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Australia's beef industry needs to get productive, and fast

- Monday, April 10, 2017

Two recent events have highlighted the competitive challenge faced by the Australian beef industry. Anyone lulled into thinking that the current high cattle and beef prices will persist over the longer term might need to reconsider that opinion, and quickly! 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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Is an Australia-UK trade agreement more cultural cringe than commercial reality?

- Monday, September 19, 2016

In the wake of the decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, there has been some speculation that the move will create opportunities for Australia, and that serious efforts should be made to negotiate a free trade deal between the UK and Australia. From the perspective of Australian agriculture, the proposal makes little sense and there appears to be much bigger trade opportunities much closer to home that need pursuing. View the rest of the post here

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Australian consumers facing increasing food prices

- Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Food prices are always a 'hot-button' political issue globally, especially in developing nations where elevated food prices have triggered civil unrest and regime change over the past decade. Food prices have not commonly been a contentious issue in Australia, where a combination of high per capita levels of national agricultural and food production, and a fiercely competitive retail food sector have kept prices in check for extended periods. Food prices are likely to become a much bigger issue in Australia in the near future, however, as all the signs indicate that Australia's decade of low food prices is about to come to an end. View the rest of the post here

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Drumsticks replacing chops but Australians still love their meat.

- Thursday, January 21, 2016

All the controversy over the Australia day advertisement promoting lamb has highlighted the reported increase of vegetarianism in Australia, which has been strongly promoted by animal welfare groups and others as a more ethical and healthy diet. Irrespective of the health and animal welfare merits of different diets, available statistics indicate that Australians are still pretty keen on meat, although have changed the type of meat they are consuming. View the rest of the post here

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Are annual live cattle quotas for Indonesia enough?

- Thursday, December 10, 2015

Food Security and political stability have always walked hand in hand. Every political regime lives by this fact. From Marie Antoinette to Mao, the ironclad rule for a successful political regime has always been to ensure that the masses have adequate food. Rarely is an ideological sentiment so unifying, nor a violation of ethics so egregious that its revolutionary clout exceeds that of a steep rise in grain prices.  View the rest of the post here

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Is a meat-free diet morally superior?

- Tuesday, October 20, 2015

There is an evangelical fervour starting to emerge in debates about farm animal welfare and meat-free diets. The argument that a diet that is free of meat is somehow morally superior is frequently used by opponents of livestock farming, but exactly why this would be the case is not supported by either evidence or logic. View the rest of the post here

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Free range definition sets a dangerous precedent for agriculture

- Thursday, October 08, 2015

The move by the Australian Government Treasury and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to define what constitutes 'free-range' egg production sets a dangerous precedent for Australian agriculture, but also provides the sector with a wake-up call in relation to the need for industry leadership and unity. View the rest of the post here

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Is transparent market information the best medicine for sick markets?

- Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Throughout history, much of the government intervention in agriculture has aimed to redress the imbalance between the bargaining power of many small-scale farmers who are often weak sellers due to the seasonality and perishability of their products, and the bargaining power of major corporate entities involved in processing and trading those products. Often, governments intervened by setting minimum prices, creating single desk marketing arrangements, or imposing production quotas or other restrictions on participation in certain markets. More recently, governments have recognised the importance of transparent market information as a key factor in ensuring markets remain efficient and fair, and have legislated accordingly. This approach is now up for review in the USA, with legislators and policymakers trying to understand whether more transparent market information really does fix 'sick' markets. View the rest of the post here

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What are the implications of the US corn crash for Australian farmers ?

- Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The US corn belt stretches across about 1,500 miles of the mid west of the USA, from Ohio in the east almost to Colorado in the west, and is a powerhouse of agricultural production with soils and climate that leaves any Australian farmers green with envy. For much of the past decade, the corn belt has generated enormous wealth and corn farmers have enjoyed an extended period of high profitability, but all that now seems to have come to an abrupt halt. View the rest of the post here

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