is seeking Young Farming Champions. The role of a Young Farming Champion is to be the youth face of their industry.

Young Farming Champions are people who

  • Are passionate about the agriculture industry;
  • Want to share stories with urban Australians to improve their understanding of sustainable food and fibre production, and in turn improve their understanding of urban consumers;
  • Are interested in being trained to speak confidently and charismatically to school students, the general public and fellow industry leaders;
  • Want to become part of a network of vibrant, young rural people who are encouraging consumers to value, be proud of and support the Australian farmers who feed and clothe them.

As part of the application process applicants are asked to write a blog post for Art4AgricultureChat. Obviously candidates like today’s guest blogger Andrea Crothers below will stand out from the crowd BUT being the face of your industry IS a skill that can be taught.

It definitely isn’t a skill everyone will master but it can be taught (by technical experts) if you want it badly enough. I for one wanted it badly enough that I was willing to put my heart and soul on the line for it.

I will never claim to be a journalist but my blog is a testament to my passion and commitment. My content in this documentary is testament to the years of technical expertise I sought to fine tune my message and do my very best to do my industry proud

I will also be the first person to acknowledge when people like Andrea come along we need to grab them with both hands and celebrate them.

Andrea is just one example of the very talented young people in the Cotton industry putting their hands up to take up this offer. She may not be chosen for the Young Farming Champions program as they may decide to use her talents elsewhere but they will see her for what she is an expert in her field and one hell of a story teller.

What all agriculture industries need to ask themselves is:

  • How do we identify the talent?
  • How do we engage the talent?
  • How do we invest in the talent
  • How do we nurture the talent?
  • How do we retain the talent?
  • How do we sustain the talent?

Well the answer to that must start with asking the talent and there is no denying there is plenty of it out there

Meet Andrea Crothers …….. 

Incredibly driven, cheeky and willing to talk to just about anyone.

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Andrea ( on right) and colleague standing in a field of cotton 

As a journalist for one of Queensland’s leading agricultural news outlets, I thrive on telling other people’s stories. So when faced with the daunting task of sharing my own, I thought I’d better turn to my own friends to give me some descriptors. The words competitive, tenacious and occasionally blonde (not all together thankfully) also ranked highly.

Based in Brisbane, I enjoy the best of both worlds as I frequently hit the beaten track to share some of rural Queensland’s cracking yarns for a living. So how does a dandy lass from Dirranbandi end up here? Well, nature and nurture both played a part.

I was five years old when I made my first big life decision.

My father was planting one of his first ever cotton crops on our family owned and operated property, “Booligar”, 44km south-west of Dirranbandi.

Unaware he was sowing the seeds for a family love affair with cropping’s white gold, he happily allowed his three young children – my two older sisters and I – to ride alongside him in the tractor cab.

Typically, it was a small and confined cab – one that usually only has room for the operator in centre position, a small and patient passenger to their left, a lunch box and water bottle by their feet, and a mixture of clunky tools and oily rags thrown into the limited space behind the seat.

So wedged behind the tractor’s driver’s seat, I lay head-to-toe next to my eldest sister, Caitlin, cramped up against the back window with Dad’s tools.

Meanwhile, our other sister, Lauren (my twin) was proudly perched on the passenger seat beside our father.

There and then I decided if I was going to be doing laps in that tractor all day, I wanted to upgrade to prime position where I could be amid all of the action. That’s something that has carried through my entire life.

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 Virtually raised in the back of a tractor, I developed an early love for cotton.

 Backed by 150 years of family farming

It was the 1990s. My parents, Douglas and Lorraine Crothers, in partnership with Dad’s brother and his wife, had recently completed purchasing the family property only to be thrashed with one of Queensland’s worst droughts on record.

The original block was purchased by two brothers, Henry and Thomas Crothers, in 1864. Backed by three generations of Crothers’ brothers, mothers and others, Dad always said how special it was to live and work the very same land our ancestors had for what is now 151 years.

