Today I have 5 minutes with Australia’s dairy elders

If you were given five minutes to address the Australian Dairy Conference, what would you say?

I have that honour today and was asked to speak about my experiences with social media. It’s not a lot of time, so I’ve opted for the “shock and awe” approach, beginning with a real-life case study showing how ordinary dairy farmers brave enough to wear their hearts on their sleeves won new friends in the face of scandal. I’ll close with a yet to be revealed threat and an offer to attend my social media workshop on Friday so we can deal with it together.

Before I take the podium, Neilson’s Courtney Sullivan will tell the conference that dairy has a great reputation in the wider community. Australian dairy foods are safe, nutritious and pure. That’s a priceless position of trust we should treasure and protect because it took decades to build and could be lost in the blink of an eye. If you’re not convinced, ask a beef farmer.

Farmers typically only appear in the media during drought, fire, flood, plague…or when a horrific case of animal abuse is uncovered. It’s hardly surprising then, that we are considered whingers and, in turn, city folk (including policy makers) have “no idea”. No longer. The rise of a new, grass-roots media (Twitter, blogs and Facebook) means we can tell our own stories. And what has amazed me is just how many ordinary Australians want to hear them.

Now, back to that question for you. If you had five minutes to speak at the ADC, what would you say?