The world needs us and we can all be heroes

Today I am reblogging this post from Megan Rowlatt’s blog The Conservation Collective  

Yesterday Megan and I attended the Social Good Summit.  It was a TED talk style event featuring some of the most mindblowing people on the planet . People who wake up everyday to help co-design a bright future for us all

Me, I am just doing the best I can one step at time by helping young people like Megan be the best version of themselves they can be.

A quote that stuck in my mind from yesterday was

“if we can all come together to do the best we can we CAN do great things 

We have to because the world needs us

We can all be heroes” 

For further inspiration may I suggest you  watch this wonderful little video We can all be Hummingbirds



In 2005 I was serving schooners in classy pubs in sunny Surfer’s Paradise. It was the best. Not something I’d do forever, but it paid the bills while I was at Uni and I met some darn cool people doing it. I loved it. Until one night the duty manager shoved a microphone in my hand, told me to run the members’ draw in front of over 200 people and went and locked himself in the office. What! I hated public speaking (and clearly he did too). I had no idea what to say. In the past I’d failed miserably, I mean I got 3/20 for my first speech at high school and that experience had scarred me for life.

My hands were shaking and sweaty, my throat was caught up in my throat and I actually felt like vomiting. I hated him, but I couldn’t say no, the whole club was waiting for this draw. I was so worked up in that moment that my attitude going into the gig was that if I screwed it up, that would be on him. So I let go of all my expectations and just did it. And to my surprise, I actually enjoyed it. Because I didn’t care. I said whatever I felt like and people loved it. And I’ve been addicted to the act ever since. From there I ran games and promotions in bars and clubs all up and down the Gold Coast, sometimes in front of hundreds of people. And when I finally landed my dream job in Landcare I was ready to speak. I’ve since gone on to facilitate many workshops and events. I have spoken at state and national conferences, most recently the National Landcare Conference. I’ve been key note speaker at film festivals and sustainability events. I’ve done countless radio interviews and loads of TV interviews and each time it gets easier and more fun!

Jenna and I presenting at the National Landcare Conference

Jenna and Megan presenting at the Landcare Conference

There’s no doubt that night was a pivotal moment in my life, propelling me into the scary world of public speaking, something that I had feared for years. But until a few years ago, I had been winging it, despite having a university degree behind me and a few years of experience up my sleeve, I was making it all up as I went. And then I came across an incredible opportunity which kick-started my personal and professional development journey and took me to a whole new level of leadership.

The Art4Agriculture Young Eco Champions program was a pilot at the time and saw young natural resource management professionals trained up in media and communications skills to tell their story and go into schools to inspire students about our industry. It was an amazing personal and professional development program. I gained skills in designing and rolling out professional presentations, how to speak to my audience properly, how to speak to the media, and how to inspire young people. And I have used these skills every day since. It helped me craft and discover what I was really passionate about and how to communicate this to others. It was the best start I could have hoped for and I am forever grateful.

I next decided that I needed some deeper skills in leadership development and working with other people, sort of next level stuff. So I enrolled in a program called the South East Local Leaders Program. Now this was awesome. I met people from all sorts of backgrounds in Landcare, agriculture and sustainability who wanted a deeper dive into effective leadership. We worked with an organisation called Global Learning and I got a deeper sense of who I was as a leader, particularly in a team environment. It was raw, real and I got some fantastic tools to work with others.

But something was missing. A deep dive into me. Yep, figuring out what was going on in that big ‘ol never shut up, lay awake at night and continuously think about all of the ridiculous mistakes you’ve made in your life, cringe for a while, beat yourself up a little more, and carry that around like a ball and chain despite your continuous success in the real world. And then I met Landmark. Good ‘ol culty Landmark.

Despite the stereotypes and the endless online forums about the 80’s pyramid scheme marketing and ‘you’ve brainwashed my friend and they’ve changed forever and I don’t like them anymore they’ve joined a cult’ rhetoric, this has hands down been the best transformative self discovery and leadership program I have done to date. Let me tell you why. You can do all the skills-based training and courses in the world, but until you get the inside stuff on track, there’s no way you can reach your full potential and have the impact you are out to achieve. Think of it as defragging and rebooting. Yep you get rid of all that crap, all that baggage and start your brain fresh. No more lying awake stressing about the past or fearing the future, I’m content and grateful for now, and everything about now. And that’s what I got. Sometimes it wants to creep back in, but you are now equipped with ninja moves to boot it straight back out again. I also have a better understanding about human behaviour because I am clear in myself and who I am as a human. I am fearless in my communication and no longer feel intimidated by people I used to be in the past. It gave me permission to be me and to be real.

