Offcuts: Four worthy additions to your farming news feed

Photo: Chantel Renae Photography

One of the biggest changes in the world in the past ten years has undoubtedly been the way in which people get their news.

I’m old enough to remember a time (even though it’s not that long ago) when to find out what was going on in the world, you had to pick up a soggy, plastic-wrapped newspaper off the front lawn.

And while for some the morning ritual of reading the paper might still remain, the reality is the digitisation of the media means the contents of it will be old news by the time it hits your doorstep.

At the expense of print media which will soon be redundant, smartphones are the new weapon of choice for news outlets in their quest to reach the masses and break news first.

Stories are reported in real-time and straight to your fingertips, meaning the news cycle is constantly evolving – the end result of which is less and less people paying for the humble newspaper.

Here at the Quality group, we have a multi-faceted approach in terms of the ways in which we get our news out.

We have absolutely embraced the digital age and have an active presence on all major social media platforms, allowing us to engage the industry’s future decision makers and leaders.

However, we still incredibly value those who stay informed of news through the more traditional methods, meaning the regional print media and small country newspapers remain extremely important to us.

So with the increasing push towards digital media and a seemingly-endless glut of news and content flooding your respective feeds, what’s to be made of it from a wool and broader agricultural sense?

How do you separate the ‘wheat from the chaff’ and streamline your Ag news so you get what you want without the filler?

Here’s a few recommendations to best stay informed about farming issues in the digital age.

AWI’s ‘The Yarn’ Podcast’

If you’re not familiar with what a podcast is, it’s basically a pre-recorded radio program that you can download and listen to whenever and wherever you please via a mobile device.

So whether you’re on a tractor, in a shed or on a long commute, podcasts are a great way to keep yourself entertained, mentally occupied and informed.

Best of all – they’re free to download.

With every man and his dog seemingly starting their own podcast now, you can pretty much find one that will cover any area of interest you have – and thankfully for us, this extends to agriculture.

The pick of the bunch at the moment would be Australian Wool Innovation’s fortnightly podcast ‘The Yarn’.

Designed to be listened to on a smartphone for people on the go, ‘The Yarn’ is put together essentially to report to those who AWI principally works for: Australian woolgrowers.

With previous episode topics ranging from the secret to attracting the best shearers to interviews with young woolgrowers returning from tours of Chinese processing mills, there’s something for everyone in the 60-episode back catalogue.

Well worth a listen, which you can do here: https://bit.ly/2f7FRnD

The Land’s ‘Only The Good News’

If you’ve watched the evening news recently, you might have noticed it’s generally all doom, gloom and misery.

I rarely bother anymore, as there’s only so much scaremongering and negativity you can take really isn’t there?

And while in my short time in the wool game I have found the agricultural press to be more positive than their mainstream counterparts overall, times of economic and environmental hardship are very prevalent in the industry and have to be reported on as well.

Thankfully, the good people at The Land have come up with a little gem to counter this.

Every week, they send out an email titled “Only The Good News” which wraps up all the positive Ag news from the latest edition of The Land into one tidy little graphic.

From high wool, sheep and cattle prices through to rainfall and general positive news, this email will put a smile on your dial and make you feel good about the industry you’re in.

Definitely one to check out and make part of your weekly news cycle: https://bit.ly/2Q8Zqz9

The Ag Show

Accessible on your phone or tablet through The Weekly Times website or your television through Sky News, The Ag Show is Australia’s first and only live agribusiness television program.

And rather than mainstream media programs which comment on farming issues from a distance, the show is hosted by The Weekly Times publisher Ed Gannon and reporter Nicola Bell who’ve both well and truly got their finger on the industry’s pulse.

So you’re listening to people who know what they’re not talking about, not some breakfast show host who pretends to be in touch with rural issues, but is really far removed from them (which I’m sure riles a few of you up).

Each episode runs for half an hour and in their own words, covers everything from “beef to blueberries, wool to walnuts” with the hard questions being asked to the industry’s movers and shakers.

You can watch The Ag Show every Thursday night on Sky News Business from 6:30pm, or through The Weekly Times website here: https://bit.ly/2wKc5jf

Chantel Renae Photography (Facebook)

This one is a little on the lighter side rather than hard news but you know what? Sometimes, it’s just really nice to look at a great photo and admire it.

And arguably the best farming photos around at the minute belong to Chantelle Renae, a photographer and former masterclasser who since 2017 has been on her “The Truth About Wool” tour capturing candid images from shearing sheds Australia-wide.

Describing herself as “obsessed with the Australian wool culture”, Chantelle’s mission statement is to (in her own words) “bring to light all of the on-farm wool processes and lay to rest any misconceptions about Australian sheep and wool”.

Her wonderful photos will lighten and brighten your day for sure, and as her tour continues she’s on the lookout for new properties and people to capture so there’s a chance to be featured yourself (hint hint Quality growers).

A worthy edition to your Facebook feed: https://bit.ly/2M1AQ04

Kane McKay

KMcKay@qualitywool.com