THE sad truth is that outside of paying lip-service to clean, green pastures and the joys of feeding Asia, most politicians are hell-bent on letting agriculture find its own way through a quagmire of regulation and bad debt.
About 20 producer representatives, from across the broad range of commodities, met with the main parties and crossbench MPs and senators in Canberra recently before independent Bob Katter tabled a private member's bill demanding legislative changes to establish a reconstruction and development board to remedy the dire situation in which agriculture exists.
While the crisis meetings - which included one-on-one discussions with Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan, Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig and their Opposition counterparts Joe Hockey and John Cobb - presented a cohesive face of agriculture, the Rural Debt Roundtable Working Group is fighting a rearguard action.
Mr Katter's bill assumes the Reserve Bank has the necessary regulatory powers to "accommodate the board and alleviate agricultural debt".
It proposes that, in "circumstances of uncertainty", a sustainable basis for development can be established.
But at a time when the $420-million Farm Finance Package - designed to immediately offer relief to farmers looking at a black hole - is the subject of a spat between federal and state governments, what hope is there in another piece of legislation?
Roundtable working group chairman Rowell Walton made clear the urgency: entire districts in Western Australia are up for sale, reflecting the extent of debt accumulated, at $66 billion and climbing.
He said the Katter bill would enable debt reconstruction and "breathing space" for farmers.
Even if the RBA comes on board and politicians stop their bickering long enough to see clearly that without a viable agricultural industry region Australia will fall over, timing is everything - and that's exactly what farmers haven't got.