PM doesn’t understand true realities of farming industry: opinion

The government needs to support its farmers if it wants to be the food superpower Prime Minister Julia Gillard wants it to be.

 As a farmer, marketer and writer, Sophie Love understands the realities of life on the land and how the politicians’ mission to get the “good soundbite” does not translate to a better life of business for Australian farmers.

She writes for ABC’s The Drum:

Julia Gillard is absolutely right that Australia is on the brink of becoming the global economic superpower as the economies of Europe and the US falter, dip, double-dip and recede in the wake of the rampant consumerism of the eighties, nineties and noughties.

The shift has already happened, it is just the global consciousness that needs to catch up. Gillard is also correct in her prediction that Australia has the potential to be the food bowl of Australasia.

The potential is there, but the reality is that federal and state governments are going to have to markedly shift their attitudes, funding allocations and support for farmers if Australia is ever going to be anything other than a dust bowl importing all its food from Asia. That's the way we're headed.

Farmers are leaving the land in droves, frustrated with government treatment of rural communities and the right of farmers to earn a living wage for the crucial food production and custodianship of the land they battle the elements for every day.

The age of the average Australian farmer is ever increasing (currently around 65 years of age) and the industry is not attracting newcomers (except Asian and other overseas purchasers).

The children are leaving the land in preference for fringe dwelling – who can blame them when the rural schools are being closed, the Coles/Woolworths price wars and market domination demand ever-lower farmgate prices for produce, the satellite signal for broadband is slower than the city peak hour crawl and we can't get a TV or radio signal, let alone a doctor, a post office, a store.

Full article available on The Drum.

Sophie Love also blogs about her daily life on the farm here.

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