Mates give farmers voice on social media in industry first
TWO best mates at the forefront of agriculture are on a mission to change how Australian farming is viewed around the globe with signs of success in America, Mexico and New Zealand - just two months into a ground-breaking project.
Pat Bourke and Lachlan Stace from Warwick forged a friendship over cricket and cattle but becoming business partners was a "dream come true" for the young men who want to help Aussie farmers get their message to the world through social media.
Their new business, AgLeap, is centred on videos that put people outside the agricultural community in farmers' shoes and shed light on an "invisible" industry.
For 20-year-old Mr Bourke, the business idea was inspired by his childhood spent milking cows rain, hail or shine on a family dairy farm at Gladfield.
"I think people need to know what goes into producing what they are buying in the shops and get the appreciation of what farmers are actually doing out there," he said.
"I think it is really important for farmers to get the recognition they deserve."
The idea gained more heat when his older brother Kieran made a video about their dairy that went viral and got more than 100,000 views on Facebook.
Mr Bourke said it was proof that consumers wanted to connect with the families who make and produce their food.
AgLeap videos also raise brand awareness for an industry that has generally been slow to harness the tools of social media technology.
"This is really uncharted territory, especially in the agricultural sector," Mr Bourke said.
"At the moment AgLeap is one of the first agricultural promotional video companies so we are really trying to set the standard of what we can offer.
"It's all about working really close with the companies."
In the wake of animal rights protests that saw vegan activists use Facebook and YouTube to criticise Southern Downs farmers Mr Bourke said it was time for people in the livestock industry to find a voice on the internet.
"I think it is important for them to stand up and tell the general public that business operations are not exactly what activists say they are," he said.
One glimpse at an AgLeap video and it is clear the business duo has grown up on the land.
Equipped with drones and professional-grade cameras, the pair capture the stunning beauty in farming.
In the first two months of business, their video of a Kalbar pineapple farm has been seen by people in the US, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand.
Mr Stace, who grew up on a farm near Clifton, said the business partnership was like a dream come true.
"We just worked well and rebounded off each other," he said.