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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Catherine Marriott’s tribe of Influential Women have begun their crusade against sexual harassment

It took eight months for the NSW National Party to make this decision 
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Very few words on paper.
I imagine lots and lots of words behind the scenes.
I wonder what their crisis management team thought would happen next?
Did they take into account just how feisty those Rural, Regional and Remote women are in Western Australia?
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Did they take into account that in the last six years Catherine Marriott has inspired a nationwide tribe of Influential Women who have found their voices?
A movement of women who know that speaking up is a super power and more women need too, and want to be heard.
And heard they will be.
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Join us for Perth’s landmark #USTOO luncheon as leaders in Australia’s crusade against sexual harassment will share their lessons learnt, experiences, insights and inspiration to keep creating change.

What is it? Why does it happen? And, how do we bring it to an end?

Keynote speakers include co-founder of Now Australia Tracey Spicer AM and former Rural Woman of the Year Catherine Marriott.

On Wednesday 31 October 2018 at 11:45am

LOCATION

The Westin Perth
480 Hay Street, Perth, Western Australia 6000

You can book here 

It is time to set a new standard of behaviour.  This starts with our politicians setting the right example.

We can all raise our voices and be heard and ensure that our politicians both reflect and are accountable to modern values.

#USTOO #StrongerTogether #StrongWomen #StandwithMaz

No more Pity Parties – One Australian farmer feeds 700 people – its time to celebrate

At least once a week for the past three months I have been receiving calls from print and TV journalists asking for recommendations of farmers to participate in drought stories.

My first question is, “What is your angle?” and if the answer is clearly a “pity story” then I say I don’t have farmers in my network who want to share pity stories.

Over the last five years I have made a deliberate decision to surround myself with farmers who share stories of hope. Because it’s hope that gets me out of bed every day.

When farmers share stories of hope they are not ignoring the fact that the drought is tough.  They are NOT saying, “It’s hard, just get on with it.” What they are doing is sowing seeds of resilience.

When you share positive stories of drought farming strategies that have worked for you, there is a chance somebody, maybe several people, will read your story and think, “Maybe that might work on my farm.”  They are not saying they have all the answers, but they may have one. Not everyone’s farming situation is the same, so we need lots of farmers from everywhere sharing their drought strategies. The more we share with each other the more we can learn from each other.

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Compassionate wise words from Jan Davis and farmer stories of hope in The Australian here  

Farming today is a big gig. Farmers can’t do it alone, we need each other and government, business and the community working side by side with us. What we don’t need is PITY. Pity doesn’t give anyone a reason to get out of bed in the morning. And pity doesn’t solve problems.

Project based learning is the 21st Century teaching technique being promoted in schools. This method of teaching mobilises students to work together to rethink their world and solve tomorrow’s problems today. The Archibull Prize is project-based learning that brings together art and agriculture. When we invite the students to partner with farmers to design a food secure future, this is the information we give them:

Some little-known facts:

  • In Australia, farmers make up less than 1% of the population, yet they provide 93% of food that is consumed here.
  • 25% of our farms produce 70% of our food
  • Our wool farmers harvest 80% of the world’s fine Merino wool, and our cotton farmers clothe 500 million people.
  • Our farmers look after 60% of the Australian landscape and the majority of Australia’s natural biodiversity. Hence our farmers are both our largest biodiversity managers and our source of food and fibre.
  • Less than 6% of Australia’s landscape is suitable for growing crops and fruit and vegetables.
  • In 1950 one Australian farmer fed 20 people. Today one Australian farmer feeds 700 people using less land. But there is no denying this hasn’t come without an impact on the environment.
  • Yes, we have a lot of land. But we are also the hottest, driest inhabited continent. 35% of this country receives so little rainfall, it is classified as desert.

Australia is one of only a handful of countries that produces more food than it consumes, producing food for around 60 million people, and most Australians have access to an abundant and safe food supply. This makes Australian farmers important to everyone. A thriving modern agricultural sector can be a lasting source of prosperity and an effective and efficient steward of Australia’s landscapes, natural resources and ecosystems.

Australia is also considered one of the most vulnerable developed countries in the world to impacts of the changing climate, already 22% more climatically variable than any other country. Rising temperatures, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, and declining water availability in some of our most important agricultural regions pose significant risks for the nature, distribution, quality, and affordability of our food supply.

The problems are complex and there is no single model solution. Making well-informed and timely decisions will help farming businesses prepare, build resilience and manage risks, regardless of the challenges ahead.

The solutions lie in farmers, consumers, businesses, scientists and government working together to:

  1. Fill the food production gaps

For example:

    • Wise use of fertiliser and water – more crop per drop.
    • Increase yields through improvement in plant and animal science.
    • Doing more with less i.e. producing more grain/cotton per hectare of land, more milk per cow, more kg of beef per cow, more grass per hectare of land, more kg of wool per sheep.
    • Adoption of technology. Particularly using the new digital agriculture era to allow farmers to make a higher quality, more informed decision, in a tighter window.
    • There is great opportunity to increase food quality rather than food quantity. If we merely aim for volume at all costs, then the natural environment will be the ‘cost’. However, if we send the signal that it is quality from an increasingly healthy natural resource base, then both the natural resource base and farmers will be the beneficiaries.
  1. Sustain productive capacity by addressing:
    • Climate change.
    • Pests and diseases.
    • Land and water degradation.
    • Competition between land for food, houses and mining.
  2. Reduce waste and over consumption.
  3. Managing the risks to the food system.

