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TAS Country : July 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010 Tasmanian Country 3 Pollies bypass the bush BLAIR RICHARDS FARMERS are feeling left out of the federal election campaign as the major parties neglect issues affecting the bush. With three weeks to go until the election, Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association chief executive Jan Davis said she was concerned at the lack of a rural policy from either major parties. ''We're not seeing any mention of us at all in any political statements,'' Ms Davis said. ''Neither major party has done any- thing about announcing a rural policy yet or a specific agricultural policy. ''We would expect to hear something soon, and in some coherent form, not just platitudes.'' Ms Davis said pressing issues facing Tasmanian farmers included regional drought, biosecurity, food labelling and property rights. She said federal and state govern- ments expected farmers to bear the cost of environmental and animal-welfare policies, all the while allowing overseas imports produced to lesser standards to flood the local market. ''We don't argue with any of those [standards], but on what basis can the government then accept product com- ing in from other countries that don't have the same standards?''she said. ''If we are going to truly operate in a global market place we need to be on a level playing field.'' There had been some positive devel- opments in promoting Tasmanian pro- duce, but the Federal Government needed to do more to encourage shoop- pers to buy Australian, she said. At the Bridgewater sales this week, many were talking about the lack of rain in the south, central and eastern regions. Most expressed little interest in the election, saying they believed the outcome would make no difference to people in the bush. ''I'd vote for someone who could make it rain,'' Paul Tate of Runnymede said, echoing a common response. Some farmers were having to plough crops into the ground as their markets were snatched away by cheap imports, he said. ''There's so much stuff coming into the country, products that are untested and competing with our own. ''I'm not a strong advocate of subsid- ing farming, although I know a lot of other countries are doing it. We just want an equal playing field.'' Tex Rowlands, who runs a mixed farm at Levendale, said neither major party seemed to be batting for farmers. ''You would have said once that the coalition was more likely to look after the primary industries,'' he said. Mr Rowlands was also concerned by the shortage of doctors and police in rural areas. Geoff Fehlberg, retired farmer from Brighton, said politicians wasted money on projects to lure voters. ''Things are done in Tasmania be- cause seats are marginal, not because its a good idea,'' Mr Fehlberg said. WHOLE FARM: Elders agronomist Mark Rouse, left, helps farmers lift animal production through enhanced feed crop options. New Elders expert ups strike rate JENNIFER CRAWLEY ELDERS new senior ag- ronomist in Tasmania, Mark Rouse, says he is excited to be involved with a lot of leading farmers who work with grazing systems on their farms. ''I like being in the field and in daily contact with clients,'' Mr Rouse said. ''It's great to be part of a knowledgeable team with good skills, strengths and experi- ence. This is a career highlight for me.'' The Launceston-based father of three has wor- ked as an agronomist in New Zealand and Vic- toria. ''I'm relishing this role at a time when so much is going on in the local industry,'' he said. Elders Launceston boss Adrian Rattray said Mr Rouse's experi- ence in whole-farm planning would benefit clients across the north. One client who got only a 35 per cent lamb pregnancy last year had achieved an 80 per cent pregnancy rate this year after working with Mr Rouse, he said ''The average percent- age in New Zealand is 64 per cent. ''Mark's strength is his ability to work with cli- ents looking to lift animal production through en- hanced feed crop op- tions,'' Mr Rattray said. ''Putting in place the right whole-of-farm arrangement is import- ant because it creates the link between what is the best crop to plant for the producer and what are the most effective ro- tation cycles for grazing management,'' Mr Rat- tray said.
August 5th 2010