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There's an Elephant in my Paddock!

There's an Elephant in my Paddock!

By Jayne Cuddihy and Nicole Bond
An agricultural podcast that brings together farmers, scientists, consumers, industry and thought leaders to try and answer those tricky but crucial questions everyone else is avoiding.
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Currently playing episode

Bigger, faster, stronger, hotter, more frequent- resilient farming in the face of extreme weather- Part 2

There's an Elephant in my Paddock!

Should home tutors be paid to teach their children?
For generations, rural Australians have grappled home schooling their children between running businesses, households and being parents. Where there's an increasing emphasis on the quality of education, should these home tutors be paid for teaching their children? In this episode we hear from long term rural and remote education lobbyists, the Isolated Children's Parents Association, the parents themselves and a Queensland Distance Education Principal. 
June 14, 2022
How can your beef business be more profitable without having to buy more land?
Buying more land is an impossible choice for many Australian beef businesses. So how can they be more profitable with what land they have?  With rising costs of living, land, seed, livestock, fuel and power, the agricultural sector is becoming increasingly savvy at finding solutions that mean that businesses can expand and increase profits without having to buy more land. Join host Jayne Cuddihy with a cohort from the Queensland Government's Advancing Beef Leaders program for a lively discussion on how beef businesses can do more with less. The group includes James Kent, Stuart Buck, Zoe Rickertt, Matt Quinn and Sarah Donovan.  Advancing Beef Leaders is a professional development program produced by The Queensland Department of Agriculture and delivery partners. Not only do participants have a broad range of experience and expertise in the beef industry, but are determined to influence their sector in positive and constructive change.  This episode is sponsored by The Rural Financial Counselling Service Network. Find them here
April 08, 2022
Bigger, faster, stronger, hotter, more frequent- resilient farming in the face of extreme weather- Part 2
In Part 2 of our feature on building resilience in the Australian horticulture industry, we hear how improving the mental health of farmers is key to the industry’s longevity. Rural Aid is an organisation dedicated to improving the mental health outcomes of rural Australia. They often have multi-tiered roles in natural disasters… Lauren Stracey is their national manager for mental health and wellbeing. The National Recovery and Resilience Agency was established by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in response to recommendations from the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements. We hear from Shane Stone, the Co-ordinator General of the agency and Bruce Scott- western Queensland cattleman, and one of Shane’s ‘boots on the ground’ with the Agency. They want to change the narrative around how the Federal Government supports rural industries and put more focus on preparation alongside recovery. We also hear from Lena Knudson from Growcom, the peak industry body for horticulture. Though based in Queensland, Growcom delivers national-scale projects and policy initiatives
October 27, 2021
Bigger, faster, stronger, hotter, more frequent- resilient farming in the face of extreme weather- Part 1
In this episode we discuss a question posed by Richard Shannon- how do we ensure that horticulture is more resilient in the face of extreme weather events? To set the scene, what conditions are Australian horticulture growers operating under and how are they ensuring they remain financially viable when dealing with natural disasters? Central Queensland’s Sandi Groves has ensured multiple disaster events and has emerged with a stronger business- listen to how she did it. Ed Cowie is in partnership on a farm with his father and was severely impacted by the same 2019 fires. But in terms of disaster fatigue, Ed has unique insights, stemming from his roles in emergency services as a police officer, fire officer and SES controller, with an in-depth knowledge of farming systems. So how bad can it get… and what can growers do to be resilient to natural disasters? Richard Eckard is Professor of Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Melbourne and Director of the Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre (, a research centre addressing the impacts of climate change on agriculture. He says proactive farmers are already counteracting the effects of climate change. This episode is brought to you by Growcom and the Rural Financial Counselling Service NQ and the Rural Financial Counselling Service Network.
October 27, 2021
Farming without risk. The new insurance possibilities.
Imagine getting an insurance payout if you didn’t get your annual expected rainfall? It seems an idyllic, yet perhaps expensive solution to modern farming. Researchers at the University of Southern Queensland’s Centre for Applied Climate Sciences are revolutionising the way farmers engage with the insurance industry. Leading the charge is Prof Shahbaz Mushtaq who is applying his expertise in agricultural economics to assist primary producers when they can’t adapt to or manage the climate.
July 26, 2021
From the stock yard to fashion icon
The humble workboot; it’s a staple of every Australian bush setting. They can be leather boots, or old sneakers, some people prefer none and sacrifice their feet to the harsh environs of the cattle yard. But one brand synonymous with rural Australia is RM Williams. In this episode we’re going to take a look at what made the humble leather workboot world famous and what it means when something that’s considered ‘from the bush’ crosses over to boutique luxury branding of high end fashion markets. #rmwilliams #theresanelephantinmypaddock #agriculture #fashionicon #pattyhuntington #wtitleyandco
