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Report supports NFF’s call for sustainable farm policies

1 November 2012

A new report by the Centre for Policy Development has shown the need for sustainable policies to support Australia’s agricultural production – supporting the NFF’s call for Government to deliver a long-term strategic focus for Australia’s agricultural sector.

The Farming Smarter, Not Harder report, released by the Centre today, has found that Australian agriculture can build a lasting competitive advantage through innovation that raises agricultural production, minimises dependence on fuel and fertiliser use and preserves the environment and natural resources – overarching principals that the NFF supports, says NFF CEO Matt Linnegar.

“The report says that to achieve this competitive advantage we need to look after our land and soil to increase our agricultural production and maintain long-term viability; support our farmers to diversity their revenue sources to reduce financial risk and ensure more reliable farm incomes; and prepare for future risks, particularly more frequent droughts – all key priorities for the NFF and our members,” Mr Linnegar said.

“Just last week at Congress, we reiterated our call to the Government to develop long-term strategic policies that allow the farming sector to increase our productivity and our profitability to overcome the challenges, and seize the opportunities ahead.

“Today’s report is another in a long line of recent discussions, including the NFF’s own National Congress last week, that say agriculture has a bright future, if we can overcome the challenges.

“It is important to note that we do not agree with all of this report’s recommendations re policies and their implications, yet we do support a push for a greater discussion regarding agricultural policy, and the overarching need to improve agriculture’s productivity, profitability and competitive advantage.

“One of the NFF’s core roles is to help the Government understand the implications of its political and policy decisions on our nation’s farmers – and to help it make sensible and strategic policy decisions that support our agricultural sector.

“We’ve been very vocal in talking about the policies we believe are essential for the long-term sustainability of our industry – policies in the areas of biosecurity and quarantine, research, development and extension, land use changes and trade and market access, among many others.

“Our submissions to the Asian Century White Paper and the National Food Plan outline these policies in detail – and the initial findings of the Blueprint for Australian Agriculture, released last week, show the key areas that farmers and the agricultural supply chain want to see addressed. Interestingly, Government policy and decision making came in at number one.

“It’s obvious from all the work in this area that agriculture has enormous potential – now it’s about ensuring the right policy decisions to allow us to reach it,” Mr Linnegar said.

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