I was driven with a desire to help people, a heart that wanted to give and a mindset triggered by an accident. It’s a mentality fired by loss and hurt, by passion and influence. In order to reconcile the events of the past, I grew up believing and being told that things happen for a reason, that each additional day was a blessing and opportunities would be presented when they were ready.
Many of these opportunities have opened in recent times, each time convincing me that I’m on the path I need to be. That each step is one in the right direction and every moment is better than the one before. I once called 2014 a dream year, but now know I was purely laying the foundations for what was next.
Of these foundations that were established, I now recognise that many I created and engaged with were purely to tell and share a story. A story of hope, promise, better years on the farm and the rich history that makes us take that step into the unknown. It’s that same step forward that was made by our Great Grandparents, who stopped by that farm once upon a time, stood at the front gate and decided it could support their family. The step of fully committing, risking a future and knowing it was right.
In Australia, our agricultural industry made towns, supported and raised families and provided resources through times of struggle and conflict. Our farms became a location where dreams were realised, memories created and history shaped.
But too often we forget to share this story, the journey shaped by where we are and the lifestyle we grew up with. Too often, we surrender our love and incite fear that food will no longer be on the shelves. And too often, we fail to recognise that what we want most is equality and the same opportunities as our city peers.
Late last year I stood before agricultural rockstars and policy makers and stated that;
‘The farming narrative will be told- it is up to farmers to decide who tells that story and how it will be remembered.’
That the agricultural world that we want to portray is our responsibility and if we don’t share our story, we risk leaving it to someone else. Someone else who may not feel our love and our connection of the land, someone else who may criticise our actions, with little knowledge for why we do it.
Having spent time this week with environmental groups, faith groups and Indigenous organisations to discuss climate change, I have come to appreciate that there is great respect and support for what we do by all parties. We have people who want to listen, who are thirsty for information, but their ability to find information is limited. Our opportunity to share our story is the greatest it has been- agriculture needs to grasp it, take advantage of it and realise this potential.
Whoever tells the story wins the war- the war of opportunity and of accurate, positive stories.