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TAS Country : January 13th 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011 Tasmanian Country 9 Opinion CHEWS theFAT David Byard Ian and Lesley Young are like thousands of farmers across Tasmania who have cause to wonder what the future holds.' for life of hard work 1000 pupils. Blue gums and stringy-barks were very common, and during World War II keels for mine sweepers were sent to England from Bruny. These were 30 metres long. Wood was harvested from the island for England's Dover breakwater, and the timber was sought-after around Australia. The two major mills were the island's main employers and hundreds worked there. Bruny also had a thriving orchard industry, the first apple tree having been planted at Adventure Bay by an early explorer. Ian took an instant shine to a young woman named Lesley, sent to the island as a district nurse. She was on call 24 hours a day to deal with everything from headaches to snake bite because there was no doctor on the island. After marrying, Ian and Lesley decided their future was on the mainland and they chose a cropping farm at East Sassafras, to which Ian took his 150-odd cattle from Bruny. He had only grown vegetables in the garden and had little idea about irrigated cropping. Buying a travelling irrigator was the easy part. He then had to learn how to operate it. After arriving on the North-West Coast, Lesley decided it would be better to give up nursing and work alongside Ian on the farm. Their first crops were peas, beans, sweet corn and poppies. Potatoes were not on the agenda because they were too expensive and irrigation water was in limited supply. Their first pea crop was completely bypassed by the processing company, and for some time the Youngs struggled to survive. One of the main initiatives Ian was involved in starting was a compensation scheme to which producers contributed dollar-for-dollar with the growers. This meant if contractors could not reach a crop in time, it was not a total loss because the farmer was compensated. The scheme was adopted for other crops such as beans. When Ian started cropping in 1980, the margins were much better than now. With fuel, fertiliser and machinery costs now skyrocketing and prices for the product falling, the future again looks bleak. Ian has had contracts to grow peas and beans for McCain, and the company's withdrawal has taken away a major income source. The Youngs still sell potatoes to McCain, but that is becoming increasingly marginal after price cuts in the past two seasons and the cost of fuel, power and fertiliser ever rising. Livestock such as fat lambs and beef cattle provide an income, but the main purpose of this sort of ground is vegetable production. Ian and Lesley Young are like thousands of farmers across Tasmania who have cause to wonder what the future holds. Students can cash in on helping hand EMMA HOPE YOUNG Tasmanians are running out of time to apply for the rural studentship program. Higher education students have just two weeks to get their applications in for a Government and industry initiative that provides financial support to students studying primary industry degree courses. The Investing in Youth Undergraduate Studentship Program provides financial and mentoring support for Australians committed to contributing to the rural sector. The program aims to attract more young Australians into primary indus- tries study by providing them with financial help throughout their degrees, as well as giving them tailored support in the form of professional and experienced mentors. The program provides students with financial support of up to $5000 a year and access to a professional mentor and support network to help them with career advice and direction. It also offers relevant industry placements. The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) estab- lished the program to help address the serious shortage of students studying primary industry courses at universities, which has resulted in significant skill shortages across rural Australia. The future of Australia's primary indus- tries requires more graduates in areas such as research, teaching, agribusiness, farming, business and technical consul- tancy, and natural resource management in primary industries. Application forms can be downloaded from www.rirdc.gov.au or by phoning the RIRDC on 6271 4100. Applications close on January 28. Call: Dan Ryan: 0400 670 386 Brett Stevenson: 0407 000 242 Office: 03 6223 3536 70 Hampden Road, Battery Point, Hobart. www.sfmes.com.au Your forest Your asset > Deposits of up to $100,000 for your timber > An established market network > Professional foresters and contractors > Certified forest management systems If you re a landowner and want to utilise your forest - talk to us. SFM is the leading provider of independent forest management in Tasmania. We get maximum value for your forest products by providing;
January 6th 2011
January 27th 2011