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The importance of sharing our stories

The importance of sharing our stories

Prue Addlem is a fifth generation farmer, whose office is the wide open spaces of the family broadacre cropping and sheep enterprise at Serpentine in Victoria. She is also a Fellow of Course 19 of the ARLP, and a passionate 'agvocate'. Here we share a recent entry from her own Blog, Farming the Ladies' Way.

Over the past few months as word of my blog has grown through friends and family, and others online… many have asked me the simple question of why? Why am I writing online for all the world to see what I do? Why do I tell people about the daily work I undertake? Why do I share heartbreaking events that happen on farm and how they affect me? Why do I gloat about the good times on the farm?

Why you all ask?

The answer is simple. I want the general population to understand why farmers do what they do. I am sick and tired of the media being responsible for the thoughts and beliefs that most of the general population have about agriculture.

I am sick of hearing criticism for general tasks undertaken on many farms for the betterment of livestock from those who - due to having never spoken to a farmer - assume are detrimental.

It frustrates and upsets me when I get told I am cruel to my sheep because I mules my lambs to reduce the prevalence of flystrike. They don’t see the bodies of flystruck sheep that we farmers have to deal with, crawling with maggots, or smell a stench that gets up your nose and takes days to get out, purely because we as farmers do not believe these images need to be seen as they are not nice.

Therefore, late last year I said enough. Enough of the public not knowing. Enough of receiving criticism for the lies people believe because we as an industry don’t often like to stand up, be proud, and talk about why we do what we do because we love our industry, and our livelihoods.

So I started a blog.

I may not often get a chance to write daily about what I do, but I do try to share the basics on my farm that I feel there are often many misconceptions about.

I feel that the Primary Industries, and farming specifically need to learn how to use their voice to tell their tales. Get the messages we want, the truth, out there into the general knowledge of Australians and people right across the globe. I put it out there to all farmers, all children who grew up on farms and have an understanding of why farmers do what they do, to tell our stories. Be proud of why we undertake the tasks we do.

Do not let our generation, the generation who now have majority of the population having no connection to farmers (no relative or friend on a farm, or do not farm themselves), be the generation to let the myth spinners win.

Lets be proud of what we do, let us as agriculturalists (farmers, agents, chemical reselllers etc) share the amazing journeys we undertake. No they may not always be nice tales, they may include images of drought like that which has been going on in QLD, images of floods like in Europe, images of dead livestock from the recent fires, but at least they will be the truth. Isn’t the truth better than assumptions?

I think so. Therefore I will continue to tell my tales, use my voice to share my adventure as a farmer, the highs of lambing & record crops, and the lows of natural disasters. I encourage others to take up the challenge, and whether its in the form of a blog, pictures on facebook, twitter or instagram, or just the easy task of telling people you know and come across why you do what you do and more importantly how.

I hope you enjoy my future blogs, and now you know why I am sharing my adventures…

Farming the Ladies’ Way,

Prue Addlem

The Foundation aims to share blogging and writing from Fellows and other leaders in their fields, for the interest of our Network and supporters. Views and information presented in these works belong to the author, not the Foundation.

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