I check BOM every day – but mainly to determine what to wear.
I crunch numbers relating to commodity prices, yields, fertiliser costs, labour and water use – but I’ve never planted a winter crop.
I own a dusty pair of RM Williams and an Akubra – but I wear heels to work.
Who am I?
It’s a question I know many in my position grapple with. We’re the ones our country counterparts think are ‘city slickers’ and our city friends think are ‘country folk’. We work in agriculture and often have a connection to the land, but not in the way social media or people not connected to ag would usually portray it.
Agriculture is the oldest industry in the world and we all have a direct connection to it if you go back far enough. Gone are the days when everyone in the city had a grandparent, parent, aunt or uncle living on the land; to find that direct connection, you now have to go back further and further. At the same time, agriculture has advanced at a rapid pace in the last century. We’ve reached a point where a lot of people are unaware of what modern agriculture looks like in the day-to-day – the fact that operations are increasingly supported by specialists in technology, legal, environmental and financial services, to name only a few – many of which are run out of urban centres. So, when you say you work in ag, often people revert to the entrenched belief of what life in agriculture looks like, which is often limited to primary production.
The reality is no industry can exist just at the ‘farmgate’ level – if it did, we’d be producing much less food and as a society we’d be much less advanced than we are. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a wide range of interconnected disciplines to keep our pantries and fridges stocked (and Australia’s agricultural output at $78bn).
Would someone who worked at BHP’s Melbourne headquarters ever question if they worked in mining? Would a Qantas employee doubt whether they worked in the airline industry simply because their desk didn’t overlook a runway? I doubt it.
Is that to say we’re farmers? Of course not. I spend too much time in air-conditioned environments with easy access to barista-made coffee to ever be able to claim that.
But I do work in the same industry as farmers.
So, to answer the question, ‘Who am I?’ – that’s easy.
I’m a Concrete Cowgirl.
Future Farmers Network directors regularly give their opinion on the latest news, events and issues in agriculture for an article for Australian Community Media. Here’s the most recent article from FFN Director Lauren Roellgen