Fighting for our farmers' future

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Farmers respond to 4 Corners

Last night, ABC’s Four Corners program featured a story on the health effects of the herbicide, 2,4-D. We are deeply concerned and saddened to see the impact of 2,4-D on the health of former Government workers in the 1960s and 70s.

This shows the need for both quality chemical products and their safe application. Importantly, the Four Corners program demonstrated how far safe handling of chemicals has come over the past 30 years.

Nobody wants to see safer chemicals more than farmers – chemicals like 2,4-D are incredibly important when it comes to producing food and fibre, as they help control pests, weeds and diseases that would otherwise threaten crops and place a potential risk on our food safety system.

Australia’s chemical system is regulated through a scientific risk-based process by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). Additionally, chemical use on farms is heavily regulated by state governments. Some of the strict laws governing chemical use on farms include documenting use, using personal protective equipment when applying chemicals, storing chemicals in well ventilated and lockable storage facilities, and ensuring that chemicals are only applied in specific weather conditions to guard against spray drift.

More information on chemicals such as 2,4-D and their safe handling can be found via the APVMA website here.

Farm safety – today, tomorrow, every day

Last week was National Farm Safety week, an initiative of Farmsafe Australia, highlighting the importance of health and safety on farms.

The NFF is a proud supporter of Famsafe and Farm Safety Week. Farms are both our homes and our livelihoods, and most farms have a large number of potential hazards – from heavy machinery and vehicles, to livestock and the hazards of working outdoors.

Sadly, despite the workplace health and safety laws in place, injuries continue to happen on farms. According to Safe Work Australia, over the eight years from July 2003 to June 2011, 356 workers died while working on a farming property, with incidents involving vehicles – tractors, aircraft, light vehicles and quad bikes – accounting for 71 percent of these fatalities.

Farmsafe have outlined a range of actions we can all take to ensure our farms are a safe workplace for us, our families, and our staff. Find out more here, and read the NFF media release here.

Carbon tax cuts impacts farms

Last week, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced that the floating carbon price will be brought forward by one year, effectively cutting the carbon tax and replacing it with an emissions trading scheme. While this is good news for farmers in that the carbon tax has been an additional and unnecessary cost burden to our farm businesses, it comes at a price.

In order to offset the cost of the new scheme, the Government has cut funding from important farm programs, including $356 million in funding from the Biodiversity Fund and Carbon Farming Futures.

The NFF has long advocated for the carbon tax to be cut, but we are disappointed to see the Government once again rob Peter to pay Paul in offsetting the costs of the scheme. For more, read our media release.

States sign on to Farm Finance

Last week, Queensland became the first State to sign on the the Federal Government's Farm Finance package. Since then, both Victoria and New South Wales have also signed on.

We welcome the news that farmers will finally start to benefit from the package, which despite having been announced almost three months ago, is yet to see important funds actually passed on to the farmers who need it.

We now look to the remaining States and Territories to also sign on to the package, as well as to the respective governments to ensure that the process for rolling the funds out moves as quickly as possible to ensure that farmers are getting the help they need.

For more, read our media release.

Farmer of the Year Awards

Nominations close this Friday for the 2013 Farmer of the Year Awards. Run by ABC Rural and the Kondinin Group, the awards recognise farmers who demonstrate leadership, innovation and passion for agriculture.

There are 11 categories for the award, including commodities, biosecurity, diversification and leadership, as well as a new category introduced this year, ‘Farm Safety Leader of the Year’. For more information on the Award, and how to enter, visit ABC Rural’s website.

If you need more convincing, watch this video of Rural Leader of the Year 2012 winner, Rob Egerton-Warburton on why you should enter the 2013 competition.

The NFF AGvocate
Issue 38

In this issue

Farmers respond to 4 Corners

Farm safety – today, tomorrow, every day

Carbon tax cuts impacts farms

States sign on to Farm Finance

Farmer of the Year Awards

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