Why you shouldn’t write a blog

It’s a lot of fun writing the Milk Maid Marian dairy blog and I’d love to see more Australian dairy farmers blogging too.

When I get a few minutes to talk to other dairy people at the Australian Dairy Conference in a few weeks, I’m hoping one or two will be inspired to begin the conversation online. But why should they? The 365-day commitment of dairying makes them very busy people by definition. And why should we constantly have to justify ourselves to everyone else as one reader of The Land asked?

“The Aussie Farmer has to wonder if he has any hope when people supposedly representing us – such as Matt Linegar in his role with the NFF perpetuate the idea that we need a “social licence to operate”. Wake up! Australian food is some of the best food in the world – grown at world quality standards. If you run off the Australian farmer through whatever measure – you are still going to need to eat. Where is the food going to come from then? Will they give two hoots about “social licences”? Truly hungry people care about not starving. Another cost we will be expected to bear.”
Posted by Frustrated Farmer, 9/01/2012 10:54:23 AM

The Frustrated Farmer makes quite a few points in this single paragraph. First, Australian food production is world-class and should be appreciated; second, we need to produce food; and then there’s the hint that maybe our leaders ought to be handling the advocacy on our behalf. All good points.

I write the blog because I am disappointed that there’s so little available online for consumers who don’t swallow the misinformation of extremist groups without asking questions. I’m really grateful that there are Aussies out there who care enough about the things that matter to me (animals, country living, the land and great food) to want to know more about what farmers do and why we do it.

I also admire the men and women who give up lots of their time to selflessly represent agriculture at endless meetings or, as @payntacow does, by inviting them into their farms (aka homes) to experience farming first-hand. Then, there are the thousands of other dairy farmers who donate their time to the CFA, the SES or the kindergarten fundraising committee. This is something I cannot do, so I write the blog.

The generosity of people from all walks of life is a constant source of inspiration. If you’re a dairy farmer thinking of blogging, do it if you want to but, for goodness’ sake, not if it’s just another impost.

6 thoughts on “Why you shouldn’t write a blog

  1. Hi Marian you are a true MODERN farming champion
    This is an issue I feel very strongly about. Whether farmers like it or not they have to move with the times if they want to stay in business. Farmers often feel like the victims – which they may or may not be – but we can’t just say “we produce food like the way we do it or starve”
    Consumers today expectations the food that they buy will be produced on farms with high standards of animal well being and environmental stewardship and so they should
    Farmers are business people selling a product and successful businesses recognise marketing is the strategic part of doing business.
    Farmers like all modern businesses must be customer focused. This means you have to understand your customer and their values and your business has to BE the image you want your customer to see
    After all marketing is about producing what you can sell, rather than just selling what you can produce.
    Businesses are built on relationships. This means we (farmers) have to get out there in our communities and start having two way conversations with our customers.
    It’s not easy when you don’t have a direct relationship with your customer but we cant expect others to it for us after all who better to engage and educate consumers about food production than the hands that grow it.

    You are reaching some many thousands of “customers” with your blog. Importantly you are telling your story of dairying in a way that does the industry and all dairy farmers proud. We salute you

    • Wow – thanks Lynne. Dairy farmers here in Victoria might respond by pointing out that only 9% of our milk ends up in the supermarket fridge and that it is the role of the processor/marketer to deal with the public.

      On the other hand, we do need to recognise that the community sets the parameters in which we operate – whether that’s something as simple as paperwork or as serious as exceptional circumstances assistance.

      • Oh Marian you have shocked me. I do hope you are wrong with respect to your comment about Victorian dairy farmers and that no Australian dairy farmer who produces export bound product is naive enough to think they are exempt from their social responsibility to the broader Australian dairy industry. After all its Australian consumers who determine our social license to operate and they flexed that muscle well and truly in 2011 with live export and only a fool would not learn from that experience
        .

  2. Group blogs are a popular way for people to contribute without having to commit to the constant upkeep of their own blog. With four or five writers, if you each write one or two blogs a month, that’s a pretty solid blog presence without a major impost. For some people it might also be more effective to join the discussion on an existing blog, and regularly share it via email or twitter with their social group.

    Sometimes blogs can be very much standing on a street corner and hoping someone will listen, so it could well be that other avenues of advocacy might be a better investment of time, especially for people who have a strong ‘real world ‘network that they can leverage.

    • Those are great ideas, thank you Helen.

      There are quite a few people I “know” in the Twitterverse who regularly make much treasured comments here without writing their own blog. There are so many different, highly effective ways people contribute to the dairy community – social media is just one of them. Yes, dairy people do need to engage with other members of the community, wherever they are and in whatever format works best.

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