Prepare Plant Produce

It’s in his hands and in his blood – Dad’s the fourth generation to live and work on “Booligar”.

The 11,253 hectare (27,800 acre) property had always been a sheep and cattle station, with diversification into cropping coming later.

It was with the harsh drought of the 1990s, followed by a humdinger of a flood in 1996, that pushed the family to fully explore intensive row cropping to ensure Booligar’s financial sustainability.

They planted their first cotton crop, irrigated, late in 1996 when I was only three years old.

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 1997: Donald and Douglas Crothers (Dad) with their first cotton crop. Photo: Queensland Country Life.

Like most farm kids, we pumped poly pipes to irrigate the crop as early as our little hands could fit over the mouth of the siphon (my competitive streak proved handy in racing my sisters to complete a water shift).

With my cousins, we’d wake early to walk up and down furrows, chipping weeds out of the cotton fields in the cool of the morning.

There was also the dreaded stick picking – walking up and down bare developed paddocks to clear remaining timber that would affect machinery and equipment working the field.

These tasks, though arduous at times, were always made worth it when we saw the crop progress.

In March, the familiar white specs of cotton would creep across the green glow of fully grown crops.

Bolls of fluffy white gold burst open until the entire crop was a field of glorious white. And every year, when we jumped in the cotton picker with the contractors, grasped a big bundle of cotton spilt on the module pad or reviewed the ginned product with Dad; we shared a sense of pride in producing something magnificent from the land on which we lived.

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 Cotton is Queensland’s fourth highest-value cropping commodity, but the most rewarding by far at “Booligar”.

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 Cotton picking at St George and Dirranbandi occurs March-April. The introduction of round module pickers (pictured)in the last few years have greatly improved efficiency and safety.

 A craving for rural storytelling

ABC radio playing in the background, politics frequenting dinner conversations, and the Queensland Country Life newspaper received in the mail were all symbols of my childhood that have driven my thirst for rural news.

My burning desire to find out ‘why’, and how issues affect those on all sides of the story, drove my parents crazy throughout my childhood.

Being sent away to boarding school on the Gold Coast – the complete opposite of my one-teacher primary school at Hebel – was a fantastic opportunity to gain greater understanding of urban Australia. It also helped me unconsciously create contacts to open the dialogue of communication between the regions.

One might say the beach is hard to turn your back on, but studying near the ocean has only made me appreciate the country even more.

This was particularly realised when I returned to Dirranbandi for a working gap year in 2011.

Stepping off the family farm and into a corporate farming operation just up the road, I took the opportunity to work on Australia’s largest cotton producing property, Cubbie Station. I was the only female in my team, but that didn’t stop me from getting in and having a go. The region is recognised for producing some of the best quality fibre in the world. What stuck is that it takes an entire community to earn that badge.

A few years later I was able to combine two loves – cotton and journalism.

Returning to the region on university holidays, I did a bug checking season under a local agronomist. We’d start at 4.30am, trudging through muddy cotton crops all day to collect field data.

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Bug checking cotton during its growth involves extensive data collection from which an agronomist will consult a grower on crop care.

Any spare moment I had I was in the office of the local newspaper, where I focussed on using my local knowledge to bring more agricultural stories through.

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Reliving my grape harvest days while covering a story for the local paper.

 It was one of many internships I eagerly completed over 10 months – including WIN News Sunshine Coast, WIN News Toowoomba, and Queensland Country Life – before being offered an interview with my current workplace.

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Catching up with good friend and WIN News Toowoomba Chief-of-Staff Caitlin Holding at the Brisbane Royal Show in 2014 – one year after she’d encouraged me to pursue a career as a rural reporter.

 And now I couldn’t be happier! Working as a rural reporter has further ignited my passion for agriculture and rural Australia.

It has granted me a position to interact with all areas of the industry. What I have learnt so far is driving my ambition to make rural news a greater part of mainstream media.

