As a farmer who has been involved in agri-politics for more than two decades, I can tell you that farmers working together is the most powerful way to achieve change.
Farmers are on the front line of many issues, and we can tell an authentic story because we live it every day. But when farmers don't proactively engage an issue, activists and the media can fill the vacuum with their version of the story.
When it comes to animal welfare, much of what the average consumer believes is what they've been told by activists with an agenda.
So we need to start talking to the public more about what we do for our animals and why we do it. Only we know how hard we work every day to care for our animals.
We also have an opportunity to defend our farms from illegal trespassers through the Inquiry into the Impact of Animal Rights Activism on Victorian Agriculture.
The VFF will be making a submission to the Inquiry on behalf of our members. But to amplify the voice of farmers, we need as many farmers as possible to write their own submission as well, no matter how long or short it is.
Farmland rates is another issue that comes around every year, and finally, we have a review into Victoria's rating system. But to ensure this review creates real change for farmers, we need everyone to engage with their local council and tell their unique story.
When you're telling your story, focus on all of the innovative, positive, future-driven change happening in your industry. Too often, debate descends into personal attacks and infighting. We need to rise above this and focus on agriculture's positive message.
Farmers are the greatest advocates for agriculture. I encourage you tell the story of your farm and join with other farmers to tell the story of agriculture.
- David Jochinke, VFF president