INCREASINGLY one of the biggest hinderances to farming is the battle farmers face with social idealism.
This idealism – which is increasingly misguided in balancing real environmental outcomes with the need for production – is driving what has become a long term trend of painting farmers as the bad guys, and its making farming hard work.
This is most obvious in cases such as recent protests near Lismore, NSW, against the felling of blackbutt timber on
private land, despite it having been managed according to a property vegetation plan for that exact end purpose.
Native vegetation management is an example where the Act has become a tool through which idealists can completely lock up bush, at times even at the expense of any environmental gain.
Many people in society are so removed from the practicalities of not just production, but what a functioning environment actually looks like, they literally can’t see the forest for the trees.
Not enough people realise that by attacking a hard working farmer who has done everything by the book only grows the rift between being able to meet realistic social expectations of sustainability and production needs.
The key is in getting these idealists to realise that profitability and sustainability must go hand in hand.
After all, good environmental management costs money.
If North Coast farmers can’t make money out of managing their timber asset, then they have less money to put back into managing their farm’s longer term sustainability.
With farmers also being the country’s main interface with the environment on a day-to-day basis, undermining their income risks undermining the environment.
What Lismore has is a renewable resource which can help pay for its own long-term survival and in this country we have the opportunity to manage it as such.
Farmers just need more support – not red tape – in managing their landscapes. Most farmers are working to strike a balance because they know if they don’t their business won’t survive.
It’s time the idealists of this world also woke up and realised they need to understand the bigger picture to make worthwhile change.