Overcoming the real barriers to change

17 Sep, 2014 02:00 AM
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NSW's Rural Woman of the Year Pip Job.
Everybody wants to be happy – who doesn’t want to be happy?
NSW's Rural Woman of the Year Pip Job.

Meet RIRDC Rural Women's Award finalist Pip Job as we count down to the announcement of the national winner on September 24

FOR years Pip Job has worked to ensure farm families – her own included – leave a positive footprint on their land.

The chief executive of the Little River Landcare Group at Yeoval and an ambassador for Meat and Livestock Australia’s Target 100 program, she’s been a passionate advocate of natural resource management and sustainable food and fibre production.

But she’s been continually stumped by what stops families from embracing new practices or reverting back to old practices.

“What I’ve come to learn over the past few years is that it is always a people problem that stops people from changing or that makes them revert back to past practice,” Pip said.

“And often people don’t realise what those people problems are in their business.”

While there’s endless tools available to help farmers do financial and environmental audits of the farm, she says there’s nothing that helps farmers identify the social weaknesses and strengths in their business which can have just as big an impact on their success.

Her goal is to develop a tool to do just that.

“We’ve got experts that operate in isolation on a lot of these issues like mental health and succession planning but there’s nothing that overarches the whole space and let’s (farm families) do a full audit of the social capacity of the business,” Pip said.

The NSW Rural Woman of the Year, Pip is using her bursary to explore best practice education around issues like mental health, communication, succession planning and financial literacy in New Zealand and the US.

From there, she hopes to develop a checklist that helps farm families see where they sit on the various issues – and how they can manage areas of weakness.

“These are the issues I’m seeing that either help or inhibit farming families from practicing natural resource management and best practice in agriculture,” Pip said.

“We can’t get people to do the Landcare things we need them to do unless they’re dealing with these social challenges.”

She’d like to one day see farm families undertake a regular social audit at the end of each financial year, in the same way they might sit down with their accountant to take the financial pulse of the business.

“Because everybody wants to be happy – who doesn’t want to be happy?”

PODCAST: Click on the image above to hear more from Pip about her project.

To read more about the finalists in the 2014 RIRDC Rural Women's Award click here

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FarmOnline

Sally White

is a former editor of The Land.

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