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TAS Country : January 3rd 2013
6 Tasmanian Country Friday, January 4, 2013 Opinion We grow it, now we need to sell it TFGA matters with Jan Davis WORLD CLASS: Cape Grim beef which can be tracked from paddock to plate. Picture: TARA DUNSTAN IN 2013, Australian farmers have to sell ourselves and our products better. We hide our light under a bushel, a bushel of imported food --- when ours is so much better. Mick Keogh of the Australian Farm Institute has been looking at the reasons that US farmers talk themselves up all the time, while we sit quietly by. He notes that most US citizens believe that their farmers produce the cheapest and the best food in the world, ''and for that reason US consumers should be grateful and the US government should maintain current farm support policies''. Of course, it's a myth. American farmers just happen to sell themselves better and American consumers believe their spin. Mr Keogh recently made a quick comparison of US and Australian food prices. After making adjustments for the exchange rate, local taxes, etc, he found that our food was 14 per cent cheaper than similar American products. In his view, the quality of trim, packaging and products (particularly dairy and meat products) was generally better in Australia, too. The problem we have in Australia is that we don't believe in ourselves enough. Australian farmers are underselling themselves. Our farmers tend to be reticent about how well and efficiently they produce food. We want people to buy Australian, but we are not very good at giving them reasons to do just that. So here is why Australian consumers should buy Australian produce. In Europe, the US and Asia, Australian agricultural products are prized for their quality. If they know what's good for them, why don't we? Our food is consistently safe to eat: just check the National Agricultural Residue Survey and the National Antibiotic Monitoring Program. Our national livestock identification system (NLIS) is the best in the world. Meat can be tracked from paddock to plate so you can be sure of its provenance. There is no such foolproof system in the US or Brazil. Australian agriculture has the lowest level of taxpayer support of any agriculture sector in the world, according to the OECD. It means we operate efficiently despite having one of the harshest growing climates on earth. We are the only sector of the Australian economy to have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions over the last 20 years. Keogh calculates that, without the 30 per cent reduction in emissions achieved by the agriculture sector over this period, Australia would have exceeded its Kyoto Protocol national emission target by a considerable margin. We operate under one of the strictest environmental regimes in the world. Australian farmers use much lower rates of chemicals and fertilisers than farmers in virtually any other farming nation. Our farm animal welfare standards are some of the highest in the world, with many practices and production systems banned in Australia that are still utilised overseas. Buying Australian meat is the best way to ensure high standards of animal welfare. Finally, Australian farms are largely family owned, which runs against international trends. With just a little help, this is a story that can sell itself --- so make sure you share this information with everyone you know in 2013. ONE OF OUR WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT MEETINGS Registered trademark of OneSteel Wire Pty Limited, Ingall Street, Mayfield, NSW 2304. Phone: 13 10 80. ABN 59 000 010 873. ONE1493/TC NSW Permit No. LTPS/12/10341, ACT Permint No. TP12/4695, SA Permit No. T12/2426. When we wanted to improve our website, we turned to the experts -- our customers. Based on the feedback of 400 farmers, we then created an innovative, updated Waratah site with easy-to-use information and straightforward solutions to all your fencing needs. Now you have the chance to WIN prizes, just for updating your login details, or if you register for the first time. You ll have exclusive access to: -- Detailed product information and specifications, -- Pricing information, hints & tips -- A library of even more how-to videos And that s just the start. Over the coming months we ll be introducing even more innovative features and tools. REGISTER OR UPDATE NOW So visit onesteelwaratah.com.au and see innovation at work.
December 20th 2012
January 10th 2013