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Commonwealth vegetation trigger may open up new possibilities for farmers

- Thursday, April 28, 2016

Over the last few days, the federal Opposition has announced new greenhouse emission reduction policies, which includes a Commonwealth Government 'trigger' mechanism which would enable the Commonwealth to over-ride decisions by State Governments in relation to native vegetation management. In particular, if implemented this would mean that in the event the Commonwealth considered that state legislation was too lenient, it could override that legislation and impose stricter controls. While the proposal might fill landholders with horror, it might also trigger a long-awaited move to implement mandatory compensation payments to farmers for the public good carbon sequestration services associated with the retention of trees on farms. View the rest of the post here

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Ukraine grain challenge a wakeup for Australian growers

- Tuesday, April 26, 2016
If ever there was a classic example of the challenge facing Australian agriculture - and the Australian grain sector in particular - it is the challenge that Ukraine is posing to Australian grain exporters in international markets. Despite the political uncertainty and economic turmoil that persists in the Ukraine, the nation is a growing competitor in international grain markets, and in particular in markets Australians might have previously considered 'ours' in Asia and the Middle East. View the rest of the post here
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What happened to enquiring minds?

Richard Heath - Thursday, April 14, 2016

If you are looking for a new way to waste time on the Internet, dive into the rabbit hole that is Google trends. Simply input a search item or two and it will show you how often that search has been performed compared to all other searches, which countries the searches have been originating from and what other terms have been used alongside that search. View the rest of the post here

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Will ageing farmers limit future farm productivity?

- Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Accepted wisdom is often a dangerous thing, as it provides an easy path for those wishing to advance a particular argument but who can't be bothered to first build the evidence. An example may well be the accepted wisdom that farmers as a general group are progressively ageing, and that this will result in reduced rates of productivity growth and a loss of competitiveness for the sector in the future.  View the rest of the post here

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To fix agricultural innovation, shut down G8 university agriculture faculties

- Sunday, March 20, 2016

There is widespread recognition that all is not well with the agricultural innovation system in Australia, with agricultural productivity growth essentially stalling since 1997, and agricultural research and development funding in free-fall as state governments in particular use any excuse to shut down facilities and remove resources. It might seem illogical, but one way to improve the performance of the Australian agricultural innovation system may actually be to shut down agricultural faculties and schools in Australia's major universities. View the rest of the post here

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Thank big farms and chemicals for cheap food

- Tuesday, March 08, 2016
The renewed interest in farming and how food is produced - stimulated by endless gourmet traveler and cooking shows on TV - is a positive development for the agriculture sector in Australia, bringing with it tourists, new customers, regional growth, investment, and even increased undergraduate enrollments in agriculture courses. But it also brings with it new risks for agriculture, that if not managed carefully could result in major disruptions and ultimately drive up the price of food. View the rest of the post here
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The farm commodity ABARES forgot

- Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The forecast of annual farm production for 2015-16 released by ABARES at its annual Agricultural Outlook conference being held in Canberra this week was quite positive, indicating that the gross value of farm production will increase by around 5% compared to 2014-15 and equal almost $59 billion dollars. However, a farm commodity that is very quickly growing in value was completely overlooked in ABARES estimates. View the rest of the post here

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Policy insanity prevails on land clearing legislation

- Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The resurgence of controversy in both NSW and Queensland about tree-clearing legislation highlights that little progress has been made in the past twenty years, and that a long-term resolution will never be achieved unless the fundamental inequity inherent in state and Australian Government policy associated with this issue is addressed.  View the rest of the post here

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Malthus, Ehrlich and other doomsayers still wrong about global starvation

- Thursday, February 18, 2016

The latest agricultural outlook reports produced by the USDA, the FAO and others paint a picture of a world in which there is a growing oversupply of grain, where global grain production constantly exceeds previous records, and in which the number of people suffering starvation is steadily declining. It seems that Thomas Malthus, Paul R Ehrlich and even present day doomsayers like Bob Carr constantly underestimate the ability of the world's farmers to increase output, given the right market signals. View the rest of the post here

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Danger lurking for the agriculture sector in tax debate

- Monday, February 15, 2016

If some of the recent contributions to the debate on future taxation policy in Australia are anything to go by, there is real danger lurking for the agriculture sector. A recent contribution proposing a number of different forms of land or estate taxes highlights this risk, especially when poorly researched proposals are thrown into the mix with little real thought or analysis. View the rest of the post here

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