Thank the land’s cus­to­di­ans

Countryman - - OPINION - Rae­lene Hall

If I had one wish for Christ­mas, it would be that every per­son who puts food in their mouth dur­ing this fes­tive sea­son con­sid­ers how they got that food.

Some­one, some­where has pro­duced that food, no mat­ter if you are a meat eater, veg­e­tar­ian or ve­gan, un­less you grow every sin­gle mouth­ful of your own food.

That per­son may go by dif­fer­ent names but just for ar­gu­ment’s sake, let’s call every per­son grow­ing any kind of food for your con­sump­tion a farmer.

Farm­ing is a tough gig, no mat­ter what you grow or where/how you grow it.

There are so many fac­tors that con­trib­ute to a farmer’s suc­cess or down­fall and very few of them are un­der their con­trol.

The weather, mar­kets, in­ter­est rates, the prices re­ceived for prod­ucts and more are all out of the con­trol of the farmer.

Those fac­tors that a farmer can con­trol are gen­er­ally con­trolled very well, such as the con­di­tion of the soil, the wel­fare of an­i­mals and us­ing world’s best prac­tice in all farm­ing en­ter­prises.

Farmer are in­no­va­tors and al­ways look­ing to im­prove their farm­ing prac­tices.

That’s why it is so hard to see the farm­ing/agri­cul­tural in­dus­try across Aus­tralia tak­ing such a bat­ter­ing from so many of their fel­low Aus­tralians, and par­tic­u­larly by some of our gov­ern­ments.

Those who farm the land know how to care for it. They’ve been do­ing it for gen­er­a­tions.

Each gen­er­a­tion of farmer has moved for­ward with new tech­nol­ogy and prac­tices to en­sure all as­pects of their farm­ing is as ef­fi­cient as pos­si­ble, while still car­ing for the en­vi­ron­ment in which they farm.

There are too many Gov­ern­ment de­part­ment em­ploy­ees and politi­cians with­out a re­al­is­tic grasp on the im­por­tance of farm­ers and agri­cul­ture to this coun­try.

We are one of the least sub­sidised farm­ing coun­tries in the world. In 2016-17, the Aus­tralian Bu­reau of Statis­tics placed the gross value of Aus­tralian agri­cul­ture at $60.8 bil­lion. That’s bil­lion, not mil­lion.

It’s time to take the big stick off the farm­ers’ backs, start lis­ten­ing to their ad­vice and knowl­edge and un­der­stand that they, as the cus­to­di­ans of the land they work on, know what they are do­ing.

It is also time some of those sit­ting on shiny seats in de­part­ments and gov­ern­ments stepped out into the real world, got some s. . . on their shoes and dis­cover what damned fine, knowl­edge­able and ca­pa­ble farm­ers we have in Aus­tralia.

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