Farmers call to arms

Each year the Readers Digest does a poll to determine Australia’s most trusted professions. Last year as you can see farmers came in at number 7.

Top ten most trusted professions in 2011

1. Paramedics

2. Firefighters

3. Pilots

4. Rescue volunteers

5. Nurses

6. Pharmacists

7. Farmers

8. Medical specialists

9. GPs

10. Veterinarians

Four years ago when farmers were at number 9 I showed the list to a group of farmers and posed the question “ why aren’t farmers at the top of the list”. The farmers around the table replied “ the majority of the professions in the top 10 save lives”. My reply was without farmers supplying people with food, their most basic of needs, there would be no life and we need to find away to remind people just how important farmers are.

At that time I received mostly blank looks to my suggestion from the farmers around the table. I thought this was very sad and recognised we also needed to find a way to make farmers realise just how important they are. After all if you don’t believe in yourself how can you expect anyone else too.

So I began a crusade to fix this lack of appreciation of farmer self worth and initiated the Art4Agriculture programs to provide opportunities for farmers to share their stories with the community and in turn get a greater understanding of the community’s expectations of the people who supply them with food and fibre. The aim was to create a two way appreciation between rural and urban communities and an understanding of how much we rely on each other other.

This year is Australian Year of the Farmer. A once in a life time opportunity to remind people (farmers and the community alike) just how important our farmers are.

Australian Year of the Farmer is an opportunity for every primary industry, every rural community and every farmer to invite their urban cousins to join them in a 365 day celebration.

Beyond Art4agriculture’s activities I am having a dinner party once a month for my urban friends. They will receive a copy of an Australian rural showcase like Fiona Lake’s books which my first guests were lucky enough to get.

AYOF dinner

We will celebrate local produce, drink local wine and I will be encouraging them to wake up each morning and say “I thank a farmer today”

IMG_4111

There is no shortage of great food on the South Coast.  And just to prove it we recently won the 100 mile challenge

IMG_0331

What do you have planned?

Well known Australian author Fleur McDonald– the voice of outback has pledged to get hold of 52 Farmers and post a blog a week from a farmer. From every part of Agriculture; grain, stock, mixed, fishing, dairy, viticulture, communications and so on and so forth!

This week I am very honoured to say I am farmer no 4. You will find my blog on Fleur’s site as well as at the bottom of this post.

CALL TO ARMS

This is my challenge to Australian farmers. Farmers are currently number 7 on Australia’s most trusted professions list. How can we work together to make 2012 the year Australia votes to put their farmers at number 1?

I look forward to working with each and everyone of you to make this happen

Fleur McDonald – Australian Year of the Farmer – a farmers story No 4 by Lynne Strong Clover Hill Dairies

Firstly I would like thank Fleur McDonald for giving me this opportunity to share my story and congratulate her for taking the lead in Australian Year of the Farmer by sharing 52 farmers’ stories. For too long food has been about cooking and eating and recipes and restaurants with little attention paid to the origin of the key ingredients. It’s time for everyone in the food value chain to follow Fleur’s lead and put faces to the product and give our customers real farmers they can relate to

1. Summary of your family and farming enterprise

My name is Lynne Strong and I farm at Clover Hill Dairies in partnership with my husband Michael and son Nick in what I refer to as paradise – the beautiful Jamberoo valley on the South Coast of NSW.

Clover Hill Dairies

Jamberoo is the birth place of the Australian dairy industry and the cooperative movement and my family has been farming here for 180 years.

I am actively involved in the day to day running of our two dairy farms where we milk 500 cows that produce milk to supply over 50,000 Australians daily. Lynne and Michael Strong

The highlight of my farming journey to date has been winning the National Landcare Primary Producer Award. This award recognises farmers who have a holistic view of farming and are committed to achieving the delicate balance between sustainable and profitable food production, and the health and wellbeing of people, animals and the planet

Nick Strong

2. Why I farm

· I farm because the people I care about most in the world farm and they are in it for the long haul

· I farm because I believe feeding, clothing and housing the world is the noblest profession

· I farm because I like the mental intensity, the constant review process, the drive to get up each day and do it better. The fulfilling challenge of balancing productivity, people, animals and the planet

· I farm because inspirational people farm. Feeding, clothing and housing the world now and in the next 50 years is going to require an extraordinary effort. This means we need extraordinary people to take up the challenge. When I work with inspirational people, they light my fire, feed my soul and challenge me to continue to strive to make a unique contribution to agriculture and the community.

