Australian Year of the Farmer
Project: Growing Careers in Agriculture
The Australian Year of the Farmer was created to enhance the ties between rural and urban communities, to foster greater understanding and respect in order to celebrate the impact of farming on the economy, change attitudes and encourage more people to consider a career in agriculture. The program also needed to secure sponsorship and grants to fund its ambitious industry community and schools outreach plans which included year-long roadshows and events in every state and territory.
As National Director, Diana Forrester was responsible for program strategy and implementation. Other members of the OPF Consulting (OPF) team today worked on this project with her.
The 15 month long program Diana managed:
- Undertook market research to understand and benchmark Australia’s perceptions to agriculture.
- Created special feature publications within the Rural Press Network, established a popular website, launched and managed a highly successful social media presence.
- Launched a ‘Proud Supporter’ program, which established strong relationships with 438 industry and education organisations, representing a network of hundreds of thousands of advocates. These relationships led to coverage in hundreds of membership newsletters, industry magazines, on multiple websites and in over 360 events, which adopted a Year of the Famer theme. Proud Supporters included Rotary Clubs of Australia, Australian Rural Women’s Coalition (250,000 women nationally), Landcare, industry associations, Chambers of Commerce, schools and colleges.
- Established key relationships with Patron Governor-General Quentin Bryce and appropriate celebrity and industry Ambassadors including Glenn mcgrath.
- Secured commercial sponsorship of $5m with Elders, Woolworths, Suncorp Bank, Toyota, Fairfax, ABC, ooh Media, Building Brand Australia, Australian Wool Innovation, with value in kind support of well in excess of this figure.
- Built and managed nine individual travelling roadshow exhibits, which travelled the country and interacted with the community at hundreds of events.
- Ran public competitions throughout the year attracted over 7000 entries and created invaluable story and photography libraries of success stories and agricultural imagery.
- Developed, implemented and embedded a national education program for schools with classroom materials for age groups K-10.
- Supported a Cows for Careers art initiative engaged 1200 schools in a competition to learn about and reflect on agriculture through painting and decorating the cows.
- Produced an educational video which achieved over 15,000 views.
- Produced and distributed a community service announcement for TV and radio.
- Encouraged the Governor-General’s Australia Day address to be focused on agriculture.
- Secured partnerships with Botanic Gardens around Australia who themed displays and hosted events.
- Negotiated to have the National Jobs Guide 2012 was themed to agricultural careers and distributed to every Year 10 student in Australia.
- Persuaded National Skills Week 2012 to focus on agriculture.
- Persuaded The Mint to issue a celebratory Year of the Farmer collector coins and sold 14,000 coins.
- Persuaded Australia Post to issue two series of Year of the Farmer stamps.
- Established a database of 35,000 individuals and organisations committed to agriculture.
- Was featured at the Australian Embassy in Washington on Australia Day.
- Produced and published a magazine to celebrate and reflect on the Year.
- Was instrumental in initiating the National Agribusiness Education, Skills and Labour Taskforce.
- Secured over 5,500 pieces of news coverage in top tier media and all levels of print and electronic media including embedding Year of the Farmer messaging into popular programs such as Great Outdoors and Farmer Wants a Wife.
The Year of the Farmer 2012 successfully changed the conversation about agribusiness in Australia – raising significant awareness of Australia’s innovative capability and the critical importance of agriculture to our nation’s economic and social fabric.