The ag industry is increasingly being scrutinised. In 2018 alone we have been in the headlines with vegetation management and the live export trade and associated animal welfare issues.
The detrimental effect of this media coverage on our industry is both immediate and long-term with the potential to cripple our industry. We are being painted as vandals of our land with no regard for animal welfare.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. But, how can we have an open debate with our city colleagues if they have pre-conceived ideas about us?
We need to make farming sexy again!
Ideally, we would love to invite city dwellers onto our properties to see first hand how clean, professional and caring our practices are but clearly this isn’t practical.
Why should they come to us, when with virtual reality technology we can go to them? With VR we can make videos that allow viewers to feel they are actually on the property, participating in our operation.
In the lead-up to Beef Australia 2018 I worked with Tim Gentle from Think Digital. It was he who threw out the challenge to make farming sexy again.
We made a VR video of our bull breeding operation at Jarrah Cattle Company that enabled visitors to be immersed in our operation, to stand with our cattle in the paddocks and move between them and their calves as they filed past – all without leaving the Rockhampton Showgrounds.
Another successful project was The True Story: From the Heart of Qld – a video produced by a small group of farmers showing why farming is so important to them and just how well they look after the land and animals.
We need more people in the cities to see these, and more.
‘Making farming sexy again’ is already happening but we need to do more if we want to uphold our image and attract people into this industry.
What I am pushing for is to make three minute virtual reality videos on a range of operations, available at places like the Ekka, allowing city people to put on the goggles and be part of our industry. One step further is to have a shop in Queen Street Mall.
If we want this industry to continue to grow and prosper, we all need to take the time to promote it and educate people on what we do.
– Sam Becker, central Queensland beef producer