It has also given me the best tools to work with my team at Intrepid Landcare, to be an effective leader for an organisation and mobilise a team of very fast-paced change-makers in our industry. Without fear, without drama, without frustration. We’ve built relationships based on honesty, trust and simply keeping it real. Nothing more, nothing less. And it works. There’s no hard feelings when you get challenged or pulled up on something, it’s about the idea not you, it’s about the team not you, it’s about the organisation not you, and it’s about getting the job done not you. We are all there for each other, and we are all there for the future of the organisation. It’s beautiful, it’s refreshing, and it’s so easy.

My Intrepid Tribe

Intrepid Landcare Tribe

As we were about to embark on building Intrepid Landcare I thought, hang on, I have no business skills, I need skillz man. So I enrolled in a Diploma of Business with an organisation called The Entourage. Now these are not your every day Dip. Business guys. The organisation has been set up to cater to Entrepreneurs, the one percenters in the world who think outside the box, don’t fit into conventional education systems and are true creatives (and a little bit crazy in their ventures) – that’s me! And I have just completed the course. It was fantastic. The framework caters to visual learners like me and text books get thrown out the window. Instead you get access to real life stories and case studies of successful businesses and entrepreneurs, and practical workshops which inspires, educates and motivates you the whole way through the course. Jack Delosa (founder and CEO) is a disruptor of the education system and I like where’s he’s taking the organisation. It no doubt helped build Intrepid Landcare every step of the way and I’m glad I made this investment in myself and the organisation, because it really gave me the structure I needed.

But what has really helped me achieve everything I have in my life, my career and my adventures is having a grounded, self-aware, fun, adventurous and accepting team of people around me who have also invested in themselves. We are all on different paths but we are all about continuing to push the boundaries on being the best versions of ourselves in what we are up to in life. The learning has not stopped at a TAFE course or University degree, we are continuously seeking opportunities to challenge ourselves and grow.

I’m not saying you need to go out and invest in the above programs or seek out these particular courses. Everyone’s journey is different. My point is that no matter where you are in your life, always consider investing in yourself. Enrol in that course you’ve always wanted to do, read that biography or book you’ve been eyeing off to challenge your thinking, go on that adventure you’ve been procrastinating about for years, change your career if you are not happy, and find a tribe to support who you want to be in the world. Find your passion and simply just do it. Start taking steps. Give yourself the tools you need to move forward in whatever you are up to in life. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

It will be the best gift you ever give yourself, and the best gift you will give those around you.

Its that time of year when agriculture says #thankaconsumer



Costa Georgiadis  and Nerida Walker and COWASAKI MOOOTORBIKE

Its that time of year when things can get a little stressful.  You have this great team of people around you.  You have sponsors that have faith in you and put their money down to say so. You have young people in the agriculture sector who give up so much of their time to go into schools and share their love of what they do and why they do it.

Wonderful students and teachers who have given 6 months of their lives into turning a large white piece of fibreglass into a masterpiece that celebrates our great Australian farmers. So many brave people who put their hand up to participate and support The Archibull Prize

Little people from little tiny schools in places most of us who have never heard of. Parents, grand parents, community members, politicians who host tea parties for the winners ( thanks Niall) they all give so much. Even celebrities visit the schools. For some people the program is even a lifeline

This time of year is stressful for everyone involved and I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of all the farmers out there. They might not all say thank you but I can assure you they are all just as blown away by what you achieve as I am

The entries don’t close until tomorrow night but a few have come in early

They speak for themselves

Big focus on grains and biofuels for this entry from Matraville Sports High School



and its Cottonopoly time in Grenfell the-henry-laswon-hs-1


Some more #cottonlove from Winmalee High School



and this one from Wagga is very different – where the students have gone back to the “Rice Age”

Kooringal HS 1.JPG

and some more #grainslove from Northlakes High School  – loaf of bread anyone??


and the Queenslanders arent going to let the New South Welsh people get one up on them

Everything but the kitchen sink here from Calvary Christian College at Springwood



Yes its a pretty special time of the year. Time to raise a toast or a glass of barley and say #thankaconsumer

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


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.




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


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?


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


katherine botterill






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