Producers need to share real truth about farming

T-shirt could almost be true.
T-shirt could almost be true. Contributed

THERE IS a t-shirt with the words: "Farming noun. (farm-ming) The art of losing money while working 400 hours a month to feed people who think you are trying to kill them.”

This t-shirt message is funny because there is a worrying element of truth to it.

But the majority of consumers aren't this way. They are too busy with their own lives and their own problems.

The real problem is, that it's getting that way, that many have so little idea what's involved with farming, not to know if the shrill few voices condemning farming practice are right or wrong.

It is an imperative for agricultural producers to communicate their story, as any void will be filled by the grossly inaccurate messages from radical animal rights and environmentalist organisations.

It's time that agricultural representative organisations are proactive, and don't just wait to fight from the back foot when another misleading campaign hits the TV screens.

All involved in or interested in agriculture also need to avoid playing the game instigated by these enemies of agriculture.

This can be as simple as the loose use of words, which can be used as a weapon against agriculture.

These are feel good, and/or words that have been developed to command some type of high moral ground.

They often avoid a straightforward definition, thus allowing the goal posts to be shifted.

For a long time a very good example has been the word sustainable. The image was created of a pristine environment and agriculture, an unworthy participant.

Bit by bit the word sustainable has been roped in, and understood to have definitions, that also include social and economic wellbeing.

Australia avoided being hoodwinked into WWF's roundtable for sustainable beef, and the beef industry elected that it has its own authentic account for customers.

As a result an Australian Beef Sustainability Framework has recently been made available for consultation to consumers and interested organisations.

Beef producers owe it to themselves to keep a close eye on this process.

Last week at one of the forums about the meat supply chain, organised by Senator Barry O'Sullivan, I heard, very loosely expressed, the thought bubble that producers have to meet a "social licence”.

We have the New South Wales Premier Mike Baird to thank for giving this undefined concept legitimacy, when a social licence was one of the reasons for banning greyhound racing.

Very quickly this was taken up by radical animal rights organisations, and applied to animal agriculture.

There are organisations by intent, or unintentionally through one-eyed idealism, set on a course to either destroy, or make it very difficult for large sections of Australian agriculture.

Food producers need to stop playing the game, even simple word games, by the radical's terms.

Rather we should demand from government that these radical organisations come under scrutiny, before they have access to government.

These organisations should be by structure, democratic and transparent, and they must be held to account for their words, actions and impacts onto food producers.

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