Farmers and the culture of being busy status symbol

I must admit when I read Milk Maid Marian’s post yesterday I had this feeling of déjà vu. I couldn’t help feeling sad and smiling at the same time. Seriously does Dairy Australia have a death wish, masochistic tendencies or are they just ignorant

Well they are none of those things. I have found in the main they are very smart, well-meaning people who sadly are not alone in the world of farming industry research and development corporations in copping a lot of flak from their employers/stakeholders/levy payers aka farmers

I work with a number of industry bodies and the ones that have good stakeholder relationships you can count on two fingers

When I first decided I was going to get more hands on in agriculture, one of the first things I did was make the effort to meet as many of the people in my employ as I could

That started with meeting with the management teams at Dairy Farmers which at that time was farmer owned and Dairy Australia

I must admit I was blown away by the generosity of their time

When I went to Dairy Farmers I had meetings with the CEO, head of communications and head of marketing

At Dairy Australia I met with the CEO and head of marketing and a number of consultants they had engaged

I think in the main most of these of people thought I was a bit scary but they recognised my passion and that I was eager to learn

I also discovered a few scary things myself. Dairy Farmers had all these wonderful brochures titled “who we are” that gave the impression that their farmers milked black Hereford beef cross cattle and Dairy Australia had material that had Australian farmers milking breeds of cows I had never heard of and to their credit when they were informed they were mis-informed they made changes fast

Dairy Farmers - 2003 Who we are.jpg

Dairy Australia will be breathing a sigh of relief I chose this image -but then lets not forget 95% of the board of Dairy Farmers were dairy farmers – what were they too busy doing when this brochure  got the tick of approval ? 

Now we as farmers can sit back and say we are too busy and the people we employ should have crystal balls or we can spend just a little bit of time and make time.

It’s our choice.


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 “Farmers and the culture of being busy status symbol”

  1. I’m totally confused by this post, sorry, Lynne. Are you suggesting farmers should go into DA’s head office in Southbank and meet with senior management when we feel DA has made a mistake?

    I don’t think that’s very workable for farmers or for DA staffers.

    I am certainly not using being busy as a status symbol. If only! I am busy because I have to be in order to put food on the table, keep the cows happy and raise my children.

    I have an inkling that DA staff would find it hard to get their own jobs done if the 6000 or so levy payers made frequent requests for meetings.

    Like it or not, it simply is DA’s mandate to do a professional job – if it doesn’t know what colour dairy cows are, it should ask or do some research. And, like it or not, when they slip up, it’s important that levy payers hold their body to account.

    1. Go girlfriend – yes exactly this is a conversation farmers should be having – how do we get a balance?. In reality everyone at DA is employed by both the government/taxpayers and farmers – making the relationship work is tricky – how do we get the balance?
      Surely this requires all parties to come to the table?
      Where are farmers representatives in this conversation?
      Whose fault is it that they are appear to be missing?
      Surely this is the employers responsibility ?
      We cant have it both ways??????
      Time to step up me thinks!!!!!!!!

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