3. What do you foresee as the biggest short term and long term challenges in farming?

Sadly Australia is complacent about the challenges to food security. There is a lack of appreciation by society in general of the interdependence of environment, agriculture, food and health.

However if we are to progress and fuel the mushrooming food needs of the cities while meeting the community’s expectations for environmental sustainability and animal well-being, then both rural and urban communities must have greater mutual empathy and respect.

This I believe is the real challenge facing farmers in the immediate future -How do we fix it?

As I see it we can do one of two things. We (farmers) can sit back and lament that we are victims or we can actively acknowledge that farmers are business people selling a product and successful businesses recognise marketing is a strategic part of doing business.

Marketing doesn’t mean every farmer needs to have a logo, spend money on advertising, write a marketing plan, write a blog, join Twitter or Facebook – it simply means being customer focused. This means you have to understand your customer and their values and your business has to BE the image you want your customer to see.Then whenever you get a chance, put that image out there. It may be at the farmgate, at a local farmers market, a community meeting, a media interview or whenever you are in contact with consumers.

Every sector of the food system whether they be farmers, manufacturers, branded food companies, supermarkets or restaurants is under ever increasing pressure to demonstrate they are operating in a way that is consistent with stakeholder values and expectations. Farmers cannot expect to be exempted from this scrutiny just because we grow the food.

Businesses are built on relationships. This means we (farmers) have to get out there in our communities and start having two way conversations with our customers

Excitingly I know that once farmers embrace the concept they will discover like me that it can be very rewarding talking to your customers. They are interested and they do care.

There are so many ways farmers can share their stories. To help achieve this I initiated the innovative ‘Art4Agriculture’ programs which started with Picasso Cows and is now the Archibull Prize. The Archibull Prize uses art and multimedia to engage thousands of students in learning about the valuable role farmers play in Australia’s future.

With the Art4Agriculture team I am working on establishing an Australia wide network of ‘young agricultural champions’ who are trained to tell the great story of Australian agriculture to the next generation of consumers – students.

This program connects young people from different food and fibre industries. They get to see their similarities, they find common ground, they realise each has issues that are just as challenging, and they learn how they can help each other.

Art4Agriculture’s Young Farming Champions program for 2012 will train a team of 24 young farmers from regional Australia to actively engage with students in schools around Australia. The students will focus on a particular food or fibre industry, receive a unique insight from their Young Farming Champion and then enter their project work (their Archie) to vie for the ‘Archibull Prize’.

Our Young Farming Champions will also have the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive and diverse array of initiatives offered by our supporting partners. These events will provide a platform from which to develop, build and strengthen the capacity of the Young Farming Champions and allow primary industries to develop key farmer-to-stakeholder and farmer-to-consumer relationships.

Through their involvement in Art4Agriculture school programs our Young Farming Champions will be able to directly market their food or fibre industry and its diverse career pathways to a captive and relevant audience. The legacy of the Young Farming Champions program is to create an Australia wide network of enthusiastic young professionals and build their capacity to promote Australian agriculture as a dynamic, innovative, rewarding and vibrant industry.

We believe this program will not only help build the capability of young rural people to farm with resilience and confidence it will provide a great platform to spark the next generations’ interest in an agricultural career.

4. What is my vision for the future?

My vision for the future isn’t too difficult; it just requires a different way of thinking. I believe a profitable and sustainable healthy future for the farming sector is achievable – the health and welfare of all Australians and many people around the world depends on it.

To drive the process of change requires champions and leaders. But to change grass roots perceptions, we need grass roots action. Farmers care about the country, their livestock and the people they provide with food and fibre. Beyond best farming practices, farmers have to be out in communities, walking the talk – from paddock to plate, from cow to consumer – and building trust between rural and urban communities. I want farming men and women to go out and sell the message that feeding and clothing the world is an awesome responsibility and a noble profession, and that it offers great careers. Just imagine if we could achieve my vision of an Australia-wide network of trained, passionate farmers talking directly with the communities they supply!

