What will the farmer of the future look like?
Farmers of the future will say I am proud to be both an environmentalist and a farmer
I must admit I always struggled with the image of the profession ‘farmer’.
I was always proud to be a pharmacist – people appreciate pharmacists, they value them
In the 21st century whilst people want to appreciate and value farmers, we are finding that more and more people are questioning whether our modern farming practices align with their values.
I always felt and still do like I was potentially walking into a war zone when I talked about farming in a public forum. I always felt agricultural practices were under the microscope and in some cases quite rightly so.
So my wish for farmers of the future is to be viewed as an integral part of a farming community that is perceived as, and is delivering safe, affordable, healthy food and quality fibre AND leaving a positive footprint on the planet.
My wish is that farmers of the future will feel proud to say that I am both a farmer and an environmentalist. Many, many now do already
To help facilitate this transition I am part of a team who has worked behind the scenes and sent Young Farming Champions Josh Gilbert and Anika Molesworth to Paris.
I say fervently that Josh and Anika are the image that future farmers will all aspire to. They are the gutsy young people learning the corporate mindset during the week and spending every spare minute they have working side by side with their parents on the farm
They have gone to Paris on a fact-finding mission with the aim to back what they found to share with young farmers like themselves and anyone else who cares to listen.
What is so exciting here is that they care enough, and others care enough to support them, to go and learn whatever COP21 had to offer?
The support from government and the community was phenomenal
Prior to their trip Josh and Anika had an audience with both the NSW Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Primary Industries who reiterated the important role agriculture plays in NSW
Minister Blair also recently met with Josh and Anika and 15 of their peers.
Minister Blair feels strongly that investment in the new generation of agricultural leaders can do so much more than securing the production of food. It can provide jobs, grow wealth and create vibrant and resilient rural and regional communities. And the perfect way to create world class leaders is to create the right environment and give them the skills to thrive. And what a great opportunity Paris is to help them develop those skills and knowledge.
And excitingly bring that knowledge back and help Australian farmers drive the transition to clean energy technologies. Farming communities have a great opportunity to champion renewable energy
As Anika says “We are blessed with open skies and vast horizons, we have boundless solar and wind resources. Importantly farm supplied green energy has the potential to provide Australian farmers with a new and steady income stream. This will help reduce the physical, emotional and financial stress on our farmers and help ensure we have resilient and prosperous rural and remote communities.”
There is no denying that a positive future for agriculture will require change. The journey will see them find themselves in a difficult space. They will be challenged by the conservatives. Some will feel threatened and try to bring them down. They are brave, they have a strong support network and that network will grow.
They want the best outcomes for both farmers and the planet. To achieve this they are out talking to everyone. They are finding many other groups share their values.
They are very excited we now have a Prime Minister who also shares their values and wants to leave the same legacy they aspire too.
They are off to Paris to learn. To seek out the solutions that they can bring to the table. They see themselves as part of the rational group in the middle who know it’s smart to talk to both sides and that WIN:WINS are possible. By this I mean the group that sits between farmers embedded in the old ways and extreme green groups. The rational group who view partnerships as the key to success
They and many farmers like them are committed to Australians having the bright future that we all deserve. I look forward to blogging their journey and sharing it with you .
You can find their blog here
You can read Gabrielle Chan’s story on their crowd funding campaign which say 65 Australians fund their trip to Paris and COP21 here