Let's keep the drought conversation positive

Let's keep the drought conversation positive

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The spirit of the outback - the compassion, the courage, the willingness to help a mate in trouble - has been evident on a national scale.

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AgForce CEO Michael Guerin.

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin.

If there has been one good thing to come out of this drought, it is seeing the Australian community get behind its graziers and farmers.

The spirit of the outback - the compassion, the courage, the willingness to help a mate in trouble - has been evident on a national scale.

The public's mindfulness of drought and genuine concern for affected producers and communities is very welcome and greatly appreciated. However, we must be aware of a potential pitfall.

Namely, that in seeking the support of the community and the government for measures to help farmers through the drought, we don't damage confidence in industry.

Because the truth is that, despite how dry it is across most of the state, agriculture has a very bright future.

Talk to the most droughted producer - someone who has completely destocked or not planted a crop in years - and most will say, "Well, it's going to rain some time and when it does we'll be away".

As strange as it may sound, it is critical that we keep the conversation about drought positive.

We must ensure dialogue continues to focus on finding solutions for the future as well as on measures for immediate relief.

Emergency measures like the Farm Household Allowance are essential to ensure as many producers survive the current drought. The Future Drought Fund, derided by some for not being immediately spent on emergency relief, is likewise critically important and will absolutely provide direct benefit to producers down the track.

We also must be careful that in asking for support measures we don't inadvertently give the impression that agriculture in Australia is a basket case, because the truth is, we are still on track to become a $100 billion national industry in a little over a decade.

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