Old grey haired men


Everywhere I go people tell me that biggest problem agriculture has is that it is run by old grey haired men. These grey harried men being a cohort of people developing a position for agriculture in the 21st century based on their narrow view of their little part of the world in the last century.

So, many people I admire and seek wise advice from are very surprised that I have done what I said would never do and put my hand up to enter the world of agri-politics.

These wise people are in one of two camps. They are either questioning my sanity or telling me I am very, very brave.

Why have I done this you ask?

Well there are two keys reasons

Firstly I am truly worried dairy industry policy is being driven by people in the industry who live in a silo hell-bent on indoctrinating fellow dairy farmers and everyone else who will listen that whole world revolves around the dairy industry. Dairy farmers like it or not are just part of a team of people who get the milk from cow and consumer and that consumer drinks milk as a part of diet that farmers from multiple food industries right across Australia contribute to.

Lets not forget feeding people is just part of the story, just as important  farmers clothe and house people as well. What is even better is we all have so much to learn from each other right along the supply chain and until we acknowledge this we are thinking in the dark ages

Secondly our wonderful team of Young Farming Champions are hell-bent on making a difference in this world and being the change that agriculture must have. Excitingly they are totally committed to gaining the skills sets to ensure this can happen. Ultimately if I am going to help them do is I had to bite the bullet and go to the coal face. 

Let me tell you if my experiences to date are what I have to look forward to its scary out there and more often than not its the friendly fire that takes the most casualties.

Wish me luck    

The world needs revolutionaries 

Thank you Cathy Law for sharing this image with me   

And may we always remember

“Choose your battles wisely. After all, life isn’t measured by how many times you stood up to fight. It’s not winning battles that makes you happy, but it’s how many times you turned away and chose to look into a better direction. Life is too short to spend it on warring. Fight only the most, most, most important ones, let the rest go.”
C. JoyBell C.

Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life

4 thoughts on “Old grey haired men”

  1. You go girl I say, you are just the person to help people open their minds so what is done is right for the future of the industry, not just a section of the industry. So good to see you involved right through the whole industry from encouraging the next generation right through to making sure we can put in place the right strategies so we have a great industry in the future.
    Unfortunately there seems to be many “dream stealers” in the leadership roles that take the energy & innovation out of industries resulting in those involved taking a victims approach instead of taking control of their own destiny.
    Keep your bright eyes shining Lynne 🙂

  2. Great work Lynne! We all face these people regularly, some more then others and it’s a big effort to come up against them constantly!! Best wishes!

  3. Lyn, some of those “grey haired old men” whom you disparage have actually devoted a goodly part of their lives to improving the lot of farmers. A lot of their efforts have not been helped by a complacent constituency who demand resolutions to their problems, but wont attend the requisite meetings, or get onto the phone to support their elected reps to the decision makers in society. And that, Lyn, is the salient point to remember. Agri-politicians don’t make decisions. Federal and State governments do. Many of those “grey haired old men” would not be so grey if the state and federal politicians actually listened. The state and federal decision makers actually listen to ‘noise’ and unless you, when you are elected, are lucky enough to have a very noisy constituency behind you, might find you are going grey for very little result too. So may I suggest that rather than disparage those “grey haired old men” you seek to replace, that you approach them and ask how can this be done better; what should I do to make a difference. I guess it’s a little it like taking over the farm from your Dad. You have two choices. Firstly, absorb his wisdom and build on it, or, secondly, kick the old grey haired sod off and tell him to go and die in as dignified a manner as he possibly can. I know which option makes the most sense to me.

    1. Hi John,

      I think there is a whole new blog post in your comments. You’re right, of course, more of us do need to step up to the plate and argue the case for farmers. Whether that gives me more grey hairs, only time will tell!

      I agree too, that it’s also important that more of us demonstrate our support for the arguments our leaders are so desperately trying to put to those decision-makers. On the other hand, it’s perhaps even more important that our leaders reflect the values of the people they seek to represent.

      The needs of industry must be determined at the association/grassroots level, creating the “pull” for agriculture. That is having a clear idea of what skills and personnel we need to ensure our industries thrive into the next decade and beyond. And then we must create those structures to facilitate the right people into our sector.

      At the moment, those in agriculture sit passively as organisations, governments et al independently determine our needs and “push” a range of candidates and skilled personnel in our direction – who may or may not be suitable to drive our sector in the directions needed.

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