Agriculture minister upbeat over future
THERE is still a good story to be told about Australian agriculture despite growing concerns about worsening drought conditions in many parts of the country according to Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud.
Mr Littleproud met with beef producers at Eldorado on Wednesday afternoon following a forum in Shepparton at lunchtime where his reception from farmers concerned about the lack of water allocations from the Murray Darling Basin system was less welcoming.
He was in Wangaratta to speak later that evening at the North East Ag Industry dinner.
“The value of agriculture in Australia has grown from $36 billion to $60 billion in the last six years and we must be proud of that,” Mr Littleproud told the Wangaratta Chronicle.
“We need the market to understand that and the wider Australian public.”
He said local farmers he spoke to during the day were interested in a variety of issues including trade, water availability and input costs such as energy and labour costs.
“It’s also important we keep expanding our agriculture education,” he said.
“People understand there is a real career pathway now in agriculture, not only on the land but in science and technology research.
“It’s important we bring the young people into the industry.”
Mr Littleproud announced in Shepparton a new mandatory code for the dairy industry will be introduced.
He said the code was a result of the recent ACCC inquiry into the dairy industry and there would be an extensive consultation process with key stakeholders, in particular the producers and processors.
Mr Littleproud said although similar reform into the red meat industry had stalled he believed it would get back on track.
“I’m very supportive of continuing that process, I want the industry to lead and I was heartened what I heard from producers at Eldorado,” he said.
Mr Littleproud said he understood the desire of producers wanting a say in their share of the cattle levy which the ACCC inquiry found benefitted buyers and processors rather than the farmers.
“They (producers) don’t feel they have a seat at the table,” he said.
OUT AND ABOUT: Federal Agriculture and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud was heartened by the attitude of local farmers he met at Eldorado and Wangaratta on Wednesday.