Media stunts hang us out to dry

When people were more in tune with the food production cycle, farmers were respected

SINCE when did it become so popular to bash the Australian farmer?

In recent weeks, we’ve had PETA’s disgraceful stunt claiming the shearing of sheep is cruel, there’s been calls to eliminate drought support, along with the continual moaning about the advent of so-called ‘industrial farming’.

The only conclusion I can reach is that the disconnect between the inner city heartlands of protest groups such as PETA and rural Australia has simply grown too great.

Once upon a time, when people were more in tune with the food production cycle, farmers were respected for their role in providing city folk with those most basic of needs - food and clothing.

Connections with the land broke down and people became used to having anything they wanted on a whim at their fingertips.

Well meaning attempts by farmers to re-engage the urban community have created an odd dichotomy whereby farms with a marketable back story attract praise, while the rank-and-file food and fibre producer is left hanging out to dry.

Devotees of the hipster cult love nothing better than a day out in the country purchasing Instagram-worthy heirloom vegetables and heritage breed meat from cute little farmlets within an easy reach of Melbourne.

That’s fantastic for the guys who have created these agritourism opportunities, but unfortunately this support tapers off when it comes to those feeding the vast majority of Australians unable to justify stumping up $8 for a bunch of kale.

Anyone who employs modern farming methods seems to be subjected to castigation for their evil ways from those wise old heads whose sole exposure to the realities of farming comes when they pat the puppies at their suburban farmers’ market.

This school of thought conveniently forgets the fact their comfortable city lifestyle would not be possible without the hard work of the nation’s primary producers.

It’s become so much of the nation’s fabric to have access to cheap and safe food that it has been taken for granted.

Our farming lobbies have been working long and hard to promote the many things Aussie ag is doing right, but perhaps a more blunt message is required.

Everyone needs to eat, so show some respect for those producing it.

Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

is the national grains writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media
A matter of opinionA selection of editorials from around the Fairfax Agricultural Media group covering the issues of the week.


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