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Are Australian farmers, the agricultural research community and governments capable of adapting to changing paradigms in agronomy?

Jock Laurie

National Farmers' Federation


The challenges facing the Australian agronomy sector are reflective of the major challenges facing Australian agriculture as a whole. The rising costs of fuel and energy, access and availability of water, increasing red tape and regulation, the ever-increasing power of the environmental and animal-welfare lobbies, declining productivity growth and the need for greater investment in research and development are issues facing the entire agricultural sector.

As a farmer from Walcha in northern NSW and as President of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), it’s not simply about ensuring that farmers, the wider agricultural industry, the research community and governments are capable of adapting to these issues - but rather tackling these issues head on to ensure the Australian agricultural sector is well placed to overcome them, and capitalise on the opportunities ahead.

As the peak body representing Australian farmers and, more broadly, agriculture across Australia, the NFF’s role is to develop and achieve policy outcomes; champion issues affecting the sector to government and the community; and advance the interests of Australian agriculture.

Perhaps ironically, many of the issues and policies that will impact our productivity, profitability and competitiveness come at a time when Australia’s Prime Minister herself has identified the potential for a new golden era of Australian agriculture, given the rise of Asia.

 Australian agriculture has a clear competitive advantage, but in order to make this opportunity a reality, we need to overcome the challenge of increasing production of food and fibre at a time when we have less arable land, less water and less human resources. And to do so, we need to see Government policy that enables us to both build and secure our position with long-term, strategic Government policy that recognises the important role and contribution of agriculture.

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