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Will drought policy reform get washed away by autumn rains - again?

Mick Keogh - Friday, April 04, 2014

Anyone travelling through regional NSW at present can't help but notice that in many areas that were suffering drought conditions even a month ago, pasture conditions have changed dramatically with recent rain, and in many cases the country is looking particularly good. Ironically, this turnaround has occurred while community groups are still busy trying to work out what to do with all the donations that have been made for drought-stricken farmers! Its a sure bet that not only has the rain changed the look of the country, but also the focus on drought policy, which will now inevitably drop off the political radar until the next 'drought crisis'. Perhaps its wishful thinking, but surely farmer organisations and policymakers could make good use of the recent crisis to get in place some settled drought policy, well in advance of the next big dry. View the rest of the post here

 
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Hype and hope obscure the grim reality for Australian agricultural productivity.

Mick Keogh - Saturday, March 29, 2014

Recently, a conference sponsored by "The Australian" newspaper involved a host of Australian and international speakers talking about the great potential that awaits Australian agriculture in the Asian century. This has been a familiar theme in discussions about agriculture in recent years, but it seems the discussions rarely go beyond spruiking the hype and hope. Few seem prepared to discuss what might be required to convert this hype into reality, especially when it comes to finding ways to bring about the required jump in agricultural productivity.  View the rest of the post here

 
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Meat-free advocates preaching a misleading message

Mick Keogh - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Apparently, next week has been declared meat-free week, and all Australians are invited to participate. Exactly why is not clear, because all the claimed benefits of going meat free for a week are not based on science or logic, and the main motivation seems to be a thinly disguised campaign to end livestock farming. View the rest of the post here

 
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SPC saga highlights that major retailers can decide the fate of entire communities

Mick Keogh - Friday, March 14, 2014

There has been a great deal of relief in political circles and in regional Victoria at the recently announced deal between SPC and a major retailer, but what this episode has brought into stark relief is the vulnerability of Australian agriculture and regional communities to the whims of the buying decisions of either of Australia's two major retailers. View the rest of the post here

 
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Will Australian agricultural research capacity be sufficient for the food bowl challenge?

Mick Keogh - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It is certain that, in order for Australian agriculture to take full advantage of the growth in Asian demand for food and fibre, large increases will be needed in agricultural productivity. What is much less certain is whether Australia will have the agricultural research and development capacity that will be needed to generate the required productivity growth. View the rest of the post here

 
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Family farm is far from dead.

Mick Keogh - Thursday, March 06, 2014

There has been a lot of talk over recent times about the demise of the family farm in Australia, and its replacement by a corporatised model. However, available evidence indicates that such a change is unlikely, and that the family farm will remain a mainstay of agriculture for quite some time into the future. View the rest of the post here

 
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ACT Factory farming ban scales new heights of hubris and hypocrisy

Mick Keogh - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The passing of legislation by the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly to ban so-called factory farming in the ACT scales new heights of hubris and hypocrisy, not seen since local government authorities decided to declare themselves 'nuclear-free zones' during the 1980s and 1990s. View the rest of the post here

 
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Animal welfare debate moves to a specious level

Mick Keogh - Sunday, February 23, 2014

Animal welfare for farm animals is an issue that generates impassioned and emotional debates, and it is often difficult to separate the emotional attachment that some people have for individual animals from the broader issues associated with managing large numbers of farm animals that are raised to meet consumer demand for food. View the rest of the post here

 
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Public policy on foreign investment in Australian agriculture needs improving

- Monday, February 10, 2014

The Australian agricultural sector has a long history of foreign investment, with overseas capital playing a critical role in the development of industries such as wool, wine, cotton, beef, feed grains and sugar. Foreign investment will also undoubtedly play an important role in the success of Australia’s agricultural sector into the future. Key advantages of foreign investment in Australian agriculture includes greater availability of investment capital, enhanced international market access for export commodities and flow-on effects such as the introduction of skilled labour, advanced technology and productive industry competition (see here).  View the rest of the post here

 
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US farm bill will not impact on Australian farmers - but will make them jealous.

Mick Keogh - Friday, January 31, 2014

A new five year US Farm Bill, which has been passed by the US House of Representatives and is likely to be passed by the US Senate early next week, is unlikely to have many direct impacts on Australian farmers, but will make Australian crop farmers quite jealous of the support measures available to their US counterparts. View the rest of the post here

 
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