Grain of Truth
One simple answer to the question is to make sure there are at least two competing grain silo owners at each terminal.
Another is to put the terminals back into the hands of a not for profit operator.
The biggest job now for the Minister and Govt, is to set up the right incentives and legislative framework in which agricultural business, mainly farming, is motivated to grow their industry. That is what Labor failed to do. In fact it was worse than that, Labor pandered to the extremist anti farming minority and failed to unleash the power that farmers have to grow.our export business. Farming needs tariffs on imported inputs removed, tariffs in buyer nations removed, and cuts in the costs of middlemen and local processors, so as to reduce the cost of local food to Aussies.
Agribuzz with David Leyonhjelm
I don't always agree with David but I do on this article.
Free range means nothing in terms of health benefits to the consumer and barn hens are just as well looked after as free range if not better and as an ex poultry farmer I know barn hens are happy hens.
Lets get rid of all the regulations and hype over free range.
Relevant to what bushie bill? Nothing, as usual. But then we have come to expect that kind of hollow irrelevant and logic free nonsense from you. Why spoil your record now.
Those whose best argument is that those with opposing views are uneducated or ignorant, have no argument at all and very likely no education or sense of logic either.
Why don't you look up the total statistics on closures and transfers of jobs off shore, newbroom. Cherry picking is old hat. We are not at record high unemployment by accident. Add to that the record high levels of "Official" welfare recipients and public servants. About 55% of Australians are now on some level of welfare. It is as clear as the nose on your face that we are losing jobs to other countries because employers just can't afford their regulated wages and conditions continuing at such unrealistic levels particularly matched against our relatively low productivity.
The big corporates are going off shore in large numbers to get manufacturing and service work done. The trend is to move existing manufacturing out of Australia, and not the other way around. Anyone saying the opposite mark2 is clearly in denial and probably locked into some weird theory that regulating workers conditions is totally different to regulating other aspects of a market. Such irrational thinkers can only be protecting their own little patch. Funny thing is, those same irrational thinkers are content with deregulation for all but "their own camp" & good at spending others money.
Rob, have you ever heard of companies that start up and go out backwards? I suggest to you that hundreds do that monthly. Co-ops are no more or less immune than companies to that outcome. Have a look at the ones that have succeeded. CBH WA, Murray Goulburn, Norco, are just a few shining examples to prove how successful they can be too. No business venture is easy but if that is understood and fierce determination exists, history shows even the "impossible" can be achieved, but not by the faint hearted or small minded and selfish. That is why NZ is fighting above its weight. It has a go.
David, you devote 7/8 of your article to nonsense about external cheer leaders and the hand over taxpayers money to farmers. The first issue is irrelevant and the second is virtually non existent. You are subsidized very heavily with taxpayer funding & so far seem to have done BA to justify it. The closest you have come to doing anything is to talk some key issues in your 2nd & 3rd last paras. What about a Bill to attack the issues like labor & RE regulations just for a start. Blind Freddy can see they are our 2 urgent problems, and the best you can do is a few words at the end. Do something.
David, after you get the real economic problem of Australia sorted out in line with you free market ideology, then farmers will be happy for you to dribble on about your beloved free market. At present farmers are forced to take the lowest global price for their produce but are forced by our Government to pay highest global input and supply chain costs. Your taxpayer guaranteed parliamentary salary is part of that system. You get that regardless of your performance for 6 years plus perks. Remember that.
David, you comment on "Australia being a high cost country", including "high taxes, labour costs and inflexible rules, and intrusive environmental rules". I Agree. You then write off your own comments by saying Australia is not unique in this category. What you fail to acknowledge, though, is that our main competitors, USA and EU, compensate their farmers for these impediments, via various multi billion dollar Government subsidy programs. Only our farmers are expected to carry the full burdens which are shared with taxpayers in USA & EU and elsewhere. Domestic reform is needed, urgently. C'mon
Are you getting the message, David?
Get off the farmers' back and put your priorities in line with your stated philosophies. Attack the regulations put in place by the Government, to benefit the non business sector which are paid for by business. Start with the ridiculously inflated and suffocating Industrial Awards regulations. Nothing is strangling our ability to compete globally more than those regulations. Earn your pay and get on with the highest plank of your election campaign, instead of playing games.
