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Drought policy must adapt to a changing climate

Richard Heath - Thursday, October 25, 2018

January to September rainfall in 2018 has been the second lowest recorded since 1900 for the Murray-Darling Basin, and September rainfall was the lowest ever recorded nationally. This is a drought of historic proportions resulting in desperately tough conditions for farm businesses and their interdependent rural and regional communities. There is an obvious and urgent need to provide emergency measures and relief to ensure that these communities are sustained, that farming families can put food on the table and that animals do not starve.  View the rest of the post here
 
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Ag needs to keep speaking up

Richard Heath - Monday, October 15, 2018
This week will see a confluence of agricultural, rural and regional events being held in Canberra. These events, including the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Awards Dinner, Farmer of the Year Awards lunch, the AFI Australian Agriculture Roundtable, National Farmers’ Federation Congress and the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Gala, will bring farmers, lobbyists, researchers and policy-makers together. View the rest of the post here 
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Are you confident of your social licence?

Richard Heath - Thursday, October 04, 2018
A social licence is easier to define once lost than when it is in place. The live export industry is very familiar with the disruptive consequences of losing the social licence to operate, and understanding social licence been critical for doing business in the forestry sector for decades. Social licence is currently one of the most talked-about issues in global agriculture, as was apparent at the recent Nuffield Australia National Conference, yet it remains an enigma to many in the Australian sector. View the rest of the post here
 
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Glyphosate hysteria ramps up

Richard Heath - Monday, August 20, 2018
Last October I wrote about the European Commission vote on extending the registration of glyphosate. While the extension was granted, it has done nothing to diminish the campaigning of vocal community that oppose the use of glyphosate.  View the rest of the post here 
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Making the most of drought awareness

Richard Heath - Tuesday, August 07, 2018

The drought has not happened suddenly, but suddenly it’s mainstream news. I have been asked to do several media interviews in recent weeks and each reporter’s focus has been the effect that the drought might have on grocery prices. Since drought is a recurring feature of Australian agriculture there is precedent to call on and - as this paper from John Quiggin outlines - during previous periods of extended drought, grocery prices have risen by about twice the rate of inflation. View the rest of the post here

 
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Farm safety is all about attitude.

Richard Heath - Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Australian agriculture has been kicking a lot of goals in the last few years. As the biggest contributor to GDP growth, the farming sector is full of stories of innovation and success. One goal that remains resolutely un-kicked however, is that of workplace safety. There is no way to sugar coat the fact that farmers are participating in the deadliest profession in Australia.  View the rest of the post here

 
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Respect Scientific Consensus

Richard Heath - Thursday, July 12, 2018

In the world of agriculture Mark Lynas is probably best known for his high-profile change of mind on the issue of GMO’s. Originally an anti-GMO activist, some say he was even the global founder of the anti-GMO movement, Mark is now an advocate for genetic engineering, promoting the potential for the technology in addressing a range of environmental and food security issues.   View the rest of the post here

 
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Agtech closing the urban/rural divide

Katie McRobert - Friday, June 01, 2018

Much is made of the ‘urban/rural divide’ when discussing agricultural policy, but two digital trends have the potential to close some of the gaps between city and country. View the rest of the post here

 
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Open Data and Interoperability – it’s getting closer

Richard Heath - Thursday, May 24, 2018

AgTech Takeaways - the expanded menu (part 4): In March, I participated in an Austrade-facilitated Australian Agtech Delegation to the US and wrote a blog about my takeaways with four main points of conclusion. Over the next month each of those key points - integrated systems approaches, farming practice adaptation, genomics / computational breeding and open data - will be expanded on in turn. View the rest of the post here

 
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Faster computers breeding better plants

Richard Heath - Tuesday, May 15, 2018

AgTech Takeaways - the expanded menu (part 3): In March, I participated in an Austrade-facilitated Australian Agtech Delegation to the US and wrote a blog about my takeaways with four main points of conclusion. Over the next month each of those key points - integrated systems approaches, farming practice adaptation, genomics / computational breeding and open data - will be expanded on in turn. View the rest of the post here

 
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