5. What do you wish non-farmers / city people & the Australian Government understood about farming?

Australian farmers proudly feed and clothe 60 million people. If they were doctors or nurses or pharmacists or ambulance officers or firemen there would be a moment in most people’s lives when they would be reminded just how important those professions are.
But farmers, at less than 1 per cent of the Australian population, are almost invisible and with food in abundance in this country, there is little opportunity to remind Australians just how important our farmers are.
I am hoping Australian Year of the Farmer starts a very long conversation and a new appreciation for the land that produces our food and the hands that grow it

6. What would I like to see on a billboard?

Billboard – across Sydney Harbour Bridge

“If you want safe, affordable, nutritious food forever love the land that produces it and the hands that grow it.”

clip_image002

You can visit us at the following websites:

Clover Hill Dairies www.cloverhilldairies.com.au

Art4agriculture www.art4agriculture.com.au

Read our blogs at:

Clover Hill Dairies Diary http://chdairiesdiary.wordpress.com/

Art4agriculturechat https://art4agriculturechat.wordpress.com

Follow us on twitter:

@chdairies and @art4ag

Follow us on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clover-Hill-Dairies/211850082224503

http://www.facebook.com/art4agriculture/

You can find links to our Flickr, Slideshare and YouTube accounts on our websites as well as my email address. Looking forward to hearing from you

Australian Year of the Farmer Roadshow puts the pedal to the metal

Exciting times:

Nine Roadshow units including a custom built Pantech for the Royal Shows and 8 4WD and a purpose built trailer are travelling to the majority of Royal Shows and local agricultural shows, agricultural field days, major cultural festivals and sporting event around Australia, throughout 2012 as part of the Australian Year of the Farmer showcase

P1190141

The AYOF National Roadshow will be a celebration of Australian farmers and produce. It will entertain and educate all Australians – metropolitan, rural and regional; delivering key messages supporting the Year’s objectives and tagline, “Our Farmers. Our Future.”

P1190138

The Roadshow exhibits will be attended by some of the AYOF Ambassadors, industry leaders, celebrities and local identities who will “meet and greet”, interacting with the general public about the Year of the Farmer.

These Roadshow units will be exhibited at 250 plus events including the V8 Supercars, travelling a combined distance of over 56,000 kilometres, within twelve months.

Art4agriculture Young Farming Champion Stephanie Tarlinton featured here

has signed on for the Roadshow team and is having the time of her life

P1190140

P1190139

A feature of the Roadshow is the opportunity for kids to paint cow shaped money boxes Here is Stephanie overseeing some young Picassos

This is the Roadshow itinerary for February. Shout it from the rooftops if it is coming to a town near year. Introduce yourself to Stephanie and the team and maybe even paint a cow moneybox

Victoria:

9-10 February 2012 Hamilton Beef Expo
11 February 2012 Tyrendarra Show
15 -17/02/2012 Sungold Field Days, Allansford
24-25 February 2012 Rochester Show
25-26 February 2012 Berwick & District Show

South Australia

11th February 2012 Taste the Limestone Coast
18th February 2012 Uraidla and Summertown Show
25-26 February 2012 Angaston Show

NEW SOUTH WALES

10-11 February 2012 Nowra Show
11-12 February 2012 Crookwell Show
17-19 February 2012 Maitland & Hunter River Show
17-18 February 2012 Guyra Show
23-25 February 2012 Inverell Show
25 February 2012 Rylstone-Kandos Show

QUEENSLAND

3-4 February 2012 Stanthorpe Show
10-11 February 2012 Allora Show
10-12 February 2012 Glen Innes Show
17-19 February 2012 Clifton Show
24-25 February 2012 Killarney Show
25th February 2012 Cooyar Show

ROYAL UNIT

17-19 February 2012 Seymour Alternative Farming Expo
24-26 February 2012 Canberra Royal Show

Life in a country town – Young farming champion Melissa Henry shares her story

Today’s guest blog is by Ar4agriculture Young Farming Champion Melissa Henry who lives and works at Boorowa in Central NSW

As a Young Farming Champion going into Sydney schools for the Archibull Prizeand talking with others in the city community, a common question I am asked is “what is it like to like in a country town?” There are a lot of negative misconceptions about what life in a rural community is like. In this post, I will share with you my perspectives and what I love most about country living.