It is obvious that Australian wealth creating industries, like agriculture, horticulture and livestock production, have shrunk and/or disappeared over the last 50 years. At the same time imports of food and fibre products from overseas has increased largely, despite the fact that our producers have constantly increased productivity. At the same time costs of production here have risen at largely Govt guaranteed/regulated rates. At the same time overseas Govts have subsidized food production and encouraged farming. NZ does, but Australia does the opposite. Dumb!
Cocky, good answer to Taxpayer. Easy to be judgmental, but also easy to be ignorant. Urban dwellers receive huge subsidies from Govt every day. Take bus/train commuters who travel at well below cost of the service. Take all the award based employees, and public servants who get pay and conditions set artificially high and totally unlinked to the same global market place into which farmers produce is sold daily at lowest global market prices. Farmers get their labor paid for at real, unsubsidized rates. Some years farmers make a loss and therefore get little or nothing for their labor.
Joel, if your focus truly is farm gate profitability, why have you never done anything about the impost of artificial labor costs on farm input and supply chain costs?Australia has deregulated commodity markets which imports global lowest prices for all farm income, but has a highly regulated and high cost subsidized labor market which flows through to all aspects of business costs and is capable of being dealt with by Governments. As long as it is not dealt with, we will continue to export jobs and export income overseas. Your Party is in fact to blame for labor subsidies.
trigger, lets take Bill Gates just as one example from your list. Is he alone today? No Microsoft is a huge group. Why is that? Farmers can do all they like alone on their farms, but just like Bill Gates, once he started to need the rest of the world to buy his product and support his activities, he put a team together. Have a look at the successful business's today like Wesfarmers, ADM, Cargill, Woolworths, etc. Are they alone? No. They are huge groups of people. all working to one agenda. Emerald had to sell out to Sumitomo because it was too small to go on. THINK trigger.
Hopefully, now that we now have an adult Government in Canberra, we can start to deal properly with these animal terrorist maniacs?
A matter of opinion
One thing your article does do Andrew Norris, is point out to the handful of farmer haters and whiners on this web site, that the urban, non farming citizen gets plenty in the way of assistance from Government. It also highlights that farmers certainly get no help with insurance while the general public does via health, social security and motor vehicle. But we do note that those who choose to label the farmers with such
childish tags as rara's, agsocs and hands out types, have nothing in the way of logic in their spiteful rants anyway.
Good article Andrew and fair comment by Sam Trethewey.
It mystifies me why our Government has not taken initiatives like the NZ Government and mystifies me even more, why our farm leaders have not agitated for some action to encourage collective bargaining and vertical integration, along the lines of Fonterra, for our farming commodity marketing and handling.
If it is the norm for the international mega trading conglomerates, surely someone must be asking why it is not even more necessary for our farmers? How is it that people on farms and in Government ignore the obvious?
warrumbungler, Yes, correct. I agree that too many executive salary packages are way over the top too. Not sure how you attack them however as they are reportedly market based or supply demand based! Clearly a lot of Boards or Authorities that sign off on the executive salaries have a lot to answer for.
Australia has for far too long, turned a blind eye to our burgeoning internal subsidy system of industrial awards. If we couldn't see it before, surely the departure of so many major manufacturers from Aust in recent years must now highlight our failure to compete on international or domestic markets because of our subsidies to labor. Our meat (processing) industry is just another casualty. While removing industrial award regulations may not totally fix our industry, there is certainly no reason why it should not be reformed so at least we can stand a chance of competing.
Burrs under my saddle
I admire you for tackling this hoary chestnut Peter. You make a lot of good points for us to ponder. However, I feel a bigger issue that needs tackling first is the anomaly that farmers are forced to take fully deregulated prices for their produce sales while being forced to pay regulated costs for input and supply chain products and services. It is only fair and just that they be freed of this anomaly by some mechanism. That would increase farm gate profits and go along way towards paying off bank loans quicker and easier.
Probably one of the most sensible and educational articles written anywhere of late, Peter.
I particularly welcome your explanation of needing to measure your economic health via GNI rather than GDP. It is no different to a household is it? While your income is growing faster than your expenditure, your assets are expanding. So, as you say, getting someone else to wash the car that you usually wash yourself is reducing your wealth, by giving away some of your current assets.
Well written Peter M. I agree violently with your point about our failure to recognize that no FTA we ever entered into or any other of our negotiations have ever altered other Nation's subsidy approach to their own farming sectors. We have even reduced our farm produce access and farmers terms of (global) trade to markets via FTA's in favor of non farm products. Sheer blindness or ignorance or both. Surely at some stage our Govt's will see because we are on the verge of having no locally owned farming industry otherwise. Then there is local regulation and awards killing every business.
