Why cant Agriculture fight the good fight together

I have found there are two main types of people in agriculture and this of course is generalisation

There are people who are focussed on doing the right thing and people who predominately want to do their own thing and of course there are some people who manage to get a nice balance between the two (most impressive).

I find this in our business. My husband and my son love farming, they like the solitude, they love their cows and they hate the politics. They just want to do their own thing and they worry about me and cant understand and hate the fact I put myself out there and ride the ridges and sometimes get shot out.

So I get this mindset and you wont change people like my husband and son but I cant forgive industry bodies who cant see why the big picture is so important. Who cant see why silo thinking is destroying agriculture

Recently I have become actively involved in the AgChatOZ LinkedIn discussion group and must admit I am fascinated by the two way conversations and other people opinions and most importantly the thought they have put into the solutions and what they think the solutions are. The current active discussions are

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Julia Hausler posted this question this morning

So we do have a rural urban divide and it does matter. (refer earlier discussions). What are YOU going to do about it?

John Keily can back with

What am I going to do? Well, I’m going to ask you what you think of this ad

and I replied (BTW my previous comment on the ad here )

It generated this

Whilst the first video reached over 15 million people (compared to 35,000 for the spoof version ) and over $1Million was donated by RAMs to feed the poor together they highlight the polarising views in America

To me its imperative Agriculture doesn’t preach at people.  Charlie Arnot and his team are doing an awesome job of doing it the right way by providing farmers with the skills sets to tell their own story.

Australian farmers have a great story to tell and its time to say YES to the Australian Centre for Food Integrity so we know how to tell our story well. Not just for 90 seconds at the Superbowl. We want our story remembered everytime our consumers reach for a product on the supermarket shelf and take that little bit of extra time to make sure it was produced by an Aussie Farmer

What really makes me cranky is.  Why doesn’t  Australian agriculture do this together?

MLA through Target 100 is telling the story and very impressively on behalf of all cattle and sheep farmers.

AWI and Cotton Australia are working together to debunk the myth that cotton grows on sheep. See here for this great example

Dairy Australia on the other hand is spending $21 million plus on the Legendairy campaign  to tell dairy’s story

Yes your are right Dairy Australia

The Australian dairy industry has a magnificent and Legendairy™ tale to tell. This is an industry underpinned by some of the best people and practices in the world producing a truly amazing product. It defines the social fabric of many Australian agricultural regions and affects the lives of almost every Australian in some way.
The nation’s dairy industry is literally brimming with inspirational people and their stories — Legendairy™.

Yes and so do all  Australian farmers. Our dairy farmers rely on the grains industry, the vegetable industry, the cotton industry, the sugar industry, the list is endless. They rely on agriculture being dynamic, exciting, innovative and profitable.  Its not a competition about  which industry has the most impressive farmers.

Just imagine what we could achieve if Dairy Australia joined forces with MLA for example. I am an MLA levy payer as are all dairy farmers. MLA invited me to tell my story. I haven’t yet. I haven’t needed to – the beef farmers are doing on awesome job on my behalf. I salute them all.

Call to arms farmers. We can do our own thing but we cant afford to let industry do it in isolation. We must all ask the right questions and lobby hard for the greater good.  Its not just our future that depends on it. Australia’s health, wealth and happiness depends on it

Dont tell me to wake the frack up

I must admit I am very bewildered by what appears to me to be very mixed messages coming out of our peak industry body Dairy Australia at the moment

According to Steve Spencer from Freshlogic (the same organisation that counts Coles as a major client ) in the Dairy Australia Horizon 2020 report it’s time we (dairy farmers/dairy industry) woke the “frack up”

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Slide 27 from Steve Spencer’s Horizon 2020 presentation at Dairy Innovators Forum in Queensland Feb 2013 See article here

According to the report the aim of the Horizon 2020 project is to also ‘raise the sights’ above short-term preoccupations which have affected industry priorities in recent years.

The report reminds us that market volatility (inputs and outputs) is a fact of life with a critical question for all parts of the industry being ‘ How to motivate people to ‘look long’ adjusting their businesses and attitudes to accept the cycles of the market and cashflow as inevitable?’

As part of Dairy Australia’s motivation strategy they are rolling out this ‘Feel Good’ campaign ‘Australian Dairy is Legendairy’

 

As an aside How I met Your Mother’s Barney Stinson would have been the ideal candidate to put a smile on this dairy farmer’s dial

Every man and his dog has widely acknowledge that the dairy industry is in crisis in all states and likewise some sections of Dairy Australia who is also rolling out Tactics for Tough Times

Like me most dairy farmers I know are not growing their businesses anymore and are doing everything in their power to rein in debt and will continue to do so until they get clear market signals there is a future for the dairy industry in this country. I believe there is but now is not the time to take risks that you can’t justify in the current climate and like Milk Maid Marian I must ask the question of Dairy Australia.

How do you plan to measure the success of your Legendairy Campaign?

Will you for example be measuring?

a. Impact on Milk sales

b. How many new entrants into the industry

c. The reduction in numbers of exits from the industry

d. Improvement in farm profitability

Now is the time Dairy Australia to lead by example. The industry is in crisis we need rigour and real on the ground capacity building not Feel Good campaigns with no measurables

Its time to be part of the big picture Dairy Australia.  Lets get fair dinkum. Lets get out of our dairy silo and have a collaborative and cohesive whole of ag sector voice.  I agree with the Australian Farm Institute, its time to promote Brand OZ and I am confident this is what our dairy farmers want too if the hits alone on this post are anything to go by

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