St. Michaels

Melissa with the students from St Michael’s Catholic Primary School, Baulkham Hills.

I grew up in the western Sydney suburbs of the Hawkesbury District. My first introduction to rural Australia was through my agricultural education – having the opportunity to show livestock and do project-based work in rural enterprises. I fell in love!

I moved to the Boorowa/ Harden area in November 2010. Boorowa is approx. 1.5hrs west of Canberra and 3.5hrs south west of Sydney.

I love the open spaces, the quiet, the birds, seeing wildlife almost daily, recognising people when you walk down the street, watching the weather fronts as they move across the landscape.

I admire the values of country people: genuine, friendly, open, family focussed, dedicated, innovative, passionate about what they do and their communities.

I am inspired by the community spirit, particularly in times of extreme weather events such as floods and fire. Individuals pull together at the drop of a hat to help others in need, from moving stock to making sure that there is food in the fridge.

I am grateful for the opportunity to live in a location where I can fulfil my passion – owning a small sheep stud. I am also grateful for the lifestyle that I am now living.

Lambs

Flopsey and her twin lambs

So what is in the town of Boorowa with a shire population of 2500 people? Bakery, cafes, butcher, gift shop, a fibre & textile studio, newsagency, post office, IGA, chemist, small hospital, emergency services, rural supply stores, Ex-Services Club, pubs with great meals and accommodation, Chinese restaurant, real estate agents, banks, mechanic, hairdressers, hardware stores, library, schools, recreation park, sports fields, race course, golf course, swimming pool, showground, caravan park, Council, Tourism Information, and the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority office (where I work). I find that it is everything that I need on a week to week basis.

FibreFilia

Boorowa’s main street – proud of its wool products

One of my favourite events in the year is Boorowa’s Irish Woolfest – a celebration of the town’s Irish heritage and the fine merino wool that is produced in the region. The event is made famous by the “running of the sheep” down the main street – Boorowa’s response to the Spanish running of the bulls!

Running of the Sheep

The town is a buzz for this October long weekend each year. In 2011 there was an estimated 18,000 people who came to see everything that Boorowa has to offer. Will I see you there this year?

For more information about Boorowa and the Irish Woolfest, visit http://www.irishwoolfest.boorowa.net/

For more information about the NSW Regional Relocation Grant, visit http://www.osr.nsw.gov.au/benefits/rrg/

You can see the video (and her gorgeous sheep) Melissa created for her in school visits here

and access her PowerPoint Presentation Baa Baa Black Sheep here

Don’t miss this one St Michael’s Primary School share their appreciation of Australian farmers

and their excellent  video entry for Archibull Prize

Wool Can do amazing things

and their prize winning PowerPoint presentation

http://www.slideshare.net/art4agriculture/st-michaels-catholic-school-archibull-prize-2011-entry-wool

Attracting and retaining the best and the brightest to agriculture higher education

Art4agriculture Young Farming Champions are promoting agriculture as a dynamic, innovative, rewarding and vibrant industry and sparking the next generations’ interest in an agricultural career.

Yet the retention rate in university agriculture based courses is far from ideal. Where are we going wrong? How do we fix this?  

Today’s post by guest blogger Art4agriculture’s communication manager Victoria Taylor who blogs at http://flourishfiles.typepad.com/flourishfiles/ reflects on this serious problem for future food security and our investment in young people

10 January 2012

AgSci and the Shrinking Workforce – by Victoria Taylor

 

This morning, @OzPIEF tweeted a statistic from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations stating that employment in Agriculture declined by 94,400 (24.9%) over the 10 years to November 2011.

This caused me to reflect on two other Twitter posts that caught my attention recently.

The first was an article from the Central Western Daily, posted by @SammileeTTT where Charles Sturt University’s new head of agriculture, Professor John Mawson said:

“The proportion of university-trained employees in the industry is not as high as it should be. We desperately need to attract more students into agricultural careers.”