You are spot on about the main focus being on farm gate profitability Barry. Also spot on about the lack of a unified farm lobby being a major issue. Because farmers are so fiercely independent thinkers, and so competitive by nature, they tend to be their own worst enemies when it comes to industry unity. Most do not realize that it is not their neighbor they need to compete hardest against but that their biggest "enemies" are governments, the input suppliers, the supply chain businesses and middlemen all taking too much of a slice of their pie. That is where a united lobby group is missing.
WTF, you ask a good question right at the end. How do you, the banks or anyone, know for sure in advance, if people have no chance of meeting commitments?
I have no doubt, the Banks are reaping "excessive" profits and will do all they can to protect that status. Isn't it more up to the legislators to set better rules in the finance game so that just like in sport, all players have a better chance of helping the team to win? In this case, the team is Australia. Instead of just a favored few getting all the spoils, we need better rules and maybe better refs too?
A jaundiced interpretation of the AWB single desk marketing system by someone who was still just a kid, by the time the AWB had been in place 50 years, PAYG. Not sure what your point is? It appears to have little to do with the debate we were having about the benefit or otherwise of the AWB Single Desk system, or when it was put on the skids. The fact still remains that, when SD was cancelled, it increased the number of export sellers here from 1 to some 30,000. At the same time there was little change to the number of end user clients for our wheat. Goes against all good marketing sense.
You have now confused even yourself PAYG. I claimed all along that the Govt deliberately plotted the downfall of the AWB Single Desk. They started that process in the 1980s/90s. With or without the WIF Levy issue you bang on about, Govt could not care less for the SD.
In one comment you state opposition to Government involvement in industry. Then in another, (to Dalby), you say you supported the single desk for wheat before WIF. So in one statement you support Govt involvement in industry and in another, you oppose it. Haven't you contradicted yourself old chap?
You can fluff around reality and pick out details as much as you like PAYG, but you are in denial if you believe the Government killed the Single Desk by accident. They succumbed to pressure from the US Administration going as far back as the 1980s/90s to lead the way in deregulating world trade. So when they finally pulled the pin in 2007, they finally fell for the US 3 card trick, leaving US farmers totally protected with multi billion $ safety nets and subsidies, while Aussie farmers were divided, disorganized, and out in the cold. The rest were just steps along the way.
If you think you know everything PAYG, why are you continuing to make a fool of yourself?
PAYG, your use of the word tax was misleading. Tax is what we pay to the Govt to do what they will with. That levy was agreed to by growers as a contribution to their Single Desk system being maintained in the face of growing Govt attempts to kill off the SD, as I pointed out. Using that point to put down the massive benefit of grower marketing power via the SD system is clearly erroneous. We are now 25,000 tiny growers pitted against a handful of mega corporations and O/S Govts in a corrupt world grain market. Sheer destruction by 1000 cuts, as seen by halving grower numbers and going down down.
PAYG, How much tax did the AWB eat then? Tell me that fact please, if you have any idea?
PAYG, Since you are suggesting others are idiots, how is it that when faced with the relevant facts, you have not even laid a glove on them. Instead you present an incoherent rant. What is your problem?
You are the one telling the b/s stories PAYG.
The wool reserve price scheme was not Government inspired. It was woolgrower inspired. The Government just did what the wool growers asked. It was pure greed by the leading wool growers that held the price up for too long in arrogant denial of market forces. The Government only stepped in when it became clear that the wool growers had lost the plot.
It was the Govt shooting holes in support of the Single Desk, from 1988 onwards, that led to the weakening of the AWB and its eventual demise rather than the ASX listing event.
Out of the shadow
On this rare occasion I agree with you Hydatid.
I am in violent agreement with you "Just another farmer".
Hilda Hereford, I am another like Jock Munro who believes Barnaby Joyce is one of our best ever Agriculture Ministers and I know plenty of others who agree. As for newbroom his rants say more about his/her own shortcomings than about our honest and gutsy Jock Munro.
When are people going to wake up to the fact that they cannot just rip away the legitimate equity and assets of established infrastructure businesses by changing the rules retrospectively to pander to the minority, selfish and myopic radicals.
Boris and Deregulate are obviously not farmers. Which farmer in his right mind would knock back Government capital for the rail infrastructure for when farmers have paid hundreds of millions of dollars for years in fees towards. It is an over due and under funded return if we ever get it. Torobrook is obviously happy to get the benefit of all the money from the national pools which CBH got to build their mighty infrastructure in the 1900s, but now too greedy for others to get any funding. Pretty low standard of argument.
