Positive tone in the ag industry
As I drive around the electorate I’m delighted to see most areas are shaping up to have an exceptional season. Even though there is a long way to go I believe farmers are more optimistic than I’ve seen in many years.
It’s the combination of a few reasons: a good season last year, the start of a good season this year, reasonable grain prices (and very good livestock saleyard prices) and also a Federal Government supporting the agriculture industry.
Some of the initiatives we have established since the election include strong support for live exports with the re-opening of the live trade with Bahrain, Egypt and Iranian markets. It is anticipated the value of live animal exports to the Australian economy will again approach $1 billion by the end of 2014.
Just in this year alone free trade agreements have been signed with Japan and Korea, massively increasing market access for agricultural products though initiatives such as removing the 267% barley tariff into Korea.
At present, a free trade agreement is being negotiated with China. When completed, the agreement will open up even greater opportunities in this burgeoning market.
The Australian Government’s Farm Finance program has four measures which aim to assist farm businesses to recover from drought including short-term assistance in the form of concessional loans for productivity enhancement projects or debt restructuring.
After travelling through part of the Wheatbelt recently, hosting three livestock forums, I was able to discuss with people in the agricultural industry what else the Government can do to help them succeed. If you would like to contribute your thoughts please email Rick.Wilson.MP@aph.gov.au.
I wish everyone a successful finish to the season with prosperous times ahead and hope you enjoy the 2014 Newdegate Machinery Field Day.