WA farmers in drought-hit areas have vowed to stay on the land despite a national report which claim

25 Oct, 2006 08:45 PM
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Northampton grower Lindsay Williams is among those outraged by the claims, scoffing at the suggestions that it was a waste of taxpayer money to prop up farmers who hadn¹t properly planned for the drought.

³You have got to be joking,² Mr Williams said.

³I have not heard of any one in this area who is thinking of getting out of farming.

³There may be some people who are but that always happens, in the good and the bad years; it is all part of the evolution of farming.

³These types of problems only make farmers work better.

³It¹s a challenge to overcome the conditions thrown at us but we¹ve been around awhile and we know how to work the land.²

Mr Williams operates a number of farming properties in the heart of WA¹s drought-ravaged northern Wheatbelt, in partnership with his father and his two brothers Greg and Harley.

Drought has forced Mr Williams to cut his sheep numbers back to 25pc of normal level, while his cropping program is virtually non-existent this season.

Like many of his peers in the region, he is currently working for wages on a capital road works project in the area as part of the local shire¹s drought aid program.

WA Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said farmers were in it for the long haul.

³This is an ongoing issue but farmers are not only competing against the elements they are also international competitors,² Mr Chance said.

³If they decide to stay or go or contract or expand, they will make that decision on their own.²

Mr Chance warned against artificial interference.

³As farmers adapt to new technology and science and now farm much larger areas it means that you don¹t have to interfere,² Mr Chance said.

³Farmers are flexible and innovative and WA farmers are without doubt in my mind the best, most scientifically in-formed, flexible and well-educated farmers in the world.

³I have not seen farmers anywhere in the world that come within a mile of our people.²

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