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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2012
SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2012 37 www.virbac.com.au Customer Support 1800 242 100 At least 91 days protection against Ostertagia and Barbers Pole worm. * Up to 49 days protection against Black Scour worm. * *Against moxidectin sensitive worms costs – findings that have been confirmed by research by the Government’s own ABAR ES. The other major policy that will impact on the profitability and competitiveness of the agricultural sector is of course the Murray- Darling Basin Plan. A report prepared by Independent Economics has found that the proposed Plan is likely to permanently reduce employment by 2,100 jobs and income by $200 million in the south-west Murrumbidgee area alone. The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) continues to lobby hard on both of these policies to ensure the best outcomes for Australian agriculture. Ironically, policies that will severely impact our productivity, our profitability and our competitiveness come at a time when the Prime Minister herself has identified the potential for a new golden era of Australian agriculture and the opportunity to position ourselves as the food bowl for Asia. The Prime Minister is right: there are enormous opportunities ahead. In just eight years time, half of the world’s population is predicted to live on Australia’s northern doorstep, presenting unparalleled opportunities for our farmers. Four billion people across Asia, enjoying economic growth of around 10 percent per year, represent a great opportunity for the Australian economy, especially our farm sector. Australian farmers have a clear competitive advantage due to our proximity to Asia and our clean and natural production systems. But, in order to make this a reality, we need to overcome the challenge of increasing production of food and fibre at a time when we have less arable land, less water and less human resources. To achieve this, we need to see Government policy that enables us to both build and secure our position. Policy to strengthen our biosecurity and quarantine systems; policy that encourages continued investment in agricultural research and development; policy to ensure that our regulatory systems do not hamper the development of new innovations and technologies; policy that helps improve international trade opportunities for Australian farmers and that ensures Government policies on land use changes do not impact future agricultural production. Perhaps most importantly, we need long- term, strategic Government policies that recognise the important role and contribution of agriculture - not short-term politically- driven decisions like we saw in 2011 with the suspension of the livestock industry trade over animal welfare concerns in Indonesia. Continually improving animal welfare is already a major focus for Australia’s livestock industries, but this crisis also drove home the need for our sector as a whole to do more to tell our story and help build understanding about agriculture. In spite of the many challenges facing our sector – the very reason for which the NFF and the Sheepmeat Council of Australia exist – we must remember that Australian agriculture has a very positive story to tell. And 2012 has brought with it a great opportunity to tell this story. The Australian Year of the Farmer gives us a platform to celebrate the important contribution that our sector makes to Australia’s society, economy and environment. Ensuring we are well placed to tell our story and capitalise on future opportunities is the role of the NFF, Sheepmeat Council and the other NFF members. Through our core responsibilities of policy determination, lobbying and advocacy, and ultimately guided by the findings of the Blueprint for Australian Agriculture, the NFF will continue to steer a course for the sector, fighting for the best outcomes for our farmers and ensuring a strong and sustainable future for Australian agriculture as a whole. Jock Laurie PRESIDENT