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I am 7th Generation in the Australian Cattle Industry. I grew up on a cattle station in North Queensland. My husband and I run a Livestock Agency (hence the reference to mobile phones)as well as a small hobby farm with our two young children.

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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Who Gives a Flying Fandango?

I know, I know, I have been absent from my blogging for YONKS!  But my mate Sherrill inspired me with the blog she wrote  yesterday so I thought it was time I had a go again!

So, here goes:

We've all got at least one (well those of us on Facebook but there’s plenty in real life too).  You know those people who thrive on drama and love being the victim.  Everyone is out to get them, to judge them, to gossip about them.  And you read it (or listen) and roll your eyes and say to yourself “who gives a flying fandango?”  Well my language is usually a little more colourful (sorry Dad).  But you all know what I’m talking about don’t you?

The concerning thing is however, is that sometimes I think that the Australian farming community is turning into one of those people.  Now for all of you puffing up your chests in indignation “calm your farm” and hear me out.

I think it’s great that there are so many farmers out there in the general public working to get their message out there.  But maybe we need to stop and think about what message that is.
Only a very small amount of the general public is against us.  It might seem like a majority, they will tell you it’s a majority but I’ll let you in on a little secret.  Not too many give a flying fandango.

Australians hate whingers.  They hate people playing the victim; they turn away from people with a bad attitude.  They switch off to those who think the world owes them a living and that they have it tougher than anyone else.

The Australian general public (who by the way should be our target audience and not the very small minority of people who have their minds and hearts shut off to us) do however love people who can take the mickey out of themselves.  Those of us who are going through tough times but can still grin and have a laugh at our own expense.  And they love the underdog.  Those of us who will pull ourselves up by the bootlaces and have a go.  Those of us that despite all odds we still do our best.

Think about how YOU want the Aussie general public to think about you?  Do you want them to pour vitriol and scorn on the farming community?  If so, keep up the swagger about how without farmers the world will end (without a lot of professions the world would be a struggle for us first world people, even farmers).  Keep on telling people to shut up, they have no right to say what happens in how their food/fibre is produced.  Imagine if we approached our child’s teacher about a concern and they told us to shut up, they've been teaching for so x amount of years and we have no say.  We’d flip them the bird if not physically at least mentally.  Just because they've had x amount of years experience doesn't mean they shouldn't take feedback on board.  A good teacher would listen to your concerns and then explain WHY they do things.  Farmers should be the same.

Do you want people to pity you for the rest of your life?  Keep on saying poor me, poor us, nobody loves me.  That turns into scorn pretty quick.
Or do you want the general public to understand and support you?  So that if they do have a concern they can approach you knowing that you won’t laugh or ridicule them?  So that if someone says something crap about you, the general public has faith in you?  I know farming is not all giggles and rainbows, some pretty crap stuff happens.  It does to everyone.  So that’s okay to show people the bad side, but let people know that you’re tough and will carry on the best you can with a smile.  But don’t always make it about the bad side.  Because we want the Aussie General Public to see our Facebook pages, blogs and videos and go “WOW, I didn't know that about our farmers, how awesome is that!?”  and not an eyeroll with “who gives a flying fandango?”

To find out more about getting YOUR positive story out there, check out Ask An Aussie Farmer's new initiative Cultivating Connections.