I am on a roll, five posts in five days and with a sudden do or die rush to hospital shortly before Christmas I have plenty of time to think as I recuperate and reflect
Today with 2012 coming to end here is a little reflection from me on Australian Year of the Farmer which started with a bang and sadly closed with a whimper.
I know co founders Philip Bruem and Geoff Bell had all the best intentions and invested their heart and souls into their baby so I am not going to talk about all the things that went wrong but I do want to talk about some of the ways we as farmers can leverage the momentum going forward of what was a great idea executed with too little money and not enough grass roots involvement .
I’ve seen many things change for the better over the last 12 months. Colin Beetles reflects on the big picture here. I want to talk about what I see is happening at grass roots level and in particular the social changes
I am noticing more and more farmers are less indignant. We know we cant afford to sit back and say people should appreciate us because we feed them. We know it is our role to build the relationships beyond the farm gate with our communities and our customers and the decision makers and start those two way conversations. Gone is the idea that the community should wake up everyday and say “thank a farmer” and more and more our farmers are saying “ thank a consumer”
We are looking at new and innovative ways to raise awareness and build a sense of pride and support for our committed, caring and professional farmers. I for one salute our farmers on their growth in 2012.
We are seeing a new type of AGvocay leadership working side by side with our agri- politicians and they are taking on the tough issues like Live Export. Its going to be a long road but they are cutting through
There are now a lot of damned good grass roots initiatives out there stepping up to the plate and building the farmer to consumer value chain partnership and letting industry take a back seat and concentrate on what they do best Whether it be quirky things like the Great Cafe Challenge, using social media like Ask an Aussie Farmer, sharing our stories like Fleur McDonald’s 52 Farming Stories in 52 Weeks, starting campaigns or writing petitions or just great photos like this one. A great example of its not what you say but how you say it that delivers the goods
Sheep on Andrew Irvine’s verandah during Murrumbidgee Floods, Wagga Wagga in March 2012. | Photographer: | Andrew Irvine
We know farming today has moved to a new dynamic. It is all about relationships, about values and about people – its all about selling the sizzle not the steak (whilst appreciating and respecting the cow that produces it ).
We know that selling the sizzle is very often out of our area of expertise and it we want to do it well ( and we must our future depends on it) we need new skills sets. In particular it is the women in farming who are seeing this new way of farming as their area of expertise and its the grass roots who are putting together the programs and providing the training and our women in agriculture are chafing at the bit to get involved and they are en masse.
Yesterday I mentioned Women Influential, there is the great work of Georgie Somerset and the QRRRWN network, Art4Agriculture’s Young Farming Champions Network and between us I am positive we could list another 50.
And back to Australian Year of the Farmer, Art4Agriculture has been very lucky to come to the attention of one of their celebrity ambassadors Sara Leonardi McGrath. I am very excited to tell you that for Glenn and Sara celebrating our farmers and the great food and fibre we grow is NOT going to finish at the end of 2012.
Sara is a little dynamo and since I first met with her in January this year her mind has been ticking over looking at some clever ways she can use her talents and connections in the art world to build city country relationships and take them to a whole new level via a partnership with Art4Agriculture. She is great fun to work with and the team and students and schools involved are loving it
The partnership starts with an exhibition of 8 of our Archibulls at Sara’s MCLEMOI GALLERY in Chippendale in the last two weeks in January Read all about it here.
Sara is also supporting us to launch another new concept which I hope to be able to share with you in early February. The Art4Agriculture team have been investigating ways to enable all Australian farmers to be in driving seat and ensure the success of the Art4Agriculture vision and programs and with Sara’s support we think this concept is goer
So fellow farmers whether you have #hadagutfull are #proud2farm encouraging the community to support #duopolyfreefriday ringing the bell on #agchatoz telling your story on #AskanAussieFarmer or are proud #youthinag the Year of Farming Families is just around the corner so lets work together and keep up the momentum and in the words of Connie Ross
Despite droughts, floods and bushfires, the spirit lives on.
Most farmers just never give in! ‘
Cause, despite the frustration, we’re feeding the nation
And that’s a great battle to win!
and remember its our “battle” – lets do it our way