I know many people feel that Zoom dominates their lives these days, but the capability it offers us was made plainly apparent to me last week.
I was able to have a meeting with the Premier to discuss the state's post-COVID economic recovery in between virtual meetings with our newest members, cane farmers in the Burdekin and Herbert regions, AgForce's corporate partners and team members working from home.
The pandemic is indeed a terrible global tragedy, but like most crises, it demonstrates what human beings are capable of when it comes to the crunch.
AgForce is determined to take away as many positives as we can from this crisis to improve the way we operate and represent agriculture - to not just 'snap back' to the way we were before.
I believe agriculture has a similar opportunity - in particular, to be more influential in developing and delivering government policy.
My Zoom (meeting?) with the Premier and her team last week was the first meeting of her Industry Response Taskforce established to guide Queensland's recovery and on which AgForce has a seat at her request.
After some challenging years working with the government, it finally appears that we may have turned a corner.
No doubt, the vital role that agriculture and regional communities will play in the state's and the nation's economic recovery is part of it and this responsibility cannot be overstated.
But perhaps our dogged and determined advocacy for agriculture is finally having an impact on the government's view.
And the timing couldn't be better, with the election just around the corner.
At our initial meeting with the Premier three weeks ago, we advised her to invest in four things that will support the sustainable growth of agriculture and help get the state back on its feet economically:
- Critical infrastructure like roads, bridges, rail, and irrigation.
- Improved management of state land, including weed and pest control.
- Improving market opportunities here and overseas by promoting the quality, sustainability, and availability of Queensland's agriculture products.
- A 'natural capital' market that financially rewards producers who deliver positive environmental outcomes.
It was pleasing to have the Premier's ear and some of her time to advance these issues, and we look forward to further advancing sustainable agriculture at the fortnightly taskforce meetings.