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The Ag Professional is the journal of Ag Institute Australia (AIA). A few years ago, we helped the Institute move from a very expensive hard-copy model to a sleek digital format that will keep it viable – which is important, because it’s the only journal of its kind, and because ag science, which it promotes, is simply critical to all of us.

This year, we also helped shape a new approach to launching the journal. Instead of a hit-and-miss event that might or might not have got the numbers we hoped for, we sent a personal letter to every member, contributor and stakeholder – and we made sure the letter worked hard, not just announcing that the journal was out, but using the opportunity to talk about something important in the sector.

Starting the conversation

AIA Chair Sarah Hunter is passionate about a lot of things, and one of them is recognising and addressing the barriers that make it harder for people to find their place in the ag sector.

As she rightly notes, if you say you want to be a nurse, no one questions it – but if you say you want to work in ag, people will always ask whether you have a background in farming. It’s a strange barrier to entry to an industry that always needs more skills, more people, more ideas.

This year Sarah used her introduction in the journal to start the conversation about why this happens. She built on the topic in her letters to subscribers and stakeholders. Then we worked with her to create some media opportunities to get more momentum. She has since had print, radio and online coverage and some very encouraging feedback to her updates on LinkedIn. Importantly, there is a commitment to keep chipping away at this challenge.

We’re proud to be playing our small part in this conversation. If you want to read more about why we need to rethink the way we look at ag jobs, this article might interest you.

If you want to look at the only ag science journal in Australia, visit www.aginstitute.com.au (you’ll need to be a member).

Give us a call if you are doing your own work on solving industry challenges and would like some help raising awareness.

Kendi Burness-Cowan