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2011 Summer - food, fuel and climate change mitigation- can agriculture do it all

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Farm Policy Journal - Vol 8 No 4 2011 - Summer - Full Journal

Farm Policy Journal, Vol. 8, Number 4, Summer 2011, Food, fuel and climate change mitigation: how can agriculture can do it all? , Australian Farm Institute, 68 pp

ISSN: 1449-2210 (print), 1449-8812 (online) 

After being overlooked for several decades, agricultural policy is now back in the limelight and a key focus for governments around the world. This is also the case in Australia, with the Australian government working on a National Food Plan, food security policies, water policies, renewable energy policies and a carbon tax aimed at reducing national greenhouse emissions. In all these, agriculture has a central role, but the potential exists that these policies will result in contradictions, because the sector only has  limited resources available, and is facing  increasing input costs, day to day volatility in national and international markets, and the decreasing investment in agricultural R&D and regional services. The potential conflicts and contradictions between these different policy areas were the subject of papers contributed for the Summer edition of the Farm Policy Journal. It includes contributions from international experts, as well as students who provided entries for the Institute’s John Ralph Essay Competition.



FPJ0804 - Keogh, M - Food security, food reality and australian agriculture opportunity

Keogh, M, Food security, food reality and Australian agriculture opportunity, Farm Policy Journal, Vol8 N4, Summer 2011, pp 1-6

As recently as five years ago, food security was a term used in discussions about the food supply situation in drought stricken and impoverished developing nations, often as not run by a despotic dictator. More recently, however, food security has emerged as a major policy issue in developed nations such as Australia. Unfortunately, much of the discussion about the issue is misinformed, and some of the proposed ‘solutions’ are likely to make global food security worse, rather than better. While global food insecurity represents a significant opportunity for Australian agriculture, it will require considerable effort by industry participants to secure that opportunity. Those efforts will be more likely to succeed if Australian governments undertake policy reforms in a range of areas including agricultural innovation, agricultural trade, regulation efficiency and market transparency.


FPJ0804 - Mussell, A, Feed grains and livestock in Canada, a reconciliation

Mussell, A, Feed grains and livestock in Canada: a reconciliation, Farm Policy Journal, Vol8 N4, Summer 2011, pp 27-38

The use of ethanol made from corn and feed grains continues to be a current public policy issue, subject to a rather polarised debate. It is especially of interest to a meat exporting country such as Canada. It is with this understanding that the George Morris Centre has focused on Canada’s interest in ethanol policy (Mussell et al. 2008, 2009). The observation has been that Canada’s ethanol policy is framed by its role as a livestock and meat exporter. As a result, competition for feeder livestock (and thus competitiveness in livestock and meat production) stands to be seriously impeded by ethanol development in Canada. The situation in Ontario has been the focus since it allows clear reference to corn, ethanol, and livestock feeding, but the insight applies to western Canada where the feed grain situation is more complex but export competitiveness even more critical. Debate on the impact of ethanol development in Canada has often occurred without the benefit of a unifying analytical framework that helps understand the impacts and implied adjustments. Moreover, the last few years have seen significant fluctuations in grain and livestock markets in Canada, and the economic landscape has shifted. With that in mind, how should the mechanism of causation and the empirical evidence related to ethanol, livestock, and meat be understood? The purpose of this article is to develop the key economic fundamentals that govern the development of feed grain and livestock industries in Canada. The implications of these fundamentals are then interpreted in the context of recent developments in Canadian feed grains and livestock.


FPJ0804 - Cameron, N, Agriculture and energy, a growing challenge in the world and in Australia

Cameron, N, Agriculture and energy, a growing challenge in the world and in Australia, Farm Policy Journal, Vol8 N4, pp 39-50
Nicolette Cameron is theJohn Ralph Essay Competition Student Winner

This essay investigates the role agriculture could play in meeting future global food and fuel requirements. In doing so it outlines areas of policy which may assist Australians farmers to meet these conflicting demands. The essay first describes the challenges for agriculture in increasing both food and fuel output, as well as, sequestering carbon using current resources including soil, water, vegetation, technologies and research developments. Research and development (R&D) has played a central role in agriculture’s performance in past decades. Whilst agricultural productivity in Australia generally continues to increase, the incremental growth observed in previous decades is decreasing. Productivity growth achieved by agriculture, compared to other sectors of the economy has throughout history been very strong, possibly due to the focus on R&D advancements. This essay examines the different parameters of this equation and explores current factors impeding or boosting agricultural productivity and sustainability for the different agricultural sectors. The role of carbon sequestration and biofuels in addressing both productivity and food security is also discussed and it is identified that further developments of industry and markets are required. The essay then focuses on water and land use possibilities in the north and central regional areas of Australia and their topical role in increasing long-term productivity growth.


FPJ0804 - Johnstone, R, Cameron, D, The emerging complementary and competitive tension between agriculture and energy

Johnstone,R, with the supervision of Cameron, D, The emerging complementary and competitive tension between agriculture and energy, Farm Policy Journal, Vol8 N4, Summer 2011, pp51-57

With human population projected to increase to above 9 billion by the year 2050, agriculture faces significant challenges in providing substantially more food and fibre, from an already highly utilised and degrading resource base, while also contributing to production of bioenergy feedstocks to provide substitutes to fossil fuels. There are widespread concerns whether these twin goals are achievable. In Australia, strategic government programs exist or are under development to help the nation’s producers adjust to changing market and environmental imperatives. Market-based mechanisms have more potential to create favourable outcomes than alternate ways of influencing producers who can respond effectively.


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