That’s nothing new to those of us who work in or with agricultural industries and the statistics back him up. In 2005 the Productivity Commission in their research paper “Trends in Australian Agriculture” found that the proportion of people working in agriculture with a degree was around 7% whereas 22% of the community as a whole had a degree.

The other tweet was by @KondininGroup which referred to Victorian Farmers Federation concerns that the higher education base funding review has recommended raising the fees for agricultural courses at university by up to 25%.

It seems incongruous that these two pronouncements can co-exist. How can the answer to low enrolments in Agricultural Science (AgSci) be to increase fees?

But it made me think about what may be contributing to a low take up of AgSci degrees. I don’t think fees tell the whole story.

Why are some Agricultural Science degrees still four years long?

Agricultural Science is a complex and technical subject area but computer science, accounting, journalism and even many straight Science degrees are only three years. I don’t think it could be said that those students spending an extra year in Agricultural Science are rewarded financially for their efforts on graduation.

Why are so many Agricultural Science degrees inflexible?

I accept that AgSci provides graduates with a comprehensive understanding across a range of disciplines. I am continually reminded that a solid grounding in basic science is transferable across a number industries, which serves graduates and agriculture well. I wonder though, if a student is ultimately interested in animal nutrition, why do some degrees insist they study agronomy for three years before they can specialise?

What is the link between AgSci and Farming?

An AgSci degree doesn’t teach you how to farm, it teaches the science that underpins agricultural production.  So an industry leader told me recently when discussing this issue.  Some students are therefore disillusioned when they get to university and find the degree is focussed on science, not farming.  

Why can’t we retain students in Agricultural Science courses?

I guess some of the above points may contribute to low retention rates.  One farmer told me of the 100+ students in their first year only 4 graduated. Where did all those young people go? Well, some transferred to straight Science where they had more freedom to pursue their interests, some went home to the farm questioning the degree’s relevance to their family’s operations and some had just changed their minds about what they wanted to do…which is the right of all young people of course!

I’d like to add a lack of clarity about career paths to the list.

Many of you can think of at least a dozen people in highly diverse careers in agriculture – agronomists, bankers, PR people, scientists, advisers, lobbyists, farmers, machinery dealers, policy makers…etc

If a student decides at the end of first year that they don’t want to be an agronomist or farmer anymore, how do we let them know there are a number of other career options open to AgSci graduates?

Apart from encounters with family and friends, how often do we take the time to engage with young people to demonstrate how rewarding and diverse a career in agriculture can be? 

We owe it to ourselves, to protect the investment we’ve made in our businesses and industries and to secure the future of food and fibre production, to support and invest in our young people. 

A new group of school-leavers are about to start their AgSci degrees…what will YOU do to keep them there?

Giving…. Not just a once a year sport!

Guest Blog by Kirsty John – Art4Agriculture Program and Event Management

As we rapidly approach the end of 2011, we often find ourselves reflecting on our year, what have we achieved, what didn’t we tick of that to do list, who have we met and how have our lives changed. As I took a moment to think about that, I quickly realised that one of the highlights of my year was the working with Lynne Strong and Art4Agriculture. So, I asked Lynne if I could do a guest blog post – little did she know that it would be about her J

In this age of tweeting, Facebooking, four walling, blogging, Youtubing and any other ‘ing’ you can add to that, life begins to move at an incredible speed, where reactions to issues, statements, achievements are immediate and if you don’t react immediately you sometimes feel like the moment is lost. A constant ‘lost moment’ I felt this year, was being able to say to Lynne ‘well done on what you have done for individuals and an industry in 2011!’

We have all seen the traffic and conversations created through the Archibull Prize Program and the Young Farming Champions Program. Some of the great ‘Agvocacy’ success stories have been Emma Visser (Heywire winner), Steph Tarlinton (profiled Young Farming Champion), Melissa Henry (Coloured sheep entrepreneur) and Hollie Baillieu (AYOF Ambassador), just to name a few. These amazing young women in agriculture have something in common – Lynne Strong and the time she has given to each of them to assist them reach their potential. It’s mentoring of the 21st century kind, where their individual talents have been exposed and nurtured and the modern day tools they need, like voice training, how to talk ‘consumer’ and video story telling have been given to them to get the message out there that agriculture is a great industry to be in.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Kahlil Gibran

 

Lynne is one of those people who gives, and often does not realise the greatness of her giving on a daily basis – it is not a once a year sport, it’s a long and sometimes bloody tiring season, but I have seen the outcomes bring a smile to Lynne’s face and a tear to her eyes.

