Do beef jack-of-all trades need another job?

View From the Paddock: Beef jack-of-all-trades


'Unleashing the untrained beast' into the arena of social media commentary risks even more detrimental damage to the beef industry's reputation, says this week's View From the Paddock columnist.

Sara Westaway, livestock and property marketing

Sara Westaway, livestock and property marketing

Looking at the topics across the seminars at Beef Week and sifting through the multitudes of products available for the industry, it’s easy to see that being a beef producer is not just about producing beef.

More tools are expected for your belt, be it OH&S, biosecurity planner, marketing, HR, IT, property rights expert or a drone licensee.

And when your government and producer-funded peak body representatives let you down, you drop all tools and travel long distances to protest in cities as a last resort.

Then every three years, you set out to seek some guidance and information at the industry’s renowned congregation in the hope of some inspiration and reassurance that what you are doing on a daily basis holds a promising future.

An underlying theme this year seemed to be “tell your own story” to solve all those problems – animal welfare, marketing, vegetation management issues – start a social media account and start writing a blog.

Passing the responsibility back on the beef producer, again, to be an editor, photographer, video producer and social media strategist on that never-ending tool belt.

When unleashing the untrained beast into an advanced and competitive marketing space amongst the full time, educated professionals, chances are there will be a slip-up of the tools.

The damage could become even more detrimental for the greater industry.

We arm beef producers with this new responsibility and we potentially present ourselves as being disorganised, unprofessional amateurs, with lots of different and confusing messages.

The beef producers in the room stood up – we can’t do another thing! Who is going to do this? And rightly so.

Beef producers, we shouldn’t go off and share our stories without coming together and determining how we can portray the same message together first.

The vultures are out there ready to gobble us up. If we don’t collectively do something planned together, driven by some proactive leadership, we risk ourselves further.

So could the real leaders in the room, the beef industry representatives, please stand up?

Collect our good stories through your organisations and preach our collective message to the unconverted.

We, on the other hand, should and will continue to go outside and produce great Australian beef, and continue to feed those masses.

 – Sara Westaway, livestock and property marketing


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