Website causes divisions

Let's get one thing straight - this blog isn't a critique of the content of the controversial Wheat08 website.

Depending on your stance on wheat marketing it was either a revelation or heresy, but that's not the issue here.

The issue is how it has been put together and how some people in favour of an open market have decided faceless attacks on WEMA and AWB would be the best way to further their case.

In actual fact it does the exact opposite. By not having the conviction to stand up and claim ownership of the various commentaries on the website, which have clearly taken significant time and effort, those behind the website are opening themselves up to claims of malingering.

It's your website and its a free country - why not have the courage to stand up and identify yourselves instead of hiding behind a veil of anonymity.

The automatic response to the unsourced analysis, whatever the merit, is 'what have you got to hide'?

And what about GrainCorp - who have registered the site? Surely they knew that it was a matter of 30-second search to find out who owned the Wheat08 domain name? Why not come clean from the start.

The wheat industry has been plagued by this Machiavellian attitude for too long - its time for frank and open discourse, not for the cloak and dagger treatment.

As a journalist, of course I acknowledge the need for people to operate off the record in compelling circumstances, but this is not one of them.

I would contend that the stunt has backfired, through no fault of the material itself, but because of this lack of accountability.

Those in favour of free marketing not involved in Wheat 08 must be furious at the chance it affords those in favour of the single desk to take the moral high ground.

I've a simple message for all those involved in the wheat marketing debate - lose the intrigue and let your arguments and facts do the talking.

Date: Newest first | Oldest first

READER COMMENTS

bumpkin
1/10/2007 2:34:01 PM

About your crisis for forward sold wheat. A dairy company in Scotland has claimed force majeure recently, as milk yields are down due to wet, cold summer. They cannot supply enough milk due to adverse weather. I think they have escaped their contract with supermarket.
Peter T
1/10/2007 3:52:10 PM

I feel for the unfortunate farmers who forward sold their wheat at 'Good Prices' earlier this year and now have the double whammy of lack of production and huge price movements against them. It is even more unfortunate that many were led to believe they were 'Good Prices' by a handful of Australian marketing experts spruiking such views as "historically these are excellent prices" when they reached $250/t, whilst at the same time in the US (FEB/MAR)Cargill, Louis Dreyfuss and the USDA were openly stating the price would be MUCH higher and if there were any production issues around the world we would see all time records. The sooner we move away from the backward view of pricing relative to history and start looking at real time and obvious future trends the better our industry will be served. Have you ever seen cars, shoes, advisory services, beer, fuel, clothes, fertilizer or tractors priced based on history. Try offering a price on that basis next time you shop and accept the deserved derision you will receive! Wake up primary producers and only promote a price for your products based on cost of production plus a margin not on "what it used to be".
Julie Newman
1/10/2007 6:26:31 PM

It only proves how desperate WEMA is that they do everything they can to try to shut the voice up rather than address the issues the voice is saying. Wheat 08 is saying what many farmers are saying, but in a very professional manner and Graincorp did what many farmers (including myself) asked them to do ... disseminate information. Where is the information wrong? It has not been revealed, it is only yet another false accusation aimed at those revealing the truth about WEMA's inadequacies and AWB's outrageous service agreement.
gunforhire
2/10/2007 5:22:58 PM

If GrainCorp are responsible for the website, it is only following a tactic used and developed by AWB Ltd over many years. Remember the Single Desk Network and the fact that their media releases and statements were prepared by AWB Ltd staff. That AWB Ltd spent unknown sums of pool equity on its public relations campaign is beyond doubt. Over the years there have probably hundreds of growers flown in to Melbourne to get brain-washed and come back feeling 'special', and saying that any dissident voices would see the light if only they took a few days out to visit the charm school. These prople are a bit quiet now as they recognise they were sold a pup by the the former AWB execs with their $$$$ pay-outs. Over to you !
Max
3/10/2007 7:48:26 AM

Wheat08 is a brillant web site. Australia is a country with free speech. What could possibly be wrong with the opposing side having a voice. Graincorp should have been bold and put their name up in lights and told everybody who they were. They should have been proud of giving discerning farmers much needed infomation. I would be willing to pay a subscription or donate to this wheat08 web site. The reason they did not own up to this web site is because of the political backlash from speaking out against the National/Liberal Party policies. Graincorp was worried about the future ramification. Let's get some facts on the table and do it before this coming harvest as farmers have little money left on the table and need every cent to carry on after this drought. We want a system that gives us the best prices, freedom to choose and knowledge of costs going forward. Single desk will not give us that. A market where I can get the best price is for the betterment of us all.
grain farmer
3/10/2007 6:59:16 PM

If 70% of wheatgrowers support the retention of single desk, why are they not supporting WEMA's voluntary contribution fee?
Grain of TruthRural Press grains writer Gregor Heard on the big issues facing the broadacre farmers today.

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