Today’s guest blog post continues to show the diversity of vocal proud and loud agvocates supporting the Australian dairy industry. Richard Makim is a very well known 4th generation NSW grazier. Richard and his wife Judy have 7 children and live and farm at “Moredun” in Ben Lomond NSW.
This is what Richard has to say……………………………..
We need our dairy industry because Australians need affordable, reliable, quality and fresh nutritious food and that is exactly what our Australian dairy farmers provide for us everyday. In a rapidly changing and growing world there are many competing interests for human sustenance. In trade, alliances change, regimes come and go, and big developing countries in our region, with fast growing economies, will challenge us with their bargaining chips for their near insatiable demand on resources (including food).
Then there is oil. We rely heavily as does most of the world on cheap, always available fuel. Run through some ‘what if ‘ scenarios. David Holmgren does this well.
- What if oil doubled in price?
- What if it was difficult to obtain?
- What if it wasn’t available for 3 months?
These various scenarios would become scary for food security and trade.
What really is at stake in this discussion is our national vision. As successive government policies smash our primary industries (lack of competition and management of the dollar) we lose our national ability to produce our own food (half our dairies have gone since deregulation). We are already a net importer of some major basic foodstuffs. Our trading partners haven’t levelled their ‘playing fields’ as fast or completely as we have, putting us at a serious disadvantage. Bob Katter, in his recent book, ‘An Incredible Race of People’, gives a long list of the industries and their decline, including a special chapter on the Dairy industry. The figures show that both the consumer and the producer have come out worse from deregulation. Bob quotes Professor Ted Coulson from the School of Economics, University of Qld., as saying, ‘ What has happened to the Dairy industry is one of the 3 great shames of Australian history”. To add insult to injury, the major supermarkets have used this staple as a loss leader.
How do we see ourselves as a nation? Are we to close down our countryside and most of our Primary industry and let all our manufacturing go offshore? Is speculation of the ballooning money markets and mining expected to carry the country? Are we to expect the ‘Brisbane line’ mentality of the recent live export shutdown be applied to any other industry as a result of sensationalist reporting and social media driven polls?
An industry like Dairy isn’t turned on and off like a tap. We already have a problem in Agriculture with an aging population and not enough succession. Why? Because the work is hard, the hours long, the risks regular, and returns in real terms probably haven’t improved in 30years. And in some industries, gone backwards. If there is a major primary agricultural industry where morale is high and these situations don’t exist, I haven’t heard of it.
With 95% of our population urbanised, the disconnect with where and how our food is produced and gets to retail is alarming. Agriculture in general has failed to address this dialogue and governments appear to be satisfied to keep plucking ‘the goose that lays the golden egg’. This is neither wise nor sustainable on the forefronts of health, environment, or economy.
Stand up for our dairy industry by signing Lisa Claessen petition to Coles here
Another 8000 signatures required before Coles will listen