The livestock industry needs change leadership. Are you the leader we’re looking for?
By Amelia Nolan
1 Start the conversation
Let’s start! The livestock industry can sometimes shy away from sharing what we do. Like all industries, we have made some mistakes in the past. But acknowledging this and communicating all we are doing to improve our practices is the place to start. If we don’t tell our story, someone else less qualified will.
At the hairdressers in the big smoke? Tell them what you do! You have nothing to be ashamed of. You are a part of an industry that produces food and fibre for an increasing global population and that is something to be incredibly proud of.
2 Communicate shared values
Hey, did you know in a way we’re animal activists too?! No really, hear me out. Livestock producers, live export stockpersons, industry professionals, large animal vets or whatever you do in the livestock industry, you put animal welfare first. We may go about our business in a different way to others who label themselves as animal activists, but this is a key mutual value in both our causes.
When communicating shared values, we are listening to our audience and telling them, ‘We care about the animals too’.
3 Know your subject
Choosing what you advocate for is probably one of the easiest steps on this list. Who knows livestock best? The people working with them every day, studying their natural behaviours, treating disease and illness, enforcing biosecurity measures for their health and safety, ensuring they are fed and watered… You!
4 Be kind – to animals AND humans
If you have begun advocating for the livestock industry, you might have already experienced some negative feedback for sharing your views and what you do. Well no matter what you have been called, this is no way to communicate. However frustrated you may be, always ensure you are communicating from a rational and calm space and treating all humans kindly, just like you treat your livestock.
5 Connect and unite
Whilst there are many industries and supply chains within agriculture, creating a united and collaborative front by connecting with all these industries will be instrumental in remaining strong. Just because you run a beef feedlot doesn’t mean the shearer next to you isn’t an asset to your cause. You are all passionate agricultural advocates who need one another’s support. And with the technology available today, there is no excuse not to be connecting.
6 Know what we’re up against
There are groups working together to undo the livestock industry. Don’t be fooled, they have a coordinated approach and a very large ‘war chest’. Collaboration is key here, working together to share resources and tapping into larger organisations that are supportive of the industry.
7 What form of advocacy works for you?
In today’s day and age there are endless ways we can communicate what you do and what you are passionate about. Be it social media, a newspaper article, an interview, a podcast – the opportunities are endless! So what are your strengths? Can you take epic images of life on an outback station for Instagram? Did you excel in English and find words the best way to communicate? Determining this will assist you find the most effective strategy for you and your industry.
8 State the facts
Australia has world-renowned levels of animal welfare, and part of this includes reporting requirements and a profound amount of research. These are FACTS! Why are they not better known?! For shareable industry, facts check out The Livestock Collective website www.thelivestockcollective.com.au/FAQ
9 Be resilient!
This movement is not an overnight fix. This is a slow burn, long haul, big dream we have! Want to be let in on a little secret? People working in agriculture are some of the most resilient people out there. Stay strong, communicate respectfully and reach out if it gets too much.
10 Stand up, be heard and get leading – become a Livestock Leader!
Livestock Leaders is a professional development program which aims to build the capacity of current supply chain champions to be leaders, advocates and influencers. We identify leaders in their industry and empower them to speak on their industries behalf for years to come. This program fosters leadership, builds skills in shared values communication, social media and media engagements, creates a support network of like-minded individuals and empowers you as a champion of your industry.