Why farmers need to stand up or suffer

Have courage for the hard conversations that challenge public perceptions


Stubble being burnt off to get rid of root rot or environmental vandalism? Photo - Alice Mabin.

Stubble being burnt off to get rid of root rot or environmental vandalism? Photo - Alice Mabin.

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Perception is everything in today’s online world. Farmers have been taking it on the chin for far too long because of the “just get on with it” characters they are.

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Perception is everything in today’s online world. Farmers have been taking it on the chin for far too long because of the “just get on with it” characters they are.

They don’t complain, they don’t argue, they just get on with the job. And that’s the problem. The anti-livestock movement, vegan movement and environmentalists have been getting a lot of airplay in the news and online.

The problem is that this is a one sided view! It’s not balanced. Why? Because the farmers are not being heard. They don’t have a collective voice.

And when the general public see frequent campaigns against livestock farming, live exports, cruelty to animals, and land clearing for farming as the biggest threat to our environment, everyone quietly nods their heads and perception becomes reality.

What about hearing about what the farmers and agri-businesses have to say about this? Why don’t we have a balanced view? For example, protecting our $60 billion agriculture industry that puts premium quality food on the table of every Australian, that is safe and creates thousands of jobs at the same time.

Author, Alice Mabin, is keen for more people to speak up and add their voice to fight one-sided perceptions of rural practices.

Author, Alice Mabin, is keen for more people to speak up and add their voice to fight one-sided perceptions of rural practices.

What about balancing the perceptions of land clearing in the context of how to feed and ever-growing population that requires more land for housing leaving less land for farming to feed them?

This is what needs to be looked at. Our farmers have been taking it on the chin for far too long and it is time we got off the ropes and hit back to put things into perspective.

If farmers don’t speak up, our politicians will bend to public perception and before you know it cheaper foreign imports of substandard quality (compared to Australian grown) will be increasing on our supermarket shelves, export revenue will start to drop, farms will start to close down, and a whole industry will start to go into decline.

I am not an activist. I just have the courage to have the hard conversations and challenge public perceptions for the betterment of farmers and our nation as whole.

Australian agriculture fast facts:

  • 1.6 million people work in agriculture creating 90pc of our daily domestic food supply.
  • In the last 40 years, farming businesses have dropped 31pc, agricultural land has dropped from 500 million hectares to 385 million hectares.
  • Australian sheep growers produce more than 90pc of the global production of wool. 
  • The Australian dairy industry generates AUD$13.5 billion each year from fewer than 6000 farms. 
  • Beef is the giant of Australian agriculture; over half of Australian farms raise cattle for beef.   
  • The pig and poultry sectors exist almost entirely for the benefit of the Australian public, with more than 95 pc of egg, chicken meat and pork production consumed in Australia.  
  • Australia has an international reputation as a reliable supplier of some of the best fresh horticultural produce in the world. Australian fruit, vegetable and nut growers produce more than 6.3 million tonnes of fresh produce each year. 

 – Alice Mabin, author, Asia Pacific BEFA Female Entrepreneur of the Year

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