YOUNG professionals in primary industries were given the opportunity to practice creating trust in agriculture with external audiences as part of a training workshop held in Perth recently.
As part of the workshop, 22 participants from various primary industries, including grain, livestock, dairy, fisheries and horticulture, spent a day learning how to build trust with consumers with the help of AgCommunicators managing director Deanna Lush.
The participants were all nominated by industry associations and organisations which identified them as having potential to be a champion for their industry.
Ms Lush said a lot of the time young people looked to the older generations, who might be in positions of leadership and think it's their job to have those conversations.
"When you look at consumers and what they find as a trusted source of information, family and friends rate really highly," Ms Lush said.
"Young people often really underestimate the level of influence they can have within their own networks.
"But the other part to it is that these young people are going to be the next leaders of our primary production industry, so it's important for them to think about what's important to consumers."
The workshop program was fully funded by the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia's Careers in Grain program and was made possible through a co-scheduling collaboration with The Sheep Collective and Meat and Livestock Australia.
The training was based on research by the United States Centre for Food Integrity and built on the themes and results of the recent 2019 Food Alliance WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Trust in Primary Production project.
Ms Lush said the main aim of the training was to look at the values of the agriculture industry and how to best communicate those values to non-ag audiences.
"We have a lot of information which we want to communicate about agriculture, but we need to understand what the consumers value," Ms Lush said.
"The US Centre for Food Integrity has done a lot of research into what actually builds trust in agriculture and the research found that shared values are three to five times more important to building trust than sharing facts or demonstrating technical skills."
Ms Lush said within agriculture when people were communicating, they're always talking about the science without thinking about the shared value they have with the consumer.
"In ag, because we have so much knowledge and we've done so much research, we want to take all of that and communicate it to people," Ms Lush said.
"But that's not always the best approach, people kind of glaze over it, we're not all wired for science, some people are wired for story and emotion.
"The shared value could be food safety, food affordability, how we're committed to looking after our land or the fact that we're all in small family businesses and when you start thinking in that frame, it changes how you communicate."
The training revolved around a framework called 'ask, listen, share', with participants being taught to first listen to consumers and ask questions to uncover what their values are, before sharing the knowledge that they have.