WAFarmers want one single farm body

26 Feb, 2004 07:00 PM
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A SIGNIFICANT number of WA farmers, currently unaligned with any farmer body, is prepared to join a new farm organisation.

That's according to the results of Farm Weekly¹s farm unity poll, which has been running for the past couple of weeks.

A total of 231 farmers responded to the survey, with 216 (93pc) voting for a single peak farm lobby group in WA.

Significantly, a similar number said they would join the new organisation.

And of this number, 69 (nearly 30pc) claimed to have no affiliation with any agripolitical organisation, yet were prepared to join a new body.

WAFarmers members accounted for nearly 54pc of the vote with PGA members accounting for nearly 14pc. About 2pc claimed affiliation with another agripolitical organisation.

Interestingly, of the 32 PGA members who voted, only 10 voted against forming a new body.

Two WAFarmers members also voted against the proposition.

There were comparatively few farmers under the age of 40 who participated.

Farmers aged up to 40 accounted for only 18pc of the vote, with 31 aged between 31 and 40, 10 aged between 21 and 30 and one under 20.

A total of 22 said they had no affiliation to any farm organisation.

Those aged between 41 and 50 accounted for nearly 30pc of the vote, with 65 voting ³yes² and four voting ³no².

This group also saw 22 farmers nominating no affiliation to a farm lobby group.

The remaining 52pc of the total vote came from farmers aged 50 and over, representing 120 farmers.

Of this number, 115 voted ³yes² to supporting the establishment of a single peak farm lobby group in WA, and 114 said they were prepared to join.

A total of 25 said they had no affiliation to a farm lobby group.

According to PGA meat and livestock committee chairman Dave Roberts, who has publicly supported the push for farm unity, the poll results are reflective of a mood in the bush for better representation.

³There¹s no doubt in my mind that farmers want change,² he said.

³And I think it is significant that a large number of farmers have been identified who have no affiliation to a farm body, yet would be prepared to join a new body.

³That¹s the sort of information that confirms the mood out there.

³I don¹t know where we progress from this at the moment but it¹s a very encouraging result.

³The only disappointment is the low number of PGA members who voted.²

Walebing farmer and PGA central Midland zone vice-president Michael Humphries said the total number of respondents was significant ³considering the number of farmers in the state².

³I¹m delighted with the poll results,² he said. ³It¹s an indication of what I had hoped the results would be.

³To have such an overwhelming proportion of respondents wanting a new farm body and saying they are prepared to become members is fantastic.

³It¹s a vote for common sense.

³I hope both organisations take notice of what their members have said.²

A unified voice was important for the survival of farming, according to Tincurrin farmer Julie Murray (34), who is a current member of WAFarmers and a former zone coordinator.

³The poll certainly confirms that there are a lot of farmers who want to join a farm organisation,² she said.

³I¹ve had a number of people tell me they would join a single organisation.

³Farmers as a percentage of the population are getting smaller and our voice is getting smaller because we are fragmented.

³I think if we had one body more farmers would join because they realise it¹s important for the industry to have a united voice.²

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