Improving agriculture's image

28 Feb, 2015 01:00 AM
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Speakers at last week's WAFarmers confernece included Sam Collier (left), Alicia Garden and Darren Best.
It underlines the potential for the industry because you don’t have to be a farmer to be in ag...
Speakers at last week's WAFarmers confernece included Sam Collier (left), Alicia Garden and Darren Best.

AUSTRALIAN Agriculture Movement founder Sam Collier, New South Wales, called for a united focus to promote agriculture as an agribusiness, at the WAFarmers conference.

“At the farmgate, agriculture accounts for three per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product,” he said.

“But agribusiness accounts for 12pc of GDP which is a substantial contribution to the nation’s wealth.

“It underlines the potential for the industry because you don’t have to be a farmer to be in agriculture.

“You can be a vet, a mechanic, a salesman, a machinery dealer, a driver, an agronomist and numerous other careers.

“We’ve got to emphasise that agriculture is a business and we’re not all farmers, we’re agribusiness professionals.

“So it is important that we should stop being fragmented and unite our efforts because we are leaders in what we do and we can build a positive image as a united body to have real pull in overcoming challenges.”

Mr Collier, a machinery dealer in Wee Waa, founded the #australianagriculture movement, promoting agriculture via social media, to shift views from within the industry.

His main goal is to brand agriculture in the way participants of the agricultural sector see it.

“By changing the way the agricultural community presents itself, it will be perceived more favourably by the consumer,” he said.

Mr Collier was one of three speakers addressing the image component of the conference theme of #Generation Ag, which focuses on the future through youth, image, innovation and investment.

The other two were Toodyay hay contractor and farmer Darren Best and Grain Growers chief executive officer Alicia Garden.

Mr Best said he grew up on a hobby farm after leaving school aged 14 years and entered an apprenticeship as a boilermaker/welder.

During his apprenticeship he was involved in contract hay-making.

“Now I employ nine full-time staff baling hay and silage,” he said.

Looking at the group of WA College of Agriculture, Narrogin, students in the audience, he said there were numerous careers in agriculture.

“Find something you’re good at, do it well and work hard,” he said.

“Don’t be bothered by knockers and just get out there and have a red hot crack.”

Ms Garden spoke of her experience as a young CEO (under 35 years) which promoted an image of the ability to achieve career positions at an early age.

“Be innovative, embrace technology and have a go,” she said.

“This is an exciting industry and there are lots of opportunities, particularly in consumer-driven niche markets.

“The creation of the chia market is a perfect example of what can be achieved.”

Ken Wilson

Ken Wilson

is Farm Weekly's machinery writer

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