Farm­ing is green by na­ture

Tasmanian Country - - OPINION - Wayne John­ston

FARM­ERS mul­ti­task as a mat­ter of course. It en­sures that we run ef­fi­cient prof­itable and sus­tain­able busi­nesses. It’s just what we do.

As farm­ers the one thing we tend not to do is crow about our own suc­cesses. Some­times this is a good thing, but equally this can mean the com­mu­nity doesn’t have a full un­der­stand­ing of what farm­ers con­trib­ute to our wonderful state.

A good ex­am­ple of this is the en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices farm­ers pro­vide to the com­mu­nity. While many of agriculture’s crit­ics of­ten pro­mote a con­trary view, farm­ers pro­vide a wide range of en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices daily, and they do it will­ingly and with pride.

We are of­ten the cus­to­di­ans of habi­tats for not only en­dan­gered species, but the general flora and fauna of the state. We ac­tively look to find sus­tain­able ways to oper­ate our farms.

Yes, we do that with a sense of com­mu­nity obli­ga­tion, but fun­da­men­tally if we fail to do so, we will not have a vi­able busi­ness for our­selves or our chil­dren. We have a vested in­ter­est in en­sur­ing the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment re­mains in bal­ance and re­mains sus­tain­able.

Pri­mar­ily, this is why the TFGA has taken such a strong stance on pro­tect­ing our biose­cu­rity. A breach of our biose­cu­rity rep­re­sents a po­ten­tially cat­a­strophic threat to our busi­nesses and the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. The de­sire of some to in­tro­duce more and more ex­otic species into the state is one ex­am­ple of the short-sight­ed­ness that puts at risk our en­vi­ron­ment and liveli­hoods.

The pro­tec­tion of our en­dan­gered species is again some­thing farm­ers take very se­ri­ously. We are con­stantly look­ing for ways to en­sure our im­pact on them is min­imised.

This is an on­go­ing process that needs mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion and we do this at our own cost and in our own time. It is this com­mit­ment we need to ex­plain to the broader com­mu­nity. For too long we have al­lowed those op­posed to mod­ern agriculture to ped­dle views that do not re­flect the re­al­ity on the land.

The so­ci­ety we en­joy to­day would not have been pos­si­ble if farm­ers had not adapted and had not done so in a sus­tain­able way.

Yes, mis­takes have been made in the past, but we have learned from those and we will con­tinue to learn. Farm­ers have al­ways viewed the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment as an in­te­gral part of the life all of us on the land en­joy. Any ero­sion of that is sim­ply un­ac­cept­able.

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