When I sat down to write this post, I kept thinking about a particular quote: “Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything” (George Bernard Shaw).
And, with this in mind, it’s time for me to share with you all that after five exhilarating, exhausting, and rewarding years, I’m stepping back from Farm Table to allow it to evolve and grow without me.
Although I am feeling as if I am closing the door on one of the most important stages of my life, I am feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude for what starting this business has given me and indebted to the new team who will enable the Farm Table to grow and flourish like it deserves to.
As a sole founder, it was a steep, sometimes lonely path to build the Farm Table over the past five years. I am so proud of what has been achieved, the community that has grown around it, and the big impact it is has made proportionate to the size and scale of the business.
Back in 2015, when Farm Table was just a flicker of an idea, I knew I wanted to make a difference in the Australian agricultural industry. I saw first-hand that inadequate organisation and dissemination of agriculture information was dramatically inhibiting the continuous improvement of individual farm businesses.
And I wanted to help.
I imagined a dynamic and educated industry typified by growth mindset, innovation, and resilience, that shared knowledge and resources at rates that left other industries in the dust. I knew that the way news, information and research flows to the farm office or phone in the paddock needed to better be aligned, and that we needed to have a greater understanding of how Australian farmers work and consume information.
After speaking with so many of you, it became clear that farmers needed a tool which provided access to personalised, up-to-date, practical and digestible information that could truly assist them to run their businesses in an environment typified by increasing complexity, cost pressures, regulation and structural change.
Essentially, I wanted to create a tool that would reduce, not increase, the workload. Something that would enable you to work smarter, not harder.
And I am so proud that today, I can look back and say “we’re not all the way there, but we sure as hell have made a difference”.
But I know that in order to take Farm Table to the next level, it requires a leader who is all-in, some who has the unwavering energy, time, and focus. And sadly, that just isn’t me.
My life has changed dramatically since I started Farm Table. From Orange to Deniliquin, a marriage in between, and a new baby as icing on the cake, my world (and my priorities) have been turned on their head.
I’ve come to realize that I might be able to “have it all” – I just can’t have it all at the same time.
Compromises need to be made, but I am at peace with my decision, and am so excited about a future filled with my little family, having time to focus on my board and contract work, and growing our farm business, while raising my son.
I look forward to continue to make a positive impact on the Australian agricultural industry in different ways.
My exit does not signal the end of Farm Table because it needs to live on. It must grow, innovate, and improve because these problems it sought to overcome still exist and impact our industry.
But for Farm Table to play a bigger role in alleviating these problems and reaching its vision it needs new energy and perspective.
With that in mind, let me introduce you to Rob Jennings, Emilie Byrne and their support team – I believe these driven, talented people have the skills and passion to really move this platform into the stratosphere.
Rob has been involved since day one as our technical partner and runs a thriving small business in regional Victoria, and I am so pleased that he is ready to lead Farm Table into its next phase of growth and evolution.
Change shouldn’t be feared, nor should it be viewed as failure. And, as my time with Farm Table comes to an end, I am so proud of what I have been able to build, and so proud of the community that has rallied behind this platform.
I chose the name ‘Farm Table’ as it signified a collaborative and open meeting place for the Australian agricultural industry. The heart and soul of Farm Table will remain, and I am so excited to watch it grow and thrive under Rob and Emmie’s leadership.
So finally, as I bow out, I want to say thank you to all those involved in the Farm Table. To those initial supporters that motivated me to give it a crack, our wonderful Business Members and community, contractors, and friends – thank you. If it weren’t for you, Farm Table would still be an idea in a word document on a laptop, but instead, today Farm Table is one of the largest websites in the agricultural industry, and perhaps the only one that is built solely with producers in mind.