Why I blog and why do 10,155  people follow my blog 

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I get asked a lot why I blog and do I know who follows me

Why I blog varies from blog to blog and why people are interested in what I say I imagine is just as diverse

I blog when I feel some-one or something has been wronged, I blog when I feel proud of something or some-one, I blog for all the people out their striving to see the bright light in a sea of darkness, I blog for the people who share my vision and look to me to amplify it.

And I blog for history as my blogs are being recorded in the National Archives

My most popular blogs are

Barnaby Joyce has jumped off the cliff of no return

Coles it’s tough being the villain in the story 

10 Reasons why the world should buy Australian produce

What makes milk froth

My blog started as an experiment. I wanted to know how much time and expertise it took to blog after finding myself at a meeting of agriculture’s Research and Development Corporations senior people.

In late 2011 there was close to 50 people sitting around the room at a presentation being given by Charlie Arnot from the Centre for Integrity  There was a consensus in the room that the voices of our farmers should be amplified and a number of people suggested that farmers should start writing blogs. My mouth just dropped open and I just couldn’t help myself and in my blunt manner I said.

Okay if farmers are going to find the time to do this who in the room is going to support them? Just to start with you need a blogging platform and considerable amount of expertise to navigate that blogging platform.

I got a sea of Julie Bishop death stares, so I taught myself to blog.

One of the things that I blog about a lot is the need for building the capacity of our farmers to operate their businesses in a manner that will allow them to consistently and profitably meet or exceed community expectations. I will go so far as to say the fact that to date we haven’t built that capacity is the biggest threat to our food security in this country. And it is under threat. For the first time ever there is the reality we will be importing milk into this country

After 15 years of lobbying for the programs and support networks to build this capacity in our farmers I spend far too much time reminding myself of the few wins and tapping into my support network that helps me get out of bed in the morning.

Some questions we can ask ourselves

What does the community expect from our farmers beyond safe, affordable nutritious food and quality natural fibres?

How do we ensure our farmers have the capacity to meet or exceed community expectations?

Where are the gaps in our training programs?

What support networks do our farmers need?

Having worked outside agriculture for 25 years I know how other industries meet or exceed consumer expectations. It can be done. It starts with a willingness to acknowledge why its important.

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83% Of Consumers Rate Transparency & Ethical Behaviour As Greatest Trust Builders

 

 

 

Droughts and flooding rains are highlighting the Voices of talented Youth in Agriculture

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When I came back to the farm in 2001 from a career in pharmacy I was quick to realise milking cows was not my forte. I wanted to contribute beyond underwriting the business financially when cash flow was short. In the Australian dairy industry that happens far too often and far too often it has nothing to do with poor business management skills. 

I decided I would use the marketing and consumer insights skills I learnt in pharmacy to see if I could find a tribe of people who shared my passion to ensure that the product farmers produce was genuinely valued by everyone in the supply chain.

Interestingly enough that tribe came from outside the dairy industry and they were all under 40. After 15 years that tribe is growing exponentially and I couldn’t be more proud. To be honest it couldn’t come at a better time. My advocacy role was seriously starting to impact on my health and what is extra special the young people in the tribe could see that and wow have they stepped up.

Australia has a leadership problem. Far too many of our politicians are a disgrace. To address our leadership problem the tribe of young people I have surrounded myself with have reached out to other bright young minds in the agriculture sector ( and there is no shortage of them) to create a new agriculture grass roots youth led leadership model. Its called Cultivate- Empowering Influencers.

Initially it is a partnership between the Youth Voices Leadership Team of the Young Farming Champions and the NFF2030 leaders who advocate under the banner of This is Aus Ag . That partnership will grow. Its a model based on collaboration. Its a model for the bright future of agriculture and this country as a whole.

However not everything is rosy – its time my generation stepped up. I have found agriculture’s squeaky wheels are determined that anybody who advocates on their behalf must be resilient and the friendly fire to help you do that can be vicious.  Agriculture has far too many people who sit on the sidelines and criticise.  If you don’t think the people who lead your organisation are delivering then do something about it besides whinge.

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Ht Jo

Lets start with investing in our young people to ensure they have the capacity to lead within the highly complex supply chain vagaries of the 21st century.

What skills do they need?.

Do we have programs that meet those needs?.

Do we have the support networks and the people within those networks who can mentor, inspire, coach and connect them with other like minded thinkers?

If not invest your valuable time ensuring we do.  Decide what your legacy will be. Are the people in your tribe supporting a positive future for agriculture or they contributing to the friendly fire.

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Ht Anika

Are you part of a youth group that loves to collaborate with other bright young minds?

FYI The Youth Voices Leadership team and their collaborating partners are also working on a model for policy development immersion workshops and mentor support. They also have a number of new advocacy programs and school education programs incubating. Don’t hesitate to reach out. We are all in this together and we are #StrongerTogether

What sort of person professes to love animals yet abuses people?

Yesterday I saw this tweet from Fiona Simson in my feed. In made me feel sick in the stomach

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What sort of person professes to love animals yet seems to think that gives them a licence to abuse people?

The next issue of RM Williams Outback Magazine will share Fiona Simson’s story. I am looking forward to it. She fascinates me. What sort of resilience does it take to be president of the National Farmers Federation? What sort of resilience does it take to be on her team? How often does agriculture say thank you to these people?

Also in my feed yesterday was a fabulous quote from Young Farming Champion Jasmine Whitten tagging the people she values in her circle. I know lots of young people like Jasmine and I am very grateful they are in my circle.

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Fiona must have a huge circle of support as well because she is one very brave, courageous woman.

