Guest speaker Jo Brosnan.
Addressing 120 current and future agricultural leaders at the 20th anniversary dinner of the Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program in Geelong last night, Jo Brosnan from Darwin-based Michels Warren Munday said those in regional and rural Australia had to embrace social media to influence public opinion.
"The use of public opinion had forced the hand of the Federal Government to end the live exports trade," Mrs Brosnan said.
"We heard again and again our industry had lost its social licence to trade."
With rural areas and particularly northern Australia "out of sight and mind", supporters of agriculture had to use the web to write blogs or upload videos of farming life to YouTube, Mrs Brosnan said.
One week short of the 12 month anniversary of the lifting of the live export ban to Indonesia, Mrs Brosnan said those in the NT livestock trade were still feeling the ban's consequences.
"[For those in the industry] it's going to be a tough 12-18 months," she said.
Marcus Oldham's annual leadership program provides training to about 30 participants from around Australia on people management, planning, community leadership, negotiation and media relations.
This year's participants in the five-day program were sponsored by a range of organisations including NAB Agribusiness, Elders, Rural Finance and East Gippsland Landcare.