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"Right to repair" debate highlights critical issue of data rights

- Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Right to repair' has become a catchcry of equipment users (including farmers) in the USA of late as a number of state legislatures propose legislation that would in some way prevent manufacturers from restricting owners or independent repairers from carrying out repairs on equipment ranging from mobile phones to large farm tractors. In many respects this debate is a sub-set of a much broader debate about rights to access and use data generated by digitally-enabled equipment and technology. View the rest of the post here

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Market transparency matters

- Sunday, March 19, 2017

In the current post-regulation era for Australian agricultural markets, there is a growing awareness of the importance of market transparency as a key factor to ensure markets remain competitive, and the benefits of sectoral efficiency gains are distributed equitably through supply chains. The focus on market transparency is much stronger in overseas markets, and governments expend significant resources to maintain it in specific markets. View the rest of the post here

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Environment improving but scientists are reluctant to admit it

- Sunday, March 12, 2017

Australian land managers have dramatically improved the state of the environment over the past decade, with native vegetation clearing rates dropping to almost zero, farms being replanted with trees, native plants and animal populations reinvigorated, pest animal populations controlled, water and wind erosion significantly reduced through better management practices, and the agriculture sector leading the way in developing projects to mitigate greenhouse emissions.  However, while all these improvements are noted in the State of the Environment report released last week, the authors persisted in painting a gloomy picture of the future. View the rest of the post here

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Despite the good times, risk remains the key feature of farming in Australia

- Monday, March 06, 2017

This week's annual ABARES Agricultural Outlook conference will no doubt have a strong celebratory mood, given the very positive seasonal conditions that have prevailed over the past twelve months for most of Australian farmers, and the generally strong commodity prices (save for cereals and dairy). However, the defining feature of the agriculture sector in Australia has always been risk, and there is little evidence that concerted efforts are being made during the good time to better prepare the sector for future risks. View the rest of the post here

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Decentralisation could cure a range of ills

- Tuesday, February 28, 2017

In a recent speech, former head of Treasury Ken Henry once again raised the concept of decentralisation as a means of addressing some of the challenges facing Australia's major cities - including congestion, high real estate prices and the struggle to provide adequate services and social support to the ever-expanding outer suburbs. The concept is not new and has considerable potential benefits, but Australian Governments don't have a good track record when it comes to implementation and the persistence needed to make these policies work.  View the rest of the post here

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US bans on illegal immigrant workers may benefit Australian farmers

- Monday, February 20, 2017

A key policy promise of US President Donald Trump during the recent US election campaign was to round up illegal workers and deport them, because these workers are 'taking the jobs of US citizens'. If enacted, this policy would have a very large adverse impact on US farming and the food processing sector, and in particular on the US horticulture sector and meat and poultry processing. The implications of these US policies for Australian agriculture are unclear at present, due to uncertainty about future US trade policies. View the rest of the post here

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Not a bad time to be a farmer

- Monday, February 13, 2017

The release by ABARES of Australian Commodity Statistics in December each year provides an opportunity to look at some of the longer-term trends occurring in the Australian agriculture sector, and there is no doubt that the most recent batch of statistics released paints a very positive picture for most sub-sectors. View the rest of the post here

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Agriculture doing all the work on reducing greenhouse emissions

- Monday, January 30, 2017

The Australian agriculture sector is almost entirely responsible for Australia meeting its international greenhouse emission commitments, with the sector being virtually the only economic sector to have reduced annual emissions since 1990, and also contributing more than 80% of the total emission reduction contracted under the Australian Government's Emission Reduction Fund (ERF) auctions. Greenhouse emission abatement projects contracted under the ERF are now generating an estimated $239 million in annual revenue for Australian farmers.  View the rest of the post here

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What does 2017 hold for Australian agriculture ?

- Monday, January 23, 2017

Attempting to forecast how Australian agriculture will fare in 2017 is an exercise fraught with risk, but it’s probably fair to assume that for most involved in the sector, 2017 will not be as good as 2016. Very favourable seasonal conditions combined with high livestock prices meant that the gross value of agricultural production will exceed $60 billion in 2016, about 16% higher than the average figure for the preceding five years,according to ABARESView the rest of the post here

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What goes faster - farmers or racehorses?

- Monday, November 14, 2016

The recent running of the Melbourne Cup provided an opportunity to compare the productivity gains by the thoroughbred racing industry and the Australian farm sector. By using improvements in the time of the winning horse as a proxy for productivity gains by the thoroughbred industry, and the recently published national agricultural productivity growth figures for Australia published by the US Department of Agriculture an interesting comparison can be made. Which sector do you think has enjoyed the greatest 'productivity growth'? View the rest of the post here

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