‘Improve the farm by one thing a day’

Fiona Best

BCG CEO Report

‘Improve the farm by one thing a day’ was a mantra devised by my father for the success of our family farm.

A thing a day could equally be chipping out a weed, filling in a pot hole or removing any large stumps or sticks that had surfaced on the irrigation bays after laser levelling. Nothing huge. Dad would just mouth it with a smile as he was completing whatever it was.

The one thing could also be the purchase of some horribly expensive piece of equipment, but I’ll leave that to another day.

I think of that phrase often, at BCG, and apply it to the research or the events and activities that we are pulling together for our farmers. Does our work help them improve their farms by one thing a day?

Recently at BCG’s Farm Expansion Day I scribbled down some notes based on either the presentations I watched or conversations in which I participated throughout the day.

There seemed to be no end to the improvements that could be made and no end to their variety and complexity. Refining the staff induction process; installing large magnetic signs on silos; sign-posting paddock names on gates; investing in house and garden for owners and employees; setting up a farm advisory board; developing improved communication systems between employees on the farm; creating WhatsApp groups: my list grew bigger and bigger.

Such lists can be a little daunting.

Even so, despite its length, I was energised by the notion that each item on it represented not a burden but an opportunity to make our farms, relationships and work environments even better than they already are.

Even further, I thought, it’s a bit about personalities as well. Some people revel in making such lists, in performing the inevitable and sometimes a bit wearisome tasks involved and getting each item crossed off. They consider the options, make a plan, and set about it.

Others of the later-rather-than-sooner, too-hard-basket mindset hope it will all just go away.

I suspect every one of us has a little of both sorts in us, depending on the nature of the task.

Here at BCG, we will continue to offer our encouragement to get on with it by providing ideas and strategies, communicating new research and making new connections in order to help improving the farm ‘by one thing a day’ easier for growers.

Come to think of it, my dad’s adage could well be applied universally: if everyone did just one thing to make the world a better place every day, imagine the difference it would make.

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