I eat crops, do you eat crops? Yes. You do. Everyone does. So shouldn't we be hearing more debate around farming culture in Australia? And more from the farmers themselves?

Ranald Moore makes a very valid argument in his opinion piece for Quadrant that the issues around why farmer Peter Spencer climbed up a pole and went on hunger strike weren't given as much media attention as the stunt itself. Moore uses the example of Peter Spencer to launch the trajectory of his piece on land clearing restrictions and the pressures they are placing on farmers. Moore argues convincingly that the restrictions which see that land not farmed regularly is locked up for "de facto national parks without any cost to the public purse" are damaging to farmers and the food market. Ranald goes on to talk about the bristling tension between government and farmers, and points to the Green-Left movement as historically being ideologically opposed to farmers and their naughty non-sustainable ways. As histrionic as Moore's writing can be in places, he's got a real point: are farmers getting the right sort of support from government? And are farmers the ones having to pay the "full cost of meeting Australia's emissions targets"?
Clearly the old agricultural paradigms aren't a smoothly oiled machine...we're still churning out food at a rate which means we are still able to export it, but is it at a rate sustainable for farmers and the world? Or do farmers here, like almost everywhere else, need more support than they're getting?

As interesting as this piece is, it is a very one sided opinion, which does not take into account environmental impacts of clearing, such as soil degredation and salination, or loss of diversity. It is a good sounding board for what some farmers have concerns about in a time in which it is particularly frustrating and difficult to make a living from agriculture, and at a time when every man and his dog is fearful over 'food security', and in which productivist and commercial values are espoused over all others. It's part of a larger debate too, over how much power landowners really have in their possession of land, and between autonomy versus community-based ideology. So cheers Mr Moore, for making me think hard about an issue that should very definitely be debated openly in the social arena!

Snake says - for the best opinion, form your own. Read around!
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