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Are you confident of your social licence?

Richard Heath - Thursday, October 04, 2018
A social licence is easier to define once lost than when it is in place. The live export industry is very familiar with the disruptive consequences of losing the social licence to operate, and understanding social licence been critical for doing business in the forestry sector for decades. Social licence is currently one of the most talked-about issues in global agriculture, as was apparent at the recent Nuffield Australia National Conference, yet it remains an enigma to many in the Australian sector. View the rest of the post here
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Glyphosate hysteria ramps up

Richard Heath - Monday, August 20, 2018
Last October I wrote about the European Commission vote on extending the registration of glyphosate. While the extension was granted, it has done nothing to diminish the campaigning of vocal community that oppose the use of glyphosate.  View the rest of the post here 
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#glyphosateisvital but do consumers agree?

Richard Heath - Monday, October 23, 2017

In the next few days the European Commission is scheduled to vote on whether to extend the registration of glyphosate, the active ingredient of the worlds most widely used weedkiller, Roundup. If an extension is not approved, it will essentially lead to the banning of glyphosate in Europe. Despite the overwhelming balance of evidence pointing to glyphosate being safe, and essential for many farming systems, it appears that the vote will be going down to the wire in what has become an overly politicised process. View the rest of the post here

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Thank big farms and chemicals for cheap food

Mick Keogh - 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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Agriculture has the technology, but will consumers swallow it?

Mick Keogh - Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The growth opportunities for Australian agriculture lie in expanding resource use via the development of northern Australia, and increasing output from existing resource use through productivity growth. While these two options are perhaps equally important, agricultural productivity growth is essential in order to maintain international competitiveness irrespective of what happens in northern Australia, but also faces a major stumbling block due to the purported attitudes of consumers. View the rest of the post here

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Farmers, scientists and governments need to beware of anti-scientists

Mick Keogh - Sunday, April 12, 2015

Two issues that have attracted media attention over the past month are the Easter holidays road toll, and the influence of anti coal seam gas sentiments on the outcome of the NSW state election. The contrasting attitudes of the media and the wider community to both these issues is curious, and highlights a worrying trend that has the potential to seriously damage the competitiveness of Australian agriculture in the future. View the rest of the post here

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Wistful and fanciful dreaming versus factual analysis

Mick Keogh - Thursday, February 26, 2015

Two media articles dealing largely with the future of the agriculture sector were published today, - one in the Sydney Morning Herald and the other in the Australian Financial Review. They presented a remarkable contradiction in styles - one promoting a return to a more bucolic and less industrialised style of small-scale family farming, while the other focused on the challenges associated with re-engineering farming in order to almost double output to meet the projected future global demand. The contrast between these articles highlights the need for Australian farming to make careful and informed choices, rather than to become victims of fashion. View the rest of the post here

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Divestment decision criteria are the contentious issue.

Mick Keogh - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The recent decision by the Australian National University to copy decisions made by a small number of overseas universities and sell its investments in companies that are judged to be not meeting environmental, social and governance criteria has created a flood of both support and criticism in response to the ANU decision. It has also highlighted a critical weakness in such decision-making, because of the subjectivity of the criteria used to rate companies, and in many cases the weakness of the data underpinning some of these criteria. Many sub-sectors of agriculture face a growing risk from these types of developments. View the rest of the post here

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What you will not see reported about the Great Barrier Reef

Mick Keogh - Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Want to make some easy money? Make a bet with someone that if a government report was released which contained bad news about the Great Barrier Reef then it would feature as the lead article in national newspapers and ABC current affairs programs, but if a report provided good news about the Great Barrier Reef then would get absolutely no media coverage at all.  View the rest of the post here
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WA GM crop decision highlights the dangers of ignoring science in administering standards

Mick Keogh - Sunday, June 01, 2014

Contrary to reports that the decision of the Western Australian Supreme Court in the Marsh vs Baxter GM crop contamination case represents a victory for GM crops and the end of organic farming in Australia, a close reading of the judgement suggests neither is correct. What the judgement does make clear, however, is that those administering production standards (such as organic certification) need to steer well clear of fanatical interpretations that stray a long way from scientific reality. View the rest of the post here

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