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News from the NFF 2016 Congress

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image courtesy of NFF

The National Farmer’s Federation (NFF) 2016 Congress recently concluded and it was a colourful affair.

According to Weekly Times, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce gave a rousing speech regarding the state of Australian agriculture and how telecommunications can help further the industry. He covered many topics, among them the water buybacks in the Murray Darling Basin, carbon tax, live export ban, South Australia’s power policy, Queensland’s federal funding for water infrastructure and Victoria’s desalination plant.

However, Labor Party’s Joel Fitzgibbon decided to not get back with Mr Joyce and instead, called for bipartisanship when it comes to addressing the issues in Australia’s agriculture industry.

He clarified his stance on the farming community and that he loves farming families, but added, “I’m not content with their losses and low profitability. I believe they can do better. I want them to do better.”

According to Mr. Fitzgibbon, the Productivity Commission figures showed that the bottom 25 percent of the broadacre farms have not garnered a profit for 30 years – something that must be addressed hand in hand by both parties.

Aside from the discussions, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) announced a proactive partnership with JA Zenchu, a Japanese agricultural organisation. Both parties will be working on a series of collaboration project that aim to tie up networks and link up innovators that will mutually benefit both organisations with their agriculture projects geared at sustainability.

“This project aims to create networks that link innovators in the Australian and Japanese agricultural sectors,” NFF President Brent Finlay said as stated in the website.

“Both Australia and Japan define themselves through their iconic rural landscapes but demographic changes must be addressed.”

Finlay also noted the demographics that Australian and Japanese farmers share wherein the farmers in both countries are ageing and are a decade older compared to the current workforce comprising of their respective countries.

As a solution, the NFF and JA Zenchu are exploring the adaptation of technology for solutions to help farmers sustain production and profitability.

“Japan is a world leader in drone technology to distribute fertiliser and to plant rice crops, while Australia has rolled out new tools to enable precision agriculture. Innovative collaboration between the Australian and Japanese agricultural sectors could lead to outreach, engagement and education to drive future agricultural growth in both countries.

“We are delighted this project will bring together the peak representative bodies for agricultural producers in Australia and Japan,” Finlay added.

Innovation and the application of the National Broadband Network’s new satellite internet launched alongside the government, the private sector working hand in hand and private initiative, the country’s agriculture industry will finally get the innovation it is aspiring for.





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image courtesy of NFF

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