FROM THE EDI­TOR

Australian Farmers & Dealers Journal - - News - An­drew Mole, edi­tor edit.afdj@ryan­medi­apl.com.au

Sea­sons might have been all over the shop in 2014 but that news – good or bad – has all but paled into in­signif­i­cance as every­one, from politi­cians and econ­o­mists to farm­ers and agri­cul­tural sup­pli­ers, watch the Aus­tralian dol­lar’s freefall. At the time of writ­ing it had col­lapsed a stag­ger­ing 20 per cent against the US dol­lar in just a mat­ter of months af­ter its sus­tained bull run saw it well and truly out­dis­tance par­ity to be­come one of the world’s dar­ling cur­ren­cies. But while it was an un­ex­pected and in­cred­i­ble boon for the tourism in­dus­try it al­most crip­pled Aus­tralia’s farm­ing ex­ports and buy­ers ran for cover – and other, cheaper mar­kets. The full ex­tent of its im­pact can be seen in re­gional towns such as Echuca, in north­ern Vic­to­ria, where food pro­ces­sor Sim­plot lost ma­jor con­tracts to the US be­cause of the ex­change rate. It was a body blow from which the com­pany is still fight­ing to re­cover and an un­set­tling har­bin­ger of the sud­den im­pact a fluc­tu­at­ing cur­rency can have on an in­dus­try which has lit­tle de­fence against its va­garies. By the time the dust set­tled in 2014 it turned out to have not been a bad year for ma­chin­ery sales. But cur­rency aside, in one of the most trans­par­ent and open in­ter­views in years, Land­power di­rec­tor Merv Ge­orge told Aus­tralian Farm Dealer Jour­nal about where he sees the Aus­tralasian ma­chin­ery in­dus­try head­ing in the next few years. An assess­ment he has based on his ex­ten­sive his­tory in the north­ern hemi­sphere agri­cul­tural in­dus­try and he says the mas­sive changes in the in­dus­try there are on their way Down Un­der. I doubt there has been a more di­rect re­sponse to the ques­tion about the fu­ture of any seg­ment of ru­ral in­dus­try and Mr Ge­orge’s de­tailed an­swers are a must read. His in­ter­view was so far reach­ing and so long we have had to break it into two parts, with the fi­nal in­stal­ment in our next is­sue. Make sure you don’t miss ei­ther part.

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