Drought raises the the hard questions

Like the rest of the world agriculture has a diverse population of people who farm.

For simplicity and this post I am going to put the people in agriculture into five boxes based on the feedback I get from my interaction with the people I have met on my journey. It goes without saying that a Venn diagram would be much more appropriate

  1. Self-absorbed – those who do their own thing and believe Darwinism will decide who survives and who perishes.
  2. Self-promoters who want to save the world
  3. Putting one foot in front of the other
  4. Taking one step forward and two steps back
  5. Move between 2 & 3 depending on their circumstances ( and how much support they garner when they put their hands up to be in box 2)

Coming from a family that for generations has admired the people in box 3 and striven hard to stay there I am definitely an outlier

I am fascinated by, and admire people who want to save the world. I totally understand why they need to be a self-promoter. After all how you can save the world if no-one knows your values and what you stand for and whether you have what it takes to achieve your vision. I also understand why this has to be a team effort and taking people with you is pivotal to success. Realistically how can you build a team if no-one has ever heard of you? Whilst farmers are the ones feeding the world they cannot do this alone and food security is a shared responsibility between everyone along the supply chain.

Farmers in boxes 2, 3 and 5 all tend at some time to suffer from survivor remorse.

Is this good for agriculture as a whole is a question we all need to ask ourselves?

What sort of agriculture sector do we want?

Should farmers like government become devotees of this mantra?

Governments need to commit to a long term reform path that recognises that the primary responsibility for managing risks, including from climate variability and change, rests with farmers. See here

This is something for us all to ponder. For I am afraid that until we answer these questions we are never going to achieve full potential in our agriculture sector.

Equally James Warden makes a very valid point here

People have got to take responsibility of their businesses and not rely on government bailouts. But there are times when there are exceptional circumstances and we are now in exceptional circumstances out here. James Warden

and this from Thoughts from the Midst

I read a comment piece the other day by an economist saying that agriculture isn’t a special case, tourism doesn’t get any special help when they experience a downturn due to the weather. No, that’s true, they don’t. But unlike agriculture, they don’t see their expenses rise, and their income fall, they are a discretionary industry, not the staple provider of the staff of life, they are not personally responsible for the welfare of thousands of living, breathing, feeling animals.
So tomorrow, I’ll get up and do battle again trying to do the best for the animals in my care with the little that I have…. But the Weather Bureau is optimistic again…. surely it will rain soon…..

See just how bleak it is in some parts of the country here via these heart wrenching photos from Latelines Jason Om

“From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot in front of the other. But when books are opened, you discover you have wings” Helen Hayes

Quotation-Paul-Brandt-moon-Meetville-Quotes-241358

See a great blog from Lucy Broad Preparing for drought key to agriculture’s image here