Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Even the green leaning Australian ABC is concerned about the arrogant ignorance, of Aussie city politicians lecturing farmers how to improve their farms, by letting the weeds grow.
New South Wales Farmers president Derek Schoen said he was “very disappointed” with the Labor environment spokesman Mark Butler’s approach to climate change policy.
“It is, again, sort of demonising farmers as environmental wreckers, which we definitely are not,” Mr Schoen said.
“We have a vested interest in maintaining the environment and our properties in a sustainable manner, and to again be targeted by Labor, it just proves that some within the party are very slow learners.
“I’m not even sure if Mark Butler has actually put a foot on a property to actually see first-hand how farmers operate their properties in a sustainable manner.”
But the Federal Labor candidate for Calare Jess Jennings, an agricultural consultant, said the Nationals were “scaremongering” on the issue.
He said the policy would encourage farmers to look at ways of reaping the financial benefits of carbon farming and protecting native vegetation.
“The reality is that this vegetation-clearing opportunity represents a positive financial benefit that farmers can tap into,” Dr Jennings said.
“Yes, it’s a different mindset, but I think it’s long-overdue that farmers be recognised for the value that they create in maintaining biodiversity and native vegetation, and Labor’s policies will promote that and reward that.”
“When you look at the climate predictions for the central west and the fact that the countryside is going to be getting hotter and drier, I think the last thing that most farmers will be looking at doing is clearing more and more land back to bare dirt.
“The more carbon that you have in the soil, the more protection that farmers are going to have from those hotter and drier climates.”
During the early years of Australian farming, ignorant government policies enforced total land clearance. Soldiers returning from war were pressured into clearing land granted to them under various returned soldier schemes.
The result of course was an ecological disaster.
The farmers who survived those early years learned from the mistakes. Farming in Australia is now an exact science – vast resources are devoted to working out how to minimise ecological damage, while maximising yields. The last thing any owner of a productive farm wants, is to degrade their valuable land into unproductive desert.
For politicians with little to no farming experience, to waltz into this mature industry with their heads full of green ideas, and lecture farmers on what they are doing wrong, harkens back to the political idiocy of the early years of Australian farming, when armchair bureaucrats with no personal stake in the industry dictated what farmers were allowed to do with their land.