Practical ideas for facilitating workshops & people development

Posts tagged ‘agriculture’

Grab attention with song!

IMG_0919What do we typically do in agriculture when we want to attract attention to a topic?

We data dump! We write a fact sheet or an article to publish and try to  deliver as much information as we can on the issue.

If we compare this to other industries …. when they want to grab our attention they use marketing and incorporate emotional hooks to really make us notice.

Its called advertising.

Look at the latest car advertisement. Where’s the data? Sure. it’s available but to grab your attention, the marketing team has hooked into some emotional link you have to the vehicle that will make you feel good about your decision to purchase.

My husband, Bill , a farm consultant and farmer has tried a similar approach to communicate the serious issue of herbicide resistance – by using a video parody of the Gotye hit “Somebody I used to know”.

Bill has combined two very basic elements that we all relate to and enjoy, being  humour and music , to alert people to an impending herbicide  resistant weed issue that is on the doorstep of every farmer who has wild radish on their property.

Follow the link below …..

http://bit.ly/1h4LmPx

We would love to have your feedback on the parody! Please post your comments on the blog or email me jeanette@agconsulting.com.au.

Please share the parody with your networks. The video has been produced for the Ag Excellence Alliance Social Media project funded by the Commonwealth Government’s Landcare program.

This will be my last blog for 2013, thank you for your interest and feedback during the year. I will start posting again in late January.

All the best for a wonderful Christmas and start to 2014.

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Job descriptions – important for farms?

2013-07-06 16.41.28Yes!  Job descriptions are important on farms – as they are in any business.

In agriculture we often see businesses operating with limited structures around people management. This is not only for employees but also for sons or daughters working in the business.

I’m a great believer in having simple and formal processes in place to ensure everyone is clear on their roles and responsibilities. It helps with accountability, manages expectations and reduces those assumptions which often end in tears or resignations.

Having job descriptions and performance reviews in place for sons and daughters in the business enables open discussion and provides an avenue for gradual transfer of decision making as skills and confidence grow.

Even if there are only two of you in the business clarity around roles and expectations assist with the separation between work and family life.

A couple of websites with great resources to help make it easier include

  1. The people in Dairy website http://www.thepeopleindairy.org.au/live-library.htm This website is a result of Dairy Australia recognising the importance of people to the industry. It includes masses of downloadable templates which can easily be adapted for any agricultural industry.
  2. For an overseas perspective – Labour Management in Agriculture comes from the University of California, Prof Gregorio Billilkopf. This site also has free downloadable books on labour management and conflict resolution. http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/ucce50/ag-labor/7labor/001.htm

Partners in Grain (www.partnersingrain.org.au) has been funded by GRDC to develop a workshop on managing farm staff. Contact your state coordinator to find out more information.

It would be great to hear of other useful resources any readers may have found! I look forward to some comments.

A career in agriculture?

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Young people choosing agriculture as a career is a continuing problem. At many of the sessions I facilitate in rural Australia it’s a burning topic – participants focus heavily on the students…

“How can we encourage high school students to consider ag?”

I have been giving the topic a lot of thought as my own children enter the university age – with two parents in the industry both are pursuing different career paths. During our sons primary school years we were in drought and by the age of 15 he said “who would want to be a farmer  – look how stressed you two are.”

Hmmmm…. what is the impact of environment and are we targeted the wrong timing? Let’s take a bigger view of the issue. Who and what are the key influencers of children’s choice of career? A couple of ideas are front of mind for me.

1.Age – targeting high school students is too late. Values and beliefs are laid down by the time they are in high school, I believe the key time to influence thinking is earlier than this…. Start the process in primary school during formative years.

2. Teachers have a large impact on our children’s thinking – many teachers do not have an interest in, or understand agriculture. A friend recently told me about his daughter who had decided to study ag and how she was actively discouraged by not only the teachers but also the career councillor.

3. Parents… I am going to focus here on mothers (my mother had a big influence on my choices). I have worked with 100’s of women on farms over my career and sadly many of them are not very happy. They fall in love with a man, marry him, the farm, the family and the business. Some families embrace the daughter in law, however many do not. Many women live in someone else’s home which they can’t make their own, live on a shoe string budget and work very hard. Poor succession planning often alienates them further. These young mothers are a key influencer of their children during their formative years – what are the subconscious messages that are being passed on?

At a workshop recently one of the women told me she was not encouraging her children to farm.

Yes agriculture is not limited to farming – there are thousands of careers in the industry – is this message really getting out there and to the key influencers?

Lots of issues here … what we need is a new perspective –  look at the impact of key influencers, timing, subconscious messages and some of the social fabric of how the industry operates.

What are your thoughts?

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