GM BAN END SPURS CONCERN
The recent proposal to the SA government to overturn the moratorium on the Genetically Modified Crops Management Act 2004 is a matter for great concern.
As farmers, our family is often asked if we would grow GM crops. Our response is that we wouldn't at this stage, but are open minded to further scientific research.
Customers at farmer's markets are sensitive to the issue of GM of food crops and will often ask about the growth and origin of our products. When the customer is told the products are clean, green and natural they are happy to buy and pay a premium for products that they trust. They leave us feeling good about their purchase.
An analogy we see regularly occurs when wool is sold from mulesed sheep. We know the wool is no different but once again the consumer chooses the product that satisfies their concerns and they are happy to pay a premium for wool from un-mulesed sheep.
Keeping these issues in mind, would it not be better to defer any decision on overturning the ban for another 12 months so more investigation into the consumer end of the market is analysed and assessed.
Additionally, there is a need to ensure farmers producing organic products, such as wine grapes and fruit and vegetables, are not disadvantaged by having GM crops grown on their property boundaries.
SUPERMARKETS CASH IN
The adage "a fair days work for a fair days pay" has been forgotten by the three big supermarkets and Australian consumers keen to take advantage of lower prices.
Supermarkets selling milk at $1 a litre, until the recent increase in the form of a levy paid to struggling dairyfarmer, has resulted in the reduction of the number of dairyfarmers and dairy cows across Australia.
Dairyfarmers have been forced to sell their milk well below the cost of production, with minimal consideration given to the time and energy required and the level of recompense required to remain viable.
One would have thought this predicament was a lesson with the effects of such actions learnt and real remediation was undertaken to address the hard-felt consequences for our hard-working dairyfarmers.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case, with egg farmers feeling the effects of rising production costs while retail prices are being discounted. Prices of free range eggs are $2 below what they were three years ago and yet input costs for their production have kept rising. Actions like these are squeezing operators out of the industry, causing a reduction in the quantity of eggs available and ultimately resulting in exorbitant prices.
Our government needs to take action by introducing regulations, which allow a "farm gate" price to ensure dairy and egg farmers are adequately compensated for their produce and labour.
VOICES STIFLED BY PANELLIST
If a prize had been handed out for hypocrisy after the recent 'Making our voices heard 'panel session in Melbourne, then ex-union heavyweight and Labor politician Simon Crean would have been a 'shoo-in'.
Crean gave a lecture on the need for trusted brands in agricultural marketing, yet he was a senior member of the Rudd government that abolished the iconic wheat export single desk in June 2008 and with that treacherous action went Australia's reputation as the supplier of the finest quality wheat with unbeatable after-market service.
Crean does not appear to have suffered any adverse consequences for his previous questionable actions. As head of farm service provider The Australian Exporter's Council, he has a seat on the National Farmers' Federation member's Council as has the chair of Graincorp, thus making a mockery of NFF's claim that it represents the interests of Australia's farmers.
Rankin's Springs, NSW.
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