Spending time at the Ekka was a great reminder of all that is good in agriculture. I was there to support the Qld Food Future Inc stand.
This impressive group of producers is behind the A True Story - from the heart of Qld short films, advocating for a fair future.
The Ekka strategy was simple. A welcoming place was created where children could play with farm animals and machinery or make badges whilst the adults were able to take and seat and rest.
Films and posters sharing the facts and stories were subtle, but enough to encourage conversation with the volunteers on hand to talk about the issues.
A virtual reality property tour was also offered and was a huge hit with all ages. By giving the visitors something positive they, in turn, responded with interest and gratitude.
This initiative is a great example of grassroots producers proactively taking action. Visitors appreciated the opportunity to chat.
We got to hear both their concerns and genuine offers of support. Teachers wanted to know how schools could access the resources.
While the political system and interest groups continue to tell lies that justify deals and unfairly target farmers and graziers, they can't stop the innovation, forward thinking and resilience.
Agriculture will be OK as long as we have people willing to step away from the comfort of their property to advocate in a way that engages our city friends. But they need support.
Unfortunately, there have been many examples where producers have either started or supported programs intended to benefit industry at every level.
New programs take time to gain momentum and early adopters are needed to get them off the ground. No-one understands better than the producer.
Specifically, producers got behind programs such as PCAS and Grazing BMP. Extension officers, industry and departmental staff worked together to implement systems that proved our sustainability, environmental stewardship and animal management credentials were of international standards.
Individual businesses paid money to be audited. Both industry and the government used the collected data to showcase and defend agriculture.
But it seems the narrative has changed, and not for the better. Self interest and politics got involved and killed these two producer-supported initiatives. How can this trend be good for agriculture?
- Brigid Price, Rural Resources