Goondiwindi, Queensland (Bigambul Country)
Farmers have a lot on their plate. They battle the challenges of weather – too much rain, dry seasons, poor crops, fires and floods – and somehow they have to juggle immediate outcomes with long-term sustainability. A recent summit in the Goondiwindi area has given 200 farmers and business people a boost, arming them with strategies for planning and management and helpful resources. Importantly, they were also supported to examine their well-being during challenging times in their business.
The Agribusiness Summit, run by Macintyre Ag Alliance with support from Highways and Byways, covered topics including agri-finance, soil microbiology, companion and intercropping, regenerative grazing, risk taking in the cattle market, farm planning and personal development.
Liz Otto from Cornerstone Sustainability asked participants to develop personal farm plans, set sustainability goals, and to identify specific actions and performance measures in a more holistic way.
“Liz encouraged participants to reflect on their strengths, identify weaknesses, get excited about potential opportunities, and be aware of any threats,” said Louise Carroll from Macintyre Ag Alliance. “They were also encouraged to look beyond the bottom line as the only measure of success and ensure sustainability was in their business plan.”
Allan Parker, an internationally renowned negotiator and behavioural scientist, talked about building better communication strategies that promote resilience. He shared new ideas and strategies on how the participants could manage their mindset and emotions to remain level-headed during life’s inevitable challenges, improve family relationships and strengthen their resilience.
“Allan stressed the importance of listening in negotiation. The best thing to do when someone comes to you with a problem is to listen, acknowledge, repeat the problem back to them and ask what they need to happen instead. He also demonstrated the importance of body language in diffusing hostile situations,” Louise said.
“The summit also created opportunities for networking outside of the landholder or business owners usual networking group.”
“As Australian farmers face ever-increasing challenges, Macintyre Ag Alliance is providing the foundations to evolve farming systems and challenge the status quo, and giving producers the skills and mindset to remain productive while enhancing the environment in which they work.”
Image: Allan Parker leads a workshop on communication, resilience and emotional management at an agri-business summit convened by Macintyre Ag Alliance in Goondiwindi, Queensland.