THE first occasion I met Alannah MacTiernan after becoming WAFarmers president was at a cosy little seminar at the Muresk Institute on regenerative agriculture.
As I had just started I thought it would be pertinent to introduce myself.
Her immediate response rather than "pleased to meet you" was "ah I see you're a denier".
Clearly this was designed to put me back in my box and to get me to shut up as if I were of no consequence to her.
I have a very clear understanding that that is not my role.
My job as WAFarmers president is to represent the views of the majority of the membership and most importantly to try to protect them from unnecessary and unfair regulation by misinformed government and other bodies which affect our membership.
It is not our position to be involved in markets or agronomy which are the domain of the grower groups and the farmers themselves where there is no market failure.
Since becoming the Agriculture and Food Minister there have been a number of occasions where Ms MacTiernan has decided that she knows better than mainstream agriculture and tried to push her belief system on mainstream farmers.
The first of these was when the farmers at a large gathering in Katanning laughed at her when she tried to get us to understand that we need multi-purpose sheep.
Well if Merinos ain't that I don't know what is.
And the farmers upset her because they laughed, knowing full well that we have our Merinos.
They again laughed when she told us we should grow summer crops.
Well, we happen to have six months of drought every year during the hottest months, and only when we have unseasonal rain can we hope to grow year-round pastures.
Her completely irrational approach to the live sheep trade, based on emotion rather than fact, is another area where she is trying to undermine industry rather than support it.
Fortunately we have Premier Mark McGowan who has more than a modicum of sensibility on this issue and contradicted her for the benefit of the industry and the State as a whole.
Her continual push for the regenerative style of farming, to the exclusion of mainstream farming, has been a bugbear for most farmers across the State ever since.
Our chief executive officer Trevor Whittington has continually tried to offer constructive criticisms and point out better ways of doing things rather than continue the never-ending slide in the quantity of money which is getting less - and less available for R&D - even to the point of showing that the $25m for grains R&D is in fact not going to make up for the money that has been gouged out of agriculture.
Along with that Ms MacTiernan is pushing very hard for us to be carbon neutral without taking into consideration that methane is a cyclical gas and we are probably already better than carbon neutral, consigning farmers to be net payers rather than receiving a benefit for actually being the good guys.
There is more than ample evidence and common sense to show we are on the right side of the ledger.
Research from the CSIRO shows that both cropping and grazing embed far more carbon than they emit, but that is conveniently ignored.
Actions by the governments such as Sri Lanka, which decimated its economy in less than 12 months, New Zealand and Canada which are engaging in practices which are little more than wealth redistribution, are based around the same belief systems rather than facts.
The straw that has broken the camel's back has been the comments around foot and mouth disease.
The staff at DPIRD have worked hard for a long time, certainly well before the outbreak in Indonesia, to have planning in place for an exotic disease outbreak.
They continually work with Animal Health Australia with the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA) to make sure that action can be taken immediately should an outbreak occur.
This has all but been completely undermined by the comments by the minster that it wouldn't matter too much as the upside would be cheaper dairy and meat.
Not only is the comment rude and uneducated for an industry that she is supposed to be a minister for, it is completely incorrect.
Under an outbreak, these products would come to a standstill for at least three days.
Milk would be poured down the drain, saleyards and abattoirs halted and products removed from the shelves.
It would make toilet paper seem trivial (which in fact it is).
If any of these things were taken in isolation we could live with it.
In fact mostly we have and quietly laughed at the stupidity and gritted our teeth at the deliberate undermining of our industry.
But the time has come to say enough is enough.
I reached out to the minister on a few occasions to see if she would at least have a conversation about various things to get what would be good for all industry but she has steadfastly refused to engage.
From a minister of the crown who is supposed to be in our court, Ms MacTiernan has failed dramatically and it is time to go.
We need a minister who is prepared to stand up and fight for our industry, not actively undermine it.
Even though there is a massive majority in our State parliament, we still need someone who will stand up and fight for us.
Mr McGowan we need some leadership.
Time for a reshuffle and time for the minister to retire.
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