Do we need to dress agriculture up in a suit & tie?

evokeAG. 2019 Future Young Leader Callan Daley was “pretty humbled” when his video went viral on the evokeAG. Facebook page last month. The five-minute clip reached 195,000 people, gained more than 1,000 likes, had 1,000 shares and received hundreds of comments. But he wants his message to go even further, insisting that everyone has a part to play in using our language carefully to encourage more young people to break into our agriculture industry.

We need to dress agriculture up in a hypothetical suit and tie and take a long, hard look at how we speak about our industry. This was the message which Callan Daley presented to an international audience at evokeAG. in Melbourne this year. His five-minute presentation was recorded and has since gone viral on the evokeAG. Facebook page with thousands of people sharing the powerful message and offering messages of support. We caught up with Callan so that we could unpack just why his video resonated with so many people.

Why do you think your message struck a chord with so many people?

I think there are two reasons. I talked about the subconscious language we use which tends to dress down agriculture such as “I’m just a farmer” or, “I just studied ag science at uni”. I’m certain that the people who watched my presentation have all said, or heard of similar phrases and it’s this subconscious negative use of language which we need to address.

I think it was also popular because we hear so often how rural and regional Australians need young people to return to agriculture and there is a lot of discussion on how this should be done. I think the use of language could be a small step in addressing this problem. It’s a case of ensuring we think before we act.

What was your reaction when you found out that your video had gone viral?

I was pretty humbled. It was so nice to see all the supportive comments and shares. It was great to see that others acknowledged my views and have had similar experiences as I did.

Who needs to take the lead in encouraging young people to consider careers in agriculture?

It’s easy to say parents or teachers but we actually all have a part to play and it starts with the use of language. With that being said, I do think there needs to be a shift in education but I think we also need to be looking at a tertiary level.

What have you been up to since evokeAG. 2019?

I met Jordy Kitschke, a fellow Future Young Leader at evokeAG. 2019. He is the Chief Executive Officer at MEQ Probe, a startup doing incredible things in the meat analysis space. He offered me a job shortly after evokeAG. I packed my bags and moved to Adelaide to join his team. It’s an incredible company and an inspiring role.

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