June 13, 2021
The rural economic solution that politics has turned it's back on
David from Barcaldine has a question- "Why isn't Australian government investing heavily through various CRCs to discover how we can make the most of all the renewable free energy that we've got here in Australia?" Join host Nicole Bond as she questions some of the greatest minds in Australian renewable energy research and investment and discovers why politics has turned it's back on one of the most promising economic windfalls to rural and regional Australia.  Guests include Ross Garnout, esteemed Australian economist and researcher (among many, many other things), Dr Mark Diesendorf- a member of the environment and governance group at UNSW who has done extensive work in renewable CRCs and Karin Stark, a member of Farmers for Climate Action and founder of National Renewables in Agriculture conference. 
April 06, 2021
How do we get skilled workers into regional Australia?
Rural and regional Australia has record level of job vacancies. In a year where job security in cities is far from stable, it's still a hard sell to get prospective workers to the regions. In this episode we hear from John Langbridge- Manager, Corporate and Industry Affairs for Teys Australia with a tricky question, and some wonderful discussion with Campbell McPhee from Western Meat Exports, Rohan May, chair of the Dalby Chamber of Commerce and CEO of Dingo Australia and Professor Karen Becker, human resource management expert, specialising in rural and regional areas.
December 10, 2020
Trading with China: warts and all
The Australian and Chinese diplomatic relationship is currently strained. What does that mean for our producers? China is one of our biggest trading partners, but also one of the most temperatmental- or is that just what the media wants us to think? Our political expert says our govenment could do more. Join Nicole Bond as she talks to Patrick Hutchinson from the Meat Industry Council, Tony Russell from the Grains Industry Market Access Forum and Dr Matt Killingsworth, head of international politics at the University of Tasmania.
August 13, 2020
Opportunities for Australian agriculture from the COVID 19 outbreak
Progressive grazier and entrepreneur James Walker from Longreach in Queensland asks a terrific question- what are the opportunities for Australian agriculture to come from the COVID 19 outbreak? And to talk about the tricky stuff, host Nicole Bond is joined by Fiona Simson from the National Farmers Federation, Tasmanian farmer and television personality Matthew Evans and economist Phin Ziebell from the National Australia Bank.
May 28, 2020
Sexual Harassment in rural Australia
Rural photographer Edwina Robertson asks when Australia will have it's reckoning in regards to sexual harassment in rural Australia. According to some commentators, we're too late- but all agree we are at crisis point and attitudes and employment systems need to change. Join host Nicole Bond and producer Jayne Cuddihy as they discover another Elephant in the Paddock with guests Dr Skye Saunders- Australia's leading expert on rural sexual harassment, Jackie Jarvis- past president of the Rural, Regional, Remote Women's Network of Western Australia and Dr Lucie Newsome- a lecturer in business at the University of New England in Armidale.
March 18, 2020
Why aren't producers engaged with industry representation?
Why don't we see greater numbers of cattle producers actively engaging in industry affairs these days? A question put forward by James Nason, publisher of Beef Central ( There's an Elephant in My Paddock host Nicole Bond and producer Jayne Cuddihy hit the phones and gauge interest from a grass roots level, talking to several producers about their engagement with industry bodies. They also get some answers from industry 'agvocate' and beef producer Josie Angus- Daniel Meade from Victoria completed a Nuffield Scholarship on why producers aren't as engaged with industry issues and offers some practical solutions as to how to better engage them. Download his report here.
January 12, 2020
Should we maintain a national core breeding herd and flock?
Mike Stephens from Meridian Ag has asked a particularly sticky question in this episode. It turns out everyone is thinking about it, but no one has the answer... or do they? Join host Nicole Bond as she chats to Chris Mirams, the executive chair of the Sheep Producers Association of Australia, Stephen Moore, General Manager - Corporate and Commercial for the Northern Australia Pastoral Company and the Cattle Council's Olivia Lawson.
November 29, 2019
There's an Elephant in my Paddock- Australia's rural vet crisis
Australian animal vets graduate knowing that several of their alumni will suicide during the course of their careers. Does that shock you? It shocked our host Nicole Bond when journalist Sally Cripps brought up the subject. In this episode we delve deep into the crisis facing our rural vets- a shocking suicide rate, poor rates of pay, emotional blackmail and a crippling workload. Join us for a candid conversation with Dr Libby Harriman, Dr Glenn Keneally and Ellen Buckle from the Australia Cattle Vets Association as they discuss everything from the changing roles of large animal vets, the bio-security of our nation and how to look after a crucial industry.
September 13, 2019
There's an Elephant in my Paddock- LIVE at the QRRRWN's Ekka High Tea