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 I’m very fortunate my work takes me across the state to shine a light on agricultural stories. Pictured here with a colleague in cotton seed at a feedlot near Roma.

 The bigger picture: putting rural news in focus

It’s clear family farming has been important in shaping Australia’s agricultural landscape.

But just as the Crothers’ family have adapted their lifestyle to ensure our property’s sustainability and continued business growth, so is the need to adapt the way agricultural stories are told.

There is a thirst for rural affairs news in metropolitan areas – there’s no denying that.

But the content needs to be digestible. Our goal as rural reporters hoping to penetrate mainstream media is to package agricultural news stories in different ways, for different audiences.

That doesn’t mean becoming public relations tools for agriculture. Rather, it means finding those great stories within the agricultural industries and sharing them.

You only need to look at cotton to see there’s an abundance of content: adoption of biotechnology, pest management practices, global market competition from synthetic fibres, demand for increased water efficiency, succession planning and the role of foreign investment in agriculture.

It’s about telling the story in the right way, for the right audience.

Because after all – don’t we all love a good yarn?

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When farmers are their own worst enemy

The Sydney Royal Easter Show has been running for the last 10 days. The show attracts close to one million people every year

It is a phenomenal opportunity for farmers to engage with “showgoers” aka general public aka consumers. Those all important people who buy what we produce.

Sydney Royal Easter Show - the audience

Our audience – Opportunity gained? Opportunity lost? Source  

I have been exhibiting at the show since I was eight years old and been involved in various community engagement activities at the Show for the past 10 years.

2008 Dairy activities in Cattle Pavilion

Farm to Fridge Painting Wall

Farm to Fridge Activities

As a farmer in reality I should see exhibiting as a community engagement activity – shouldn’t I?

For example if I was a dairy cattle exhibitor impacted by $1/litre milk sales

  • I would be signing up to be at the show on the most popular days at the show for the general public.
  • I would be doing everything in my power to have conversations with everyone who walked past to show them that I am one of those people that supply their families with nutritious, affordable and safe milk.
  • I would do everything I could to show them that I care for my animals.
  • I would be doing everything I could to show them that I am passionate about the scarce natural resources that my cows graze on.
  • I would do everything I could to ensure those people who walk past me and my cows at the show go home with an emotional bond that makes them think twice what milk they select when they walk into the supermarket.

Last night I had a call from some-one I know well in marketing. It was a very blunt phone call.

He said ‘Has your industry ever thought about the fact that your dairy farmer stud cattle exhibitors at the Sydney Royal Easter Show are doing it more harm than good?”

I said “What do you mean?”

He said “I wandered around the stud dairy cattle pavilion for 45 mins watching how the dairy farmers engaged with the general public. Whilst some do generally engage when they are spoken to, the rest give off this elite aura and some are just plain rude”

I did jump to their defence and said meekly “well they have put in a great deal time, money and effort to get their cows there and they are all pretty much focused on the blue ribbon and tend to find the general public a distraction”

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Sadly he is not the first person to say this. So what does our industry do to engage with the public?

Well our industry doesn’t do anything but the RAS of NSW certainly does and the face of both of these very impressive activities are young people very passionate about the dairy industry who aren’t farmers.

There is the Dairy Farmers Milking Barn promoted as

an interactive and fun experience for the whole family. With demonstrations throughout the day, showgoers can learn about how farmers care for cattle, what the animals eat to stay healthy, milking hygiene and how dairy technology has advanced over the past 200 years.

Showgoers will also have the opportunity to hand-milk some of the gentle, good-natured cows and interact with the farmers.

I have stood and watched as Luke and his team entertain and inform the crowd and it’s outstanding

Also on offer for showgoers and equally popular is the Dairy Farmers Working Dairy promoted as an opportunity to see the on farm technology that is second step in the process of getting milk, butter and cheese from the grassy meadow paddock to the breakfast table?