So as you consider your resolutions for 2012, think about how you can inspire, motivate, mentor, support and be the change that we need to see in the agricultural industry to ensure a strong future. It can be as simple as not losing the moment or the opportunity to congratulate the great work that your fellow farmers, your friends and family do on a daily basis (that’s my resolution!) to being open to sharing your stories and experiences with the current generation, to being not afraid of having a big idea and putting yourself out there with it. That’s exactly what Lynne Strong and Art4Agriculture did and the proof from this giving is definitely in the Christmas pudding!!

 

Merry Christmas and here’s to a great 2012!

Kirsty John

BUDDING YOUNG ARTISTS LEARN ABOUT LIFE ON THE LAND

Our special guest at the 2011 Archibull Prize was the Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Katrina Hodgkinson who recognised the efforts of budding young artists as part of the agricultural art award, the 2011 Archibull Prize.

The Minister spoke extensively with students from a number of schools as she viewed the finalist artworks which will be on display for six weeks at Woolworths Head Office at Bella Vista.

“The Archibulls provide a unique opportunity for our city kids to learn all about farming, agriculture, and where our food comes from,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“Using videos, artwork, blogs and multimedia, school kids from Western Sydney this year tackled the theme, what it takes to sustainably feed and clothe Sydney for a day. The students had the opportunity to express their thoughts on agriculture and rural Australia by designing and decorating an iconic life-sized fibreglass cow. As part of the Art4Agriculture awards, each school researched and showcased a key agricultural commodity, including dairy, beef, sheep, wool, cotton, grains and poultry. It was my pleasure to announce the winner of the 2011 Archibull Prize as Caroline Chisholm College of Glenmore Park who turned their blank cow into a Rubik’s Cube to tell the story of beef,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

Ms Hodgkinson said the Art4Agriculture initiative is a great way for students growing up in the city to get a real insight into life on the land.

“Each school was mentored by a Young Farming Champion who worked with the students through the project and shared their experiences of life on the land. By rolling up their sleeves and getting involved, the program is an innovative way of bridging the rural-urban divide and helping tomorrow’s leaders understand the challenges of feeding the world.”

More than 20 urban Sydney schools took part in the Archibull Prize this year.
The Art4Agriculture Archibull Prize was developed with the support of the NSW Department of Primary Industries LandLearn initiative, Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry and Woolworths and RIRDC.

More photos can be found here http://www.flickr.com/photos/art4agriculture/

See the winning Powerpoints here

Secondary Schools

Model Farms

Colo High School

Primary Schools

St Michael’s Catholic School

Hollie Baillieu talks leadership

Art4Agriculture team members Lynne Strong, Melissa Henry and Hollie Baillieu all recently presented at the Future Focused Ag Oz forum in Sydney on November 26th/27th on the topic of Leadership

Hollie Baillieu and Art4Ag team members Kirsty John and Heidi Cheney and AgChatOz founder Danical Leys
Hollie Baillieu and Art4Ag team members Kirsty John and Heidi Cheney and #AgChatOz co-founder Danica Leys

Hollie has kindly agreed to share her presentation with you

Everyone in this room is a leader – the fact that you came here today makes you one. You don’t wake up and think – today is the day I will be a leader. Its gradual, it evolves and sometimes you don’t even know its happened and perhaps it takes you a while to accept that you are one. Its only when you get ownership of something that that sense of pride sets in. When you are in part responsible for the success of something, you are responsible for the direction of a group and you are responsible for people other than yourself – that’s when you realise that hey maybe I do have leadership qualities.


Being the age I am and the age most of you are in this room – I think we are becoming leaders, – we have a long way to go however, we are evolving into those sorts of people that have leadership qualities and those that have influence over others.

I would like you to have a think for me – I would like you to think of someone that you would do anything for, perhaps someone you would trust your life with.

While you are thinking of that person or maybe there are a few people that spring to mind, I would like to put something to you. I mentioned the word influence before. I believe that leadership is about influence, how you influence those around you.