This episode was recorded LIVE from the Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women's Network's High Tea at Queensland's Ekka. Hosted by Nicole Bond and produced by Jayne Cuddihy the question for the amazing panellists centres around creativity and the marketing and monetising of it. Including photographer Edwina Robertson, Rural Room's Bec Bignall, Charlotte Durack of Agri Creative and author and flower arranger extraordinaire Annabelle Hickson this is a vibrant and inspiring conversation not to be missed.
August 16, 2019
There's an Elephant in my Paddock with Michelle Miller
Michelle Miller has made a name for herself internationally as the Farm Babe... dedicated to busting myths in the agricultural sector and advocating on behalf of industry. She hails from a farm in Iowa, America and recently visited North Queensland to speak about the role advocacy and storytelling play in modern agriculture. Earlier this year we put out a podcast episode with experts discussing what hinders rural Australia from finding their voice (listen here if you missed it) and Michelle also has some thoughts on the subject.
July 16, 2019
There's an Elephant in my Paddock- political disconnect
Renowned Australian rural journalist Peter Lewis asks about a rising level of frustration about existing political representation. What needs to happen to the Australian political landscape to address the big challenges that the bush faces now and that they will face in the short to medium term? It's a big question but our guests tackle it with fierce passion and intelligence. A daughter of a Singaporean migrant, author and journalist Gabrielle Chan grew up in Sydney but followed her heart to a rural area to live. Her latest book Rusted Off delves deep into the issues and disgruntlement with rural voters with their political representation. Vaughn Johnson was the member for Gregory in Western Queensland for 25 years. A staunch National Party member, he sometimes flirted with controversy when towing the party line. He says things will get worse before they get better. He's also a grazier and not only grew up in the bush, but has lived there ever since. Dr Kim Houghton is a co- CEO of the Regional Australia Institute.Having worked on regional economic development in Australia for almost 20 years, he has a passion for advocating for people who live in remote and regional Australia. He says politicians and policy makers need to take more risks if they want to reach out to their rural voters.
May 14, 2019
There's an Elephant in my Paddock- Rural Towns
What measures can be taken to taken to stop people leaving small towns? It's a question that bothers many small communities all over the World, but in this episode of There's an Elephant in my Paddock we shine the spotlight on a small town in Western Queensland has come back from the brink. Matt Bennetto is a grazier and small business owner in Charters Towers and also chairs AgForce North. He joins our host Nicole Bond to ask the tricky questions about the PR problems in rural Australia and what can be done to keep businesses in the bush. They are joined by Jane McNamara- the Mayor of the Flinders Shire in North-Western Queensland. She's taken an innovative approach to diversifying industry in the area and it's paying off dividends. Neil Argent is a Professor of Human Geography at the University of New England. He's done extensive research on understanding the factors and processes that make robust and sustainable rural communities and Ross Maclean is the managing partner of Maclean Partners in North Queensland, who financially advises and services a huge rural and regional client base.
April 10, 2019
There's an Elephant in my Paddock with Julia Telford
Julia Telford is one of the most influential women in Australia in 2018, according to the Australian Financial Review. She's also the founder of Engage & Create Consulting- working with rural and remote businesses, industry groups and community organisations across Australia. Her Elephant in the Paddock is about making difficult decisions... and really honing in on exiting the rural industry gracefully. To talk about- and hopefully answer her question, we've enlisted the expertise of •Alison Larard- an agribusiness and finance specialist. She's on the board of the Rural FinancialCounselling Service and has recently wrapped up a Nuffield Scholarship focussing on better business management and succession planning in north Queensland beef businesses. •Mark McGovern- visiting fellow at the school of economics and finance at the Queensland University of Technology with substantial experience government, trade and rural industries. •Dr Lisa Patterson Kane- a psychologist, specialising in regional and remote issues for over a decade.
February 05, 2019
There's an Elephant in my Paddock with Georgie Somerset
AgForce's new President Georgie Somerset ponders a question that's been irking her for some time. What hinders rural Australia from finding its voice? Join host Nicole Bond as she engages some brilliant minds in conversation to try and get some answers! Georgie Somerset is the President of Agforce in Queensland. She is also a cattle grazier and a fierce advocate for remote and regional businesses, women and development. There's an Elephant in my Paddock host Nicole Bond put Georgie's question to a number of experienced professionals in the hope of finding an answer! Susan Lyons is an independent strategy consultant who has developed marketing and customer strategies for 15 years. She's worked on some of the country's largest brands while a Director at PwC and previously lead advertising strategies for Australia's most successful and effective advertising agencies CHE Proximity and Clemenger Melbourne. Sue Francis is a cattle producer from Dorrigo in New South Wales with a far ranging experience in social media and story telling from the paddock! Chris Earl is a Bendigo-based rural and regional affairs consultant and a former newspaper editor.
December 20, 2018