Jon Niven, it would appear you do not know what your point is?
Capitalism is great but so is AFL and the Melbourne Cup; but they have rules in those businesses to ensure that no one operator can constantly stomp all over the other side. We need the same in the supermarket business. The latest action against Coles is just one step in a journey of 1,000 steps. Let us keep going till we get it on a fair and equitable footing.
What is your point exactly?
The only principle BB follows is irrationality or the logic free principle. What more could we expect from a hater of Australia's most consistent wealth creating industry for centuries, farming.
Yes Jock, it is not just that our Government encourages our businesses to be sold out to foreigners, it is that they encourage it, knowing full well, it is done using the very Government interventions and support systems they forbid in Australia. It gets worse. The Australian governments intervene to force local businesses like farmers to foot the welfare bill within the highly regulated industrial award system, the native flora and fauna acts, OH&S, Insurance, and so on. Yet under the China FTA it will allow Chinese investors to by pass these regulations. It is treason.
Very good thinking Ms Gartmann, However being more efficient and productive in the farming operation without changes to the input and supply chain costs and off farm infrastructure, will still hold back our local farmers from building the capital to match it with the big foreign corporates. This is because until we can get profits from farming up with other investment businesses, their wont be enough capital generation to keep attracting the investment necessary, by Australians in particular. Go with your ideas by all means but don't forget to deal with the inflated regulated labour costs!
The biggest single problem with the native flora and fauna regulations against farmers is inequity. Clearing for urban residential purposes results in clear felling with no imposition on residents to provide habitats for native flora or fauna. In fact the habitats are basically destroyed by urban residents. Yet rural land owners are expected to provide habitats for flora and fauna which those in urban areas have destroyed. Rural land owners must do this all at their own expense. Despite the fact that they paid full price for their land for food production. This is inequitable & unfair.
Yes Jock you are correct and they are the extreme right of the Liberal Party at that.
What terrible news. But how often does this happen in grain seasons. Hopefully none of those affected have taken the advice of the reckless deregulation propagandists and forward sold to the extent that they cant now deliver on their contracts.
Now Mario Munro just proves that Jock Munro knows what he is talking about and those traders claiming to farmers or pretending to be speaking out for farmers are just hot air.
Mug, it will also be fatal for too many Australian farms regardless of how clever some of them think they are at taking on the multi national corporations and foreign governments.
It is pretty damning evidence that of all the once great primary industries in Australia, apart from sheep meat, the one standing up is grains which was built up during a clever regime of grower unity and control. 95% of todays infrastructure, quality control and standards, was established during that period of 60 odd years. That is the only reason it has not totally disappeared off the landscape like many others.
Graydon, the way you talk about Investment in this article, would have the unwashed believe hat Broadbent Grain have added infrastructure to our system. On closer inspection, all they have done is taken over existing infrastructure. That does not add infrastructure or competition does it, it only replaces one operator for another. Let us not get too carried away hey chaps.
Jed and Jock Munro are the only sincere growers and straight honest posters on this topic. The rest are clearly paid or unpaid mouthpieces for International Traders who (unlike CBH) will always put their own profits above growers interests.
When the mega merchants have lined their pockets with our gifted stupidity and we have declined back to a tiny domestic industry maybe the likes of toro and d8 will be wake up to reality. The party will soon be over.
PayAttention, what's your point?
PayAttention and Independent farmer, you are both incorrect in fact and your assumptions can not be proven because you will never have the two systems operating in parallel.
While you may be seeing more buyers now, it does not mean they were never there. The AWB was dealing with them on farmers' behalf. What we now have is an extra 25k of Aussie sellers with same number of buyers. Logic says you are wrong and the fact that USA & EU both need to heavily subsidize their grain growers for them to survive with deregulation is the crunch point. Remind yourself that you are a minority view also.
Australia has the most inflated regulated industrial award and environmental systems in the world. These two systems, which are charged out to all businesses in Australia, are grossly under estimated in the level of damage they are doing to local business, (like farming), They raise all costs in all inputs and supply chains and in infrastructure upgrades. This is inequitable and unsustainable for Australia competing in unregulated global markets. We are giving away our assets by trying to survive on unregulated global incomes while paying inflated regulated costs which our competitors don't.