True leadership is there regardless of position within a business, group. They hold a high degree of influence, Those around them choose to serve them. I don’t see someone who uses their position to influence necessarily shows leadership.

Hopefully you have all thought of that person you would do anything for, you would trust your life with. What do they do or what attributes do they have that make them that person.

When I thought of the people that have the highest degree of influence over me I thought of a few things.

  • They are authentic – they are real, they are genuine, they are not those people that look over your shoulder at a party searching for someone else they would rather talk to.
  • They are committed to what they have said they will do, They are loyal to a cause and they are loyal to you and your team.
  • They share a vision and therefore empower the rest of the group.
  • They are inclusive and understand that when their team feels good and feels needed – it will work more easily as one.
  • They show integrity – their behaviour serves as a role model for everyone else.

There are many more attributes but you know what makes those people in your life special.

I want you to take a step back and look at yourself, I have no doubt that you all hold some or all of those attributes and I have no doubt that someone holds you in that light, that you have that degree of influence.

So, Greg asked me to talk about some of those things that have helped me in the positions that I now have. The reason I introduced the term leadership so broadly was basically for you to understand how I see that level and degree of influence as a key driver to effective leadership.

The roles I now have as Chair of the NSW Farmers Young Farmer Council, an ambassador for Agrifood Skills Australia and a Young Farming Champion for the Art4Ag schools program – I guess I show some attributes of leadership but as I said before – I believe I am too young and inexperienced to be a fully formed leader although hopefully I am becoming one and continue to evolve into a stronger more effective one.

I have narrowed my thoughts into three key areas, they are basic – nothing too incredible but perhaps the simpler things, again I will use this word, those things that we personally have influence over and perhaps its those little things we forget sometimes.

Things that have helped me along the way

– This first point stems from my mum and she still says it to me all the time but seriously it has helped me. “Talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime” ( ask Hollie to share her airport story)

This phrase – is especially important in the agriculture industry. It is incredible who people know in this industry and I am finding this out more and more each day within my role with Australian Year of the Farmer as they all link in with my other roles in the industry.

– The second point which anyone who knows me will understand and that is to smile and be friendly. This is so simple but people forget to do it. When you smile and are friendly not only you as a person is happier but I will generate that smile around the room or in your group. Remember when you felt anxious and nervous – it is the most awful feeling and I get actually get these feelings quite often. However, when I am doing things with the Young Farmer Council especially – I don’t feel nervous or anxious because its my arena, I know where I am and generally what I am doing ( laughs Bec might disagree). I’m comfortable in this situation. When we have held an event and a new person joins us – you can tell very quickly if they are feeling comfortable or not. I don’t want people to feel anxious or nervous when they are around me or when they are involved with something that I am in part responsible for running. You will all agree with me – that when you see a smiling friendly person – you immediately calm and know that you have a friend.

– Remember this – when your team feels comfortable, when they feel included and at ease – that is when you get the best out of them and in turn the best comes out in you and as a team you are then the most effective you can be.

– Lastly, as I said this is simple stuff and this is perhaps the most simple and something you can change very quickly.

And that is your appearance. The most critical time for this is when we are all just starting off in the world. We are in such a competitive environment – we cant afford to be lacking in those areas that are so easily changed.


Remember appearance isn’t just what you look like – it is the whole package. I want you to literally visualise this – Two people are going for an interview. Someone who has a smile on their face, who looks great, with a strong hand shake and looks people in the eye will always have it over someone who walks into an interview who has a weak hand shake, doesn’t look them in the eye and looks like they have just jumped off the sofa after watching a twilight marathon. That is one thing that you can do so easily, that you directly influence.

These little things are really important. I’m organising the recruiting process for the AYOF Road Show – I have been looking at a lot of CV’s, cover letters and those people who spell my name wrong get an immediate shake of the head. It’s the whole package, the little things matter, you can directly influence those things and I reckon we are forgetting those little things – don’t. The little things have helped me and maybe at some point they will help you to.

Thanks Hollie all of us who know and love you certainly can testify your smile could light the nite sky during a blackout.

Hollie Canola 4
Hollie Baillieu says smile and the whole world smiles with you