Australian ag – a matter of perception

View From the Paddock: A matter of perception


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Sam Becker, central Queensland cattle producer.

Sam Becker, central Queensland cattle producer.

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Perception – a word that for the longevity of agriculture might currently be our main goal.

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Perception – a word that for the longevity of agriculture might currently be our main goal.

The gross value of Australian farm production in 2016/17 was some $60 billion. This raises my point, why are we not perceived as business operations in our own country?

Is it that we don’t perceive ourselves as business owners, instead as just farmers? 

To the rest of the world, Australian agriculture is seen as a leader in both quality of product and innovation.

This is evident by the high demand for our products globally, with export being a major part of the industry. 

This resonated with the recent visit by Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Whilst Meghan was in Australia, news came out from England by local breakfast news anchor Piers Morgan that she was nothing more than a ‘commoner’ who has a background in acting and that is exactly what she is doing, acting her way through the trip.

Yet, to the rest of the world, she is the gracious Duchess of Sussex.

She showed nothing but warmth and kindness to Australians, real royalty.

The similarity struck me, as nationally producers are criticised and yet if you travel internationally, the Australian agricultural industry is perceived as the most ‘green’ and ‘safe’.

Have we done this to ourselves? Are campaigns such as ‘thank a farmer for your next meal’ not effective, significantly outdated and not reaching out to consumers?

Pictures of poorly run operations are then thrown in our face and it is easier for the city folk to jump on that band wagon. 

Primary production operations are businesses, and it is time we promote exactly that.

The need to act, be seen and portray ourselves as business owners is crucial if we want to update our image.

Yes, we should keep the phrases that we are custodians of the land who are producing food and fibre for the nation.

However, our industry needs to unite to change our overall image.

Currently, due to the formidable drought we have the support and attention of the nation.

This is our opportunity to keep communicating with the nation to change their perception and show life after the drought, and we are business operations that support families.

 – Sam Becker, CQ cattle producer

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