In an amazing display of modern agricultural technology in action, The Dairy Farmers Working Dairy offers a behind-the-barn-door look at the workings of a modern dairy.

Showgoers will see state-of-the-art machinery in operation, watch as cows are milked and see how today’s dairy farmers monitor their herd for maximum performance.

Visit The Dairy Farmers Working Dairy and the nearby The Dairy Farmers Milking Barn for a look at the incredible changes that modern technology has brought to the business of agriculture.

At the Dairy Farmers Working Dairy the showgoers get to see the exhibitors cows milked.

The face of the Dairy Farmers Milking Barn is a young veterinarian and multi-media megastar Cassie MacDonald

Cassie MacDonald working dairy

– again like Luke and his team she gives a world class stellar performance.

But do these exhibitions leave a long lasting emotional bond that translates into branded milk sales? After all they are pitched as the opportunity to see the technology?

Technology is a thing. Extensive social research tells us people relate to people

Are the dairy cattle stud exhibitors doing themselves more harm than good?

Well that’s a question for industry and ultimately those farmers themselves to decide and do something about.

Milk Bottles

Milk is milk no matter how it is branded or is it?

BTW Other industries are doing some amazing “showgoer’ engagement activities at the show. I will blog about those shortly

Footnote

This post has had 50 Facebook shares in 15 minutes of it being posted. Many of these comments are very concerning. Are showgoers idiots? I don’t think so. How many stupid questions would farmers ask if they went to their workplaces. Why cant we see that the difference between farmers and everyone else it we were lucky enough to grow up surrounded by agriculture . Its time to show some respect and thank the people who buy what we produce and stop wasting massive opportunities like this one Facebook Commentsand this Facebook posting from Robin says it all don’t you think?- if you are going to turn up make the most of it

Robin on Facebook

Sustainability is a hard to sell

Here is a great article by Steve Spencer from Fresh Agenda that I am unashamedly reblogging

Getting the pitch right

Sustainability is a hard to sell – in spite of being important to consumers.

Socially and environmentally conscious attitudes are gaining ground – thanks to media campaigns for years around environmental sustainability. But corresponding purchases and behaviours are stagnating or even heading south.

The National Geographic’s Greendex 2014 survey on Consumer Choice and the Environment across 18 countries found that though the number of global consumers who say they are very concerned about the environment (61%) has increased since 2012, sustainable purchasing behaviour has actually decreased in key markets such as US, Germany, Japan, Canada, and China.

But why aren’t consumers putting their money where their sustainable aspirations are?

The answer lies somewhere in the gap between what consumers say they want and what they actually buy.

The Sustainable Lifestyles Frontier Group – established to confront this “value-action” gap – says the problem isn’t with consumer values but with the value offered by brands. Over the years, consumers have been cajoled, coerced, and guilt-tripped by marketers into doing the “right” thing for the higher purpose of sustainability, for planetary or collective benefits.

However for most sustainable products and behaviours, the hard question of “what’s in it for me?” is still largely unanswered – with the most important personal value proposition still missing. On a day to day basis, purchasing decisions are centred on an individual’s own priorities and the immediate needs of their family.

While values, ethics and beliefs are hugely important when making major life decisions but how decisive a role do they play when choosing shampoo.

Shoppers are most likely to be motivated to buy a sustainable product if they also see a personal benefit.

That benefit could be functional with the promise of value for money, performance, quality, and safety; demonstrating emotional, such as delivering an intangible hit of emotion; or social which helps make a statement about the shopper to the world.

Even tiny direct benefits could close the gap and lead to behaviour change – such as sustainable eating (with less pesticides or unhealthy food additives) can lead to weight loss, or natural body care products will smell nicer and are gentle for sensitive skin.

It may seem at odds with the sustainability mantra – surely doing the right thing by the planet and future generations should be enough to persuade people to change their purchases and other behaviours. However, the more pragmatic approach is to recognise that sustainable brands also need to deliver personal and immediate benefits – even if they’re small – to cut through.