Keeping ag on trend

Agriculture is innovative, it's collaborative, it's informed and it's open to communication

SPEAKING to producers about the upcoming federal election this week, the common theme wasn't a policy or a party but rather the resignation that agriculture would once again be left off the campaign agenda.

But "agvocates" across the country did their best to rectify this on Tuesday night, when the hashtag AgChatOz was the number three trend nationally on Twitter.

And as AgChatOz co-founder Tom Whitty pointed out, if only Justin Bieber was interested in agriculture, it might have got to number one.

A push to get politicians from all backgrounds involved saw interaction with Greens Party Queensland's Grant Newson, Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie, Independent candidate for Indi Cathy McCowan and leader of the Katter Party, Bob Katter.

Their election-focused conversation was one of the biggest AgChatOz discussions held to date, and demonstrated just how keen the industry is to have a voice this time round.

Opening up markets, improved infrastructure in rural areas and a consistent approach to trade were some of the policy areas participants raised as important to them this election, but few were confident they would be heard.

The question "does rural Australia have too greater expectation of government" was raised with AgChatOz tweeters and the overwhelming response was an industry which no longer expects the government to care - to put it eloquently.

Independent Bob Katter may have put it best when he pointed out that rural Australia today has no expectations - and those expectations have been realised.

VFF Grains president Brett Hosking, however, said he wasn't sure if expectations were too great, or if the industry does not demand enough from its leaders - stand up and be noticed.

Which is exactly what the industry did this week when AgChatOz got trending.

The major parties who will ultimately end up leading our country may not have been involved in the conversation, but the volume of participants and the ongoing discussions with those who were involved, will surely have them standing up and taking notice.

If nothing else, it demonstrates to not just politicians, but the Australian public, that agriculture is innovative, it's collaborative, it's informed and it's open to communication.

Well done AgChatOz - let's keep agriculture on trend in Australia.

A matter of opinionA selection of editorials from around the Fairfax Agricultural Media group covering the issues of the week.


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