AUSTRALIAN agribusiness is at the crossroads as farmers battle declining terms of trade.
And according to Senator Chris Back, it is time to develop a peak body embracing all aspects of agribusiness.
Speaking at last week's Farm Machinery & Industry Association of WA (FMIA) annual general meeting, Senator Back said it was imperative the agribusiness industry went to governments with one voice.
"It's the only way you are going to get governments on-side to invest in an industry prepared to put skin into the game," he said.
"But at the moment you have this disparate voice and politicians find it easy to play off each group.
"I think it will rest with young people to knock a few of the older heads together and say, 'we've got do better and we want to speak with one voice'.
"At the moment you have the production sector, logistics, retailers and wholesalers all with different views.
"They need to come together and sort out their differences so there's a single voice that's heard by governments."
Senator Back said one of his priorities was to convince the Liberal finance committee of the need to address farm debt.
"I want to speak with our finance team and discuss creating a scenario where farmers can exit the industry with honour," he said. "And there is a need to look at removing exorbitant costs and penalties that are foisted on farmers struggling with debt.
"We need to rearrange the situation and provide relief to those who want to stay, to ensure agriculture doesn't collapse.
"It can't be a situation of going cap in hand to the taxpayer because they can't afford it.
"We have a $300 billion national debt and we're paying $1b a month on interest payments.
"So we've got to take a national look at this, because it also involves the banks.
"It's not in their interest to see sliding land values and making other farmers less viable.
"But at the end of the day the farmer has got to take some responsibility (for debt)."
Senator Back said he was interested in what he termed, Business Interruption Insurance (BII), as one form of reducing risk.
"It's a standard business practice in many countries to have BII and we have to encourage young people to look at different systems to do things differently in the future," he said.
"But we've got to do a lot more work politically so we've got a level playing field in international markets and we need to do this urgently.
"We can't keep doing what we're doing and any major restructure of agriculture must avoid the situation we are now in."