Why culture matters for dairy industry

Why culture matters for dairy industry

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ADF News
NEW ORDER: OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn called for people to join the Order of the Teaspoon.

NEW ORDER: OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn called for people to join the Order of the Teaspoon.

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Culture was the theme of the Australian Dairy Conference earlier this year - and its messages were ones that resonated with the 500-plus delegates as the dairy industry continues to look at its future direction.

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Culture was the theme of the Australian Dairy Conference earlier this year - and its messages were ones that resonated with the 500-plus delegates as the dairy industry continues to look at its future direction.

Across the two days, the conference firmly confronted the notion that someone else is responsible for fixing your problems.

This was whether people were trying to take on a big national issue - like food waste in Australia - or whether they were tackling issues on their own farms - like trying to get the best from the people working for them.

It also took on some hard-hitting issues, including sexual harassment in agricultural industries.

There were a couple of key things that stuck with me.

One was OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn's call for people to join the Order of the Teaspoon - which she explained thus, quoting Israeli writer Amos Oz, from his book How to Cure a Fanatic, which has inspired the founding of the order in Sweden.

"I believe that if one person is watching a huge calamity, let's say a conflagration, a fire, there are always three options.

1. Run away, as far away and as fast as you can and let those who cannot run burn.

2. Write a very angry letter to the editor of your paper demanding that the responsible people be removed from office with disgrace. Or, for that matter, launch a demonstration.

3. Bring a bucket of water and throw it on the fire, and if you don't have a bucket, bring a glass, and if you don't have a glass, use a teaspoon, everyone has a teaspoon. And yes, I know a teaspoon is little and the fire is huge but there are millions of us and each one of us has a teaspoon. Now I would like to establish the Order of the Teaspoon. People who share my attitude, not the run-away attitude, or the letter attitude, but the teaspoon attitude - I would like them to walk around wearing a little teaspoon on the lapel of their jackets, so that we know that we are in the same movement, in the same brotherhood, in the same order, The Order of the Teaspoon."

The second was from workplace consultant Mandy Johnson who said culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Both hit at the heart of bringing about meaningful change. It is about ensuring that we are doing the right things for the right reasons. It is about being part of the solution, not the problem.

The last afternoon of the conference featured a session with three young farmers who have overcome adversity in their lives - with courage and a positive attitude to make a difference.

I doubt there was a delegate who left the conference not thinking about what they could do differently.

I know I certainly did - and a real sense that even small actions in the right direction can make a difference.

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