Battle to justify leaves farmers feeling weary
ADDRESSING the disconnect between farmers and their consumers, mostly in the city, is not a new phenomenon.
But constantly justifying what farmers do, and trying to safeguard the right to do it, is a growing trend farmers are having to learn to swallow. Farmers are being told they now need a licence to operate, they need to prove why they deserve to be a farmer. Despite the fact Australian agriculture has evolved to be one of the most sustainable on the planet, it’s still not good enough for many modern-day consumers.
The latest wave of campaigns and projects to “build community trust”, “to engage the consumer” is becoming a crowded, costly space.
The farm sector is spending millions of dollars trying to understand what consumers want, what the next big risk, or complaint, is going to be and how to manage it.
The struggle for farmers in all of this is constantly having to respond — at their own expense — to the demands of consumers so removed from the coalface of farming.
But can you ever keep so-called changemakers happy? Many of these are consumers who don’t realise what they want is unrealistic or unaffordable, or in many cases is already happening.
They want high-quality food and fibre, but they want the low-quality price tag.
It’s getting tiring. Farmers constantly told what to do and having to explain themselves to people who are so disconnected from reality has almost become demeaning. The debate around community trust needs to be rebalanced, with a focus on trust.
Let’s trust that our farmers are guardians of the land. Let’s trust them to feed and clothe us, before it all just gets too hard.
The Weekly Times Editor
THE STRUGGLE FOR FARMERS IN ALL OF THIS IS CONSTANTLY HAVING TO RESPOND — AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE — TO THE DEMANDS OF CONSUMERS SO REMOVED FROM THE COALFACE OF FARMING.