White knights don’t deliver story book endings

This time last week I had the next 4 weeks mapped out. A hugely successful Archibull Prize and Young Farming Champions program in 2014 needed refunding for 2015/16 and once again all my energy would go into do everything I physically and emotionally could to ensure these great initiatives would continue

But as always something comes out of left field that too often seems like a white knight request. Some-one, something, some-where is a victim needing saving from the big bully. This time the big bully is apparently the state government and their Regional Growth and Infrastructure plan which some believe could mean the end of dairying in this region and our regional community as we know it.

I have been in this space now for 15 years and I have learnt white knights are rarely appreciated, are used and abused and in reality achieve very little. So I have a new approach and that is building capacity for people to have the skills sets to help themselves. Sadly the dairy industry is a long way behind in understanding what it actually takes to provide their farmers with these skill sets.

Free range farming

For me on a personal growth level his head in the sand attitude has delivered great outcomes. It has meant success has had to come from building networks with people and organisations (and learning from them) who have the grunt, desire and drive and COURAGE to get the best outcomes for the common good.

I have now read the draft strategy and I am excited. For the first time I am reading a government document that is using language that gives me hope they might just get it. But success will only come if the community uses its skills and local knowledge and expertise and takes a collaborative and cohesive approach and works with them.

My post yesterday “When good men do something” showed you can achieve change the seemingly impossible almost overnight if you nail the right course of action.

Yes it’s important for the community to stand up and be counted but it’s how they do it that will define the future for the Illawarra

BTW this document really puts first world problems into perspective.

Our region is going to grow by 65,000 people over the next 17 years and 25% of them will be over 65. We apparently need 45,000 more houses for those people. On top of somewhere to live they need jobs, infrastructure and food and we need to ensure that these needs are balanced with the environment and their lifestyles.

I am a farmer. I know 158 more people worldwide a being born every MINUTE. That’s a 158 more mouths to feed every minute and in our region apparently every 1.5 people needs a house?

That is a very serious first world problem!!!!!!!

So what will be my call to action when it’s my turn to speak at the community meeting?

Let’s work with the state government (not against it) and get it right. It’s time to use our energy wisely and smartly.

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

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