I know nothing about the risk management skills of Mr Dixon. What I do know is that farmers in general in Australia, are forced to pay input and supply chain costs inflated by local rules and regulations which make it heaps more expensive than the costs of overseas competitors and yet are left at the mercy of global rates of pay for their produce. The Govt and the public of Oz cant have it both ways. Farmers are not demanding any assistance from the public, but are certainly entitled to demand removal of the welfare they are forced to pay out. Change this and bank foreclosures diminish.
Logic says Jan Davis of TFGA is on a real issue here. In addition to biosecurity, there is also the human health issue. Aussie food producers are extremely heavily regulated as regards any herbicide and pesticide applications and very restricted in access to chemicals. This costs us dearly. It is logical and absolutely equitable, that no food products be allowed in under any less strict health regime, or it makes a mockery of the regulations on us. It is also a de-facto financial penalty on the viability of local farming industries.
Qlander, very succinctly put. But don't expect Bushie to applaud your absolute astuteness when that insight in any way exposes the weak flank of his beloved left wing money wasters.
Poor viability is always a combination of factors bushie bill. Currency is a part, but remember most of our inputs like fertilizer, machinery, chemicals, etc are imported, so a low A$ means higher costs too. Labour is undoubtedly a big factor because it is built into every input and supply chain cost we and our buyers face, so it comes out of our farm gate return at every turn. If it was not for farmers families carrying out most if not all the labour tasks on farm, at hourly rates well below the minimum wage, and our high output per man hour, Aussie farmers would have disappeared years ago.
Bushie, I admire your passion for the working man. They are lucky to have such a Union doyen in their corner. I and 99% the Aussie farmers I know are also working men and women. You misunderstand me. I have never seen "another Australian as simply a means of production to be exploited". It would be nice if we could go on paying such inflated regulated rates. In case you haven't noticed, we are now priced out of global markets and are losing employers every day as a result. Something has to give, if we are to save any Aussie assets for Aussies.
The fact that Aussie farmers are maintaining a competitive position in global agriculture, while paying the highest input and supply chain costs; and in the face of all their exporting competitors being heavily subsidized by their taxpayers, (unlike us) is all the proof needed to show we are the most highly productive in the world. We and other local businesses could be even more productive and competitive if the rest of Australia stopped burdening us with the welfare component of the inflated regulated industrial awards system which is non market related.
@Archibald, I do not agree. Good Ministers are a bit like good referees. They are better if they don't interfere too much. Joe Ludwig by comparison, interfered far too much, and left a multi $billion disaster to clean up.
Barnaby is much wiser to take his time to make reforms than to just rush in and make knee jerk changes. He has opened the door for all views and his next step is to collate and assess them. All sounds fairly wise to me. Did you make a submission in the first round Archibald? Having seen the outcomes, will you present your arguments to the second round? If not, why not?
The people on this site blaming Barnaby Joyce for the mess they are in are no different to the ones who blamed John Kerin for the hole the graziers put their wool reserve price in many years ago. It is primary producers who need to lift their sights and get together and take action on the real problems together because no other sector will and no Minister can undo the ailments of an industry divided or blind to the real problems it faces.
As Jan Davis rightly says, farmers have lost their share of the global consumer dollar to those who are better organised. We need to get better organised.
Torobrook, for once we agree.
Qlander and Inverell, I think you sum up the behavior of our loonie fringe animal activists very well and your remedies are a very fitting response
Congratulations to the two National Party Senators, McKenzie and Back, on the Bill they introduced and got passed through the Senate. The Greens minority opposition to it show just how hollow their public campaign, to be seen as supporters of farmers is. They would shut us down tomorrow if they had the numbers. They are fakes. Thank God for The Nationals.
Archibold, I am sympathetic to the issues outside of your control which you mention. I think you misread what I say however. There has never been any form of cooperative marketing of beef by producers, as
the Commercial Beef cattle production sector has traditionally shunned that kind of unified marketing power or economy of scale, to counter the market power of the processors.
The beef cattle industry, more than any other agricultural industry has remained the most ardent supporter of market deregulation and individualism. Interesting that it has also been the most financially stressed of all farm industries for many decades.
Boonah Bob is the one here making real sense on this question.
Facts are that our farmers have no alternative but to sell to the highest bidder, no matter what origin that buyer has. After all, the Government feels happy to let this happen, while taking a much more protective view of labourers, and stupidly burdens farmers and all businesses with economic and social regulations until they are so unprofitable they have no choice but to cash out to whoever pays. Farmers alone will keep doing so until Govt wakes up or it is too late and we are all tenants/servants in our own home.