The most valuable resource farmers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives – appropriated from wise words from Robert John Meehan
Last Monday I attended a meeting in Sydney that brought around the table a group of people all determined to create a prosperous NSW dairy industry that had the capacity to grow and support that growth
I learnt things that scared me. Things like there are 20 plus organisations in NSW all trying to meet the needs of NSW dairy farmers
20 plus organisations that if we were all honest have very little idea what each other’s roles are and what each other does
Hopefully we haven’t got 20 plus organisations and individuals all vying for meetings with politicians and policy makers. But we wouldn’t know because in the main we don’t talk to each other.
I am confident the dairy industry isn’t alone
In fact the Australian Farm Institute is about to release its research into the efficacy of our state and national farming advocacy groups that decrees ‘Australian farmers’ advocacy groups have to change, or die’
This is a complex problem that trusts me get more complex when you put your hand up to take an active role in these state and national bodies.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about why they don’t work. Why I couldn’t be more effective. What I could do to be more effective.
But instead of beating myself up I am focusing on looking for models that work and I trying to work out why they work
The key thing that frustrated me as a farmer representative was how little I knew of what was happening in the background
For example the dairy industry has research, development and extension programs that focus on
1. Animals, Feed and the Environment see here
2. People and Business see here
In fact the dairy industry is renowned for the quality of its R&D but often struggles to get uptake of extension.
Now I found even at representative level there was no opportunity for me to get exposure to any of this R&D unless I asked for and had a meeting with a head of department at Dairy Australia, spent a lot of time on their website or stumbled across it because of my involvement elsewhere.
Because of my involvement on an NFF Blueprint Committee this document the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework came into my Inbox When I saw it I went WOW. Does a document get any more impressive than this? I doubt it
Now to me this Sustainability Framework is the dairy industry’s answer to Meat and Livestock Australia’s Target 100 initiative
What is bizarre is this. I am a dairy farmer who knew nothing about the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework yet I know a considerable amount about Target 100.
I think these two examples exemplify the problem on many levels and maybe the solution.
MLA has given their farmers ownership of Target 100. There are now over two hundred farmer stories
Two hundred plus farmer stories sharing the same key messages
There are a number of other clever key marketing nuances that set the two programs apart.
Ultimately the answers to agriculture’s woes are sitting right in front of our noses.
The 21st century gives us the perfect communication tools.
All we have to do now is get on with it
Self-Promotion is not a dirty word.
Let’s celebrate success and share our stories and start talking to each other