Success requires farmers having access to a range of agricultural solutions, education to gain necessary skills, and financial incentives. Sustainable farming solutions already becoming standard practice include no-till planting practices, crop rotations, bringing vegetation back to degraded land and planting vegetation around fields to prevent erosion, and transitioning to green energy technology.

Resourceful land use also contributes to mitigating climate change. Globally 2 to 3 billion metric tons of carbon can be stored per year in soil. Farmers can produce higher yields on existing farmland, prevent further loss of fertile land, and find innovative ways to make use of marginal land, especially in developing countries.

Technology is an important part of the solution, but we must also partner to share knowledge. An unprecedented level of global collaboration must take place between farmers, consumers and entrepreneurs, governments and companies, civil society and multilateral organisations. Governments must support resource use efficiency and environmental stewardship, and the private sector must develop new technologies that enable these practices. People should be able to make informed choices about the crops they grow, the products they buy, and the agricultural systems they use. Agriculture should be viewed as a productive investment that drives economic development and builds long-term economic, political and environmental stability.

Drought stories that focus on pity ignore all this. They change the conversation around agriculture from collaboration, celebration, solutions and resilience, to blame, despair and failure.

Only one of these ways of thinking is going to get a farmer out of bed tomorrow to feed another 700 people. Let’s choose hope.

Footnote

The current drought hardship is real. If you would like to support people in rural communities who are struggling to put food on the table a donation of just $40 to Foodbank will supply a hamper. You can donate to Foodbank here  

#onedayclosertorain #strongertogether #drought18

Fiona Simson is wearing her hard hat of courage – what a great fashion look

Murdoch press is globally recognised as communicators of climate change conspiracies theories  so when I saw this personal attack by The Australian on Fiona Simson this week I got really excited.  One thing change agents can be certain of is that as messengers, shots will be fired at them.

“My advice to the NFF and Simson is to stick to your knitting. Getting into bed with climate change enthusiasts is a quick route to the introduction of a raft of new policies that will damage the farming community.” Source  The Australian 3rd July 2018  ‘You’re fashionable Fiona, but get a grip on the facts’

Well done Fiona and National Farmers Federation.  Finally we have a voice promoting 21st century thinking and technology to solve 21st century issues. Its exciting that both  the movers and shakers and policy makers are listening and it would appear the climate change deniers are getting nervous.

As reported in The Digital Journal  Climate change is ‘up close and personal’ for Australian farmers

‘Simson is enthusiastic in her approach to working with the government on this energy plan and sees it as an opportunity for all farmers across Australia. She says the NEG framework could allow farmers to band together, and small communities to band together, to build their own energy infrastructure – and that is a great dream that can be fulfilled.’

Collaboration is the key to success. If we exclude perspectives, we limit possibilities. We need everyone’s talent and voice if we are going to create a better world. And if we are going to drive change and a new era of collaboration in agriculture – it’s going to take a lot of courage. We are all going to have put our hard hats on and be in it for the long haul.

Fiona Simson has courage in spades. What a legacy this farmer and her team is forging for prosperity of Australia.

#couragetochange #climateaction #strongwomen

Central Australia – an awe inspiring kaleidoscope of colour and texture

After an evening of superb food, great company and sleeping under the stars in the riverbed in my swag, albiet with plenty of merino wool to keep me warm and not overthinking how close those dingo howls were it was time for Day Two of my Larapinta Trail experience

The full 223km of the Larapinta Trail spans between the Old Telegraph Station and Mt Sonder. Day 2 took us to the Ormiston Gorge to trek the Ormiston Pound circuit.  Regarded as one of the best walks of the Larapinta Trail it offers sensational views of the Chewings Range and Mount Giles. It can be a little challenging with some rock hopping and takes approximately four hours to complete. Setting off, the trail winds around scenic slopes, dropping into the Pound and returning along Ormiston Gorge via the main waterhole. We also took the detour to Ghost Gum Lookout.

Ormiston is also a sacred site for the Western Arrernte people. It’s name in Western Arrernte is Kwartatuma.

Ormiston Pound Walk Map

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First port of call was the snack bar and there in the middle was my ideal weight maintenance nemesis – chocolate bullets. I wish I could say I stayed strong and resisted the temptation but I would be fibbing. You will be pleased to know I did also grab a couple of bananas.

We made it to the top of the Pound Walk savouring the beautiful weather

Day 2 Pound Walk to Ochre Pits (14) Our  wonderful guide Clare pointed out all the highlights as far as the eye can seeDay 2 Pound Walk to Ochre Pits (22)

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There were plenty of opportunities for me to practice my rock hopping

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I’ll bet this young lady regretted doing it in thongs. OMG

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Clare leads the way to the Ghost Gum Lookout

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Where the view was indeed outstanding – though I must admit I kept away from the overhanging edge

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then the girls (sans Lynne) braved the chilly waters and took a dip or two

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and at the end of the day I was smiling from ear to ear with a very sunburnt nose tip

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Bring on Day 3