Dutch advocacy puts wind in AgForce sails

View From the Paddock: The new Dutch advocacy

OPINION
News
Mark Davie, central Queensland cattleman and food manufacturer.

Mark Davie, central Queensland cattleman and food manufacturer.

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There is a famous quote: "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result".

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There is a famous quote: "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result".

This has been a challenge in our advocacy. Like sailors yelling at the wind, we are often attracted to the same old approach - take a stand, no more, we are fed up.

It feels good at the time, we feel vindicated by our own rhetoric, our echo chamber validates it back to us, and there is no accountability because you don't have to deliver anything meaningful.

The press are happy to promote it because division and anger sells, but decisions happen to us - we are not part of them - because we act in a way that gets us locked out of the room.

The AgForce cattle board was introduced to the new age of advocacy through the recruitment of Ivar Bisseling, a Dutch lobbyist (as he prefers to call himself) and our impact has never been wider, stronger or more influential.

Ivar works hard, incredibly hard, with English as a second language. He builds a detailed understanding of each topic and all parties involved, and develops a plan to work with them strategically and have them on board before we enter the room.

Ivar creates teams for each project, aligning our skills and pushing us to develop our approach to secure the best outcome for industry.

The regulations and policies we influence don't make the paper. You cannot scream bloody murder at the things you have been allowed to impact. But our influence steadily builds momentum, slowly pushing against the head winds of our industry.

It is a great credit to Agforce Queensland, our cattle board president Will Wilson and former board member Alice Greenup, who played a huge role in recruiting Ivar.

To quote Alice's parting note to the board as she moved on to her independent Cattle Council role, "I am pleased to have been part of the selection process that brought Ivar into our lives and industry. When I count our blessings, I count Ivar twice".

I am immensely grateful to be able to call Ivar a colleague, to learn from him and to see the conversations he has opened up for our industry in a short period of time.

I was reflecting on it recently and felt it important for producers to understand how Agforce is working to help create a better future for our beef businesses, and a better connection with our governments and stakeholders, to know about the new age of advocacy.

No more will we shout at the wind - we are now sailing.

- Mark Davie, central Queensland cattleman and food manufacturer

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