There are a lot of wise old sayings that must have their roots in farming; make hay while the sun shines and don’t count your chickens before they hatch! Here’s another one I’ve been thinking about lately. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
We all know who the enemies of agriculture are. They live far removed from us. It’s this distance between us that allows for the great gulf of misinformation and misrepresented facts that have been so damaging of late. Farmers would like to put their story forward and negate all the hate stories deliberately spread by environmental groups, greenies and vegans. So many people with a barrow to push!
Social media gives a voice to everyone, no matter what credentials they have, to loudly proclaim their knowledge of everything from the environment and soil conservation to the protection of koala habitat. They preach a better way to farm, a better way to eat; they have missed their calling as life coaches! So is it a waste of time interacting with them? Another wise saying is “You’ll never reach your destination if you stop to throw stones at every dog that barks.”
The Queensland government, The Wilderness Society, PETA, Animals Australia and many others have substantial amounts of time and money to spend on their spliced together propaganda films. But who else can share videos of our clean, green sustainable agriculture; of acres of productive farming land, the unspoilt landscape, the creeks and rivers and grazing pastures that feed this nation?
Supermarkets are proud to display glossy photographs of the grower with his vegetable crops, the orchards of stone fruit and the grazier with his herd of fat steers; these scenes are not exactly a blight on the landscape. This is agriculture and it is beautiful. How many shoppers look at these scenes with disgust for the trees that have been cleared to grow their food? Not one, because they understand that’s what farming looks like. You can’t grow food in a forest!
We as the custodians of this land have a duty to keep showcasing the good work we do. If we don’t keep interacting, the message that will continue to appear in newsfeeds, on posters and in the newspapers of south east Queensland will be the message of the greens; the detractors of our industry.
We need to stay positive, to focus on sharing our stories and ignore the ‘barking dogs’ who at the end of the day, will drain every ounce of patience and energy from us.