As an emerging influencer in the grain industry, developing leadership and advocacy skills is a must, which is why Western Australian farmer Lisa Jeitz applied for the exclusive Grains Social Leadership Program at GrainGrowers.
Now in its third year, GSLP is designed for producers to collaboratively develop social leadership skills, including confidently engaging in critical discussions about food production in the media, with their peers, and in the community at home. wider.
For her part, Ms. Jeitz grew up on a mixed farm in Borden before studying agricultural science at the University of Western Australia, working as a research agronomist at Esperance, and as an agricultural consultant with RSM Bird Cameron and Reed Richardson.
Sixteen years ago, she returned to a farm, this time a 6,500 hectare farm in Cascade, with her husband Kirk, where as CFO, she manages all financial and administrative matters, including the risk management, grain pricing and human resources.
Having been in farming her entire life, Ms. Jeitz said she liked the sense of belonging she got from being part of a rural community.
“I like being in primary production, being at the start of the food chain and producing something that is really tangible,” Ms. Jeitz said.
“I was looking to do personal development – I’m really interested in social license and wondering how I can and if I should contribute to this space.
“I saw this course opportunity and know GrainGrowers has a reputation for providing high quality training, so I applied for that reason.”
As part of the GSLP, participants work with a small bespoke group of individuals passionate about the industry who believe they can create real change and foster understanding between different communities.
Only 10 grain farmers are selected to participate in the program each year, with a focus on developing high-level leadership skills and honing advocacy skills with the confidence to engage at all levels on the issue. modern grain production.
The GSLP aims to build confidence in communicating industry issues and sharing industry success stories, as well as further developing stakeholder engagement skills and techniques.
For Ms. Jeitz, her motivation to apply for the program boiled down to a desire to better understand social license, including how to reach people and what kind of storytelling techniques are most effective.
“If we are to continue to have the capacity and the social license to continue farming without heavily enforced government controls, then we need to engage the urban community in what we are doing,” she said.
“There is a big gap in this understanding – it is not the supermarket that provides food to people, it is the whole agricultural sector starting with the farmers and I would like to improve communication and understanding. in both ways.
“We need consumers to understand that we are the first step in the food production process and that every Australian uses our products at least three times a day.”
As part of the program, participants focus on social media and marketing, an area Ms. Jeitz would like to hone in on, as well as their own authentic history within the agricultural sector that can be used as a means of communication with the urban community. . .
“It was really exciting to be selected for the program because it’s such a great opportunity,” said Ms. Jeitz.
“I have the opportunity to hear and learn from growers across Australia and expand my network with like-minded growers. During the first week, I had already formed new relationships.
“The quality of the information and the method of delivery are just exceptional – they challenge us while being really encouraging and this is one of the best courses I have taken in many years.”
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