Looking forward to 2019 being the year we #culitivatekindness #strongertogether

Hannah Wandel for Prime Minister

Last night Hannah Wandel an extraordinary young Australian was acknowledged for her quest to empower young rural women with the 2019 ACT Young Australian of the Year Award. Read the post Hannah wrote for Art4AgricultureChat here .

I love working with Hannah. To me she epitomises everything that is good and right in the world.  It gets better Australia, her long term vision is to represent you in parliament.

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Today in Western Australia Catherine Marriott, Tracey Spicer and Skye Sanders are holding the #USToo luncheon to raise funds to support women who are not prepared to walk past sexual harassment behaviour any longer. Like many well known and highly respected women Hannah stood shoulder to shoulder with Catherine

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I was moved by this article written by Daisy Turnbull Brown to her modern history class of 2018. It will resonate with everyone around the world who stands for what is good and kind. It will resonate with everyone who is on a quest for change.

Daisy says

Not all of you will be news junkies like I am, not all of you will be politically active. But please be anything but apathetic. Spend ten minutes a day knowing what is happening in the world. Listen to the radio. Listen to podcasts. Read the news, argue with your friends, watch shows like Tonightly & the Project. Find a handful of issues that you are passionate about and become experts in them. Know that policies made today might affect you in 20 years.

I hope a few of you will go into public service. Be more than a political hack. Earn a crust, learn the efficiencies of business and apply them to politics, not the other way round.

But most importantly, know that despite everything, kindness will triumph. That dictators rise but they always fall. Apathy is the enemy of history. And you are more equipped than most to see what is happening and do something about it.

History has its eyes on you, ….  never stop asking questions.

and taking a leaf out of Hannah Wandel and Catherine Marriott’s history book today.

“Here’s to strong women.

May we know them.

May we be them.

May we raise them.

May we champion them”

 

#strongwomen #strongtogether

Thank you Bruce McIntosh

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Bruce McIntosh. Photo source 

Have you ever looked at the world around you and thought…

Why am I finding things so hard?

Have you ever found your inner voice asking again and again and yet again

Surely there must be something else?

Surely there’s something more in this life for you?

And…

somewhere in all this you guiltily reflect

About all that you do have

You remind yourself how very grateful you should be

And yet your inner voice continues to irritate, and nag and ask

What else is there?

What new journey will you embark upon?

What new worlds will you explore?

Back in 2004 I decided it was time to do more than just ruminate

I decided to act

I decided to move beyond the familiarity and comfort of my little world

I decided that my journey was to improve the world for other people

So…What was my starting point?

My world is a dairy farm on the side of a mountain at Jamberoo

This is the view from my front Verandah

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I can see for miles across the Pacific Ocean.

When the sun comes up it looks even better than this

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It looks idyllic doesn’t it but as the never-ending drought stories remind us farming can be a tough gig

As I watched the seasons come and go

Watched my family get out of bed every morning at 3am to start another long day’s toil

I developed a burning desire to re-imagine the way the community values our farmers and what they produce

If you want to make a difference you have to shine a spotlight on your cause.

To quote Richard Branson “No-one is successful alone”

Building a network for personal growth in the 21st century hinges on connecting and collaborating with the right people, openly sharing knowledge and insights with individuals who understand at a deeper level our goals and aspirations and who nurture a collective interest in our growth and that of the whole group. Its only when we learn to move together that we start to move faster

One of the early people in my network was Bruce McIntosh. RIP Bruce McIntosh 1928-2018.

Bruce was one of two people on The RAS of NSW Cattle Council who took me under their wing and listened to my big ideas for revamping of the dairy cattle judging and promotion of dairy at the show. He encouraged me to join forces with others, utilise  collective skills and experience, to add new connections and insights and communicate the support I needed to step into the future.

Bruce was a big picture thinker who gave his time and expertise freely, because he knew that by doing this the pie gets bigger for everyone.

Thank you Bruce I am very grateful you came into my life.

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I am devastated – Milk Industry Champion puts farm up for sale

I am just devastated by this announcement Our Farm in up for Sale

Never has the Australian dairy industry had such a champion. The industry so needs visionary people like Marian Macdonald

Marian MacDonald

I declare Marian to be the best thing that has ever happened to the Australian dairy industry.

She is Wonder Woman personified

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This is a huge gap in the advocacy sphere.

Who will step up to fill this cavernous gap?

 

 

 

Saluting the majestic Catherine Marriott.  Join us #StandwithMaz say #Time4Change and Vote 1 for #Moralintegrity 

With the hashtag #WhyIdidntreportit trending today I am a truly grateful for the majestic Catherine Marriott. She epitomises every single quality of the 7 types of people I want to surround myself with.

1) The inspired
2) The passionate
3) The motivated
4) The grateful
5) The open minded
6) The courageous #StandwithMaz
…..and the ones that make you smile, especially when you need it the most

There is a great article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald by @JacquelineMaley Good girls: absurd to expect women to respect systems which don’t serve them and using this quote from the article.

It is increasingly absurd to expect women to respect systems which not only don’t serve them, but which actively sabotage them when they try to do right.

The systems may seem immovable, but the atmosphere around them is changing.

More and more, the people who say women should shut up about it, or put up with it, or get over it, or bury it, are being answered with an unwelcome word: No.

I want to send this message to everyone out there who think all of the rural women and men who know and love Maz ( as she is affectionately called) will stop calling out poor behaviour and go away.

We will not.

We will #StandwithMaz until there is change.

Until Moral Integrity is revered in the National and Liberal Parties over Power

The behaviour you walk past is the standard you accept and as Barack Obama reminded us all yesterday the consequences of any of us sitting on the sidelines are far more dangerous. It might be some-one you love next.

Join us #StandwithMaz say #Time4Change and Vote 1 for #Moralintegrity 

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