I have been talking to a couple of farmers recently, who, frankly are tearing their hair out trying to work out how they can stay in business or alternatively get out with some of their dignity and a few dollars left. Now these guys aren’t your average no-hoper farmers that we’re all told have to go to make way for more efficient and profitable operators. These are hard working, 3rd generation producers who know their trade. A quick look around their farms tell you that they do what they do well.
But as with so many small family enterprises they are been forced into a corner. We’re told that they’re inefficient and behind the times but a few minutes walking around the property tells a different story. Cost of imputs have been rising steadily for years, while farm gate prices have at best stayed static, in many cases farm gate prices have dropped dramatically. Regulation and restrictions have increased, which may not be a bad thing as they are producing food eat.
What does puzzle me though, is while we as consumers are happy for farmers to produce high quality safe to eat food, we expect to buy that food at the same price as cheap imported product from counties who have few if any production standards. It doesn’t seem to concern us that imported products could and I’m sure often don’t comply to the same standards that are applied to our Australian farmers. Of course it won’t be a problem much longer, because we won’t have a choice.