Invest or Perish – Filling the huge gap in agriculture talent development

As mentioned in a previous blog I find the world of agri-politics an extraordinarily frustrating culture and the model not conducive to action orientated outcomes. There is a constant cry from the farmer ranks that our best and brightest farmers are too busy to get involved  with agri-poltics  yet we fail to appreciate the people who do put their hands up

I am lucky enough to work with many of our best and brightest future influencers who recognise that some farmers do have to find time and they are prepared to give it a go

I have made it my mission to ensure the experience is rewarding. Sadly what I have found is we are not incubating our future influencers. Great initiatives like ARLP and Rising Beef Champions program are exposing our future leaders to the process but no-one is taking the next step and taking them on the journey of knowledge and skills sets to do it well. Excitingly this opens up a great opportunity to fix the problem

Agriculture operates on the premise that leaders are born. We should be taking the lead from the corporate world where leaders are nurtured, they are incubated and they are exposed to a world view.

I recently put out a call to some of my contacts in government and asked the question who besides Cotton Australia lobbies well and the answer was no-one .

Our RDC’s are NOT allowed to lobby and our farmer groups dont have any money. Lobbying is a skill and successful businesses and NGO’s who lobby well hire professional lobbyists to either advise them or lobby on their behalf

WWF for example works with Statecraft Their managing director is Michael Priebe who just happens to be a former deputy PM’s son in law.

Besides having no money and not incubating our potential future influencers where else are we going wrong?

In my conversation the Nuffield Scholar Katy Lee kept cropping up. Check out her blog on the solutions here

According to Katy the  five key points of the Talent Development in Agriculture Call to action are:
1. Create an enabling environment and incentives for private sector engagement in talent development to improve linkages between supply and demand of knowledge and skills;
2. Promote demand-driven and innovative agriculture education, training, and skills development programmes geared towards transformation and maintaining high performance culture at all levels;
3. Recruit and retain youth and women in agriculture through incentives and the promotion of conducive environments for equitable access to secure land tenure, inputs, financial services, knowledge, and markets;
4. Develop national agricultural plans and resource mobilisation strategies to enhance talent development in agriculture, food, and natural resources while including women and youth in the process;
5. Develop monitoring, learning, evaluation, and knowledge management systems for talent development
These measures will help to set agriculture on the path to a brighter future, for the sector and for the entire globe.

Agriculture has to find the money and the will to do this. We cant afford not too.

I have found the corporate sector very excited by the young talent coming through the agriculture sector rank and keen to open the doors and invest. Even better they are prepared to take that pivotal step and become part of the team

Josh Gilbert and Anika Molesworth are great examples of that. Young people who are  looking at innovative vehicles like crowd funding  to ParisCOP21 to further their personal and professional development

I know they will be eternally grateful as will agriculture that people and businesses believed enough in them to fund their journey

Having communicated with them regularly whilst they have been in Paris I know the experience has been a watershed moment for them

They now have the determination, the committment, the networks and the mentors who can support their vision for an agriculture driven transition to renewable energy, secure job creation, clean air and a healthy and safe environment for everyone on the planet

They see this as the key to achieving a profitable and resilient agricultural sector that invests in and values its leaders

To see the impact COP21 is having on Josh and Anika please read their latest blogs from Paris

Anika’s reflections on the role agriculture can play here

Josh’s reflections on ParisCOP21 on him personally here

Update 12th December 2015

Looking forward to seeing what this new initiative delivers for capacity building

Sprout: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull launches new innovation hub to back ‘digital agriculture’ entrepreneurs 




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

2 thoughts on “Invest or Perish – Filling the huge gap in agriculture talent development”

  1. I would also add that the model used for lobbying is archaic. Few do it well as we’re not united, don’t collaborate and haven’t seen the value in the 19th century model since Ian McLachlan marched the streets of Sydney and Canberra. Failure to reinvent the system has diminished value for members.
    This is a great deterrent for followers and contributors – anyone who wants to make a difference.
    I would also argue our political system is difficult, terms too short and overall culture especially challenging.

    I hear there is a large announcement or investment as you’d put it on Saturday, that gives life to a new model, one that is built to compete and deliver with 21st century influencers.

    Let’s rally behind that and lay whatever more foundations are needed to incubate best talent to actually CONVERT and deliver best outcomes.

    Great post Lynne. Thank you.

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