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Rain generates rural confidence


Widespread rain across the region has boosted confidence in agriculture’s ability to spearhead an eventual socio-economic revitalisation of the region.

Falls at the weekend ranged from about eight to above 33 millimetres, priming much of the Wimmera, southern Mallee and Grampians fringe for an ideal sowing season.

Latest rain represented a seasonal ‘break’ for some or the extension of a statewide break that has allowed farmers to forge ahead with production schedules.

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Victorian Farmers Federation president  David Jochinke said while the rain fell short of immediately alleviating all financial pressures, its generation of confidence provided important momentum.

“The rain has been widespread, which means farmers across the region will put their overall programs into full swing and that means the whole region will benefit,” he said.

“When the industry is moving overall it means productivity and jobs. 

“The flow-on effect is that our communities benefit overall.

“Agriculture is inherently entwined in regional communities, especially in our area. And in farming there are a lot of smiling faces at the moment.”

Mr Jochinke said while there was still a need for favourable seasonal conditions through winter, latest circumstances would suit both grain crops and pasture for livestock.

“This rain has been fantastic. It has given us confidence in the whole industry having a good season, especially on the back of the good last one and considering some people are still recovering from previously poor years,” he said.

“For many it is a chance to get ahead.

“There is still a need for a solid overall season to turn potential into income, that will in turn encourage people to invest into the region but we’ve had a great start. The weather forecast is generally good.

“Who would have thought, especially in the environment we are experiencing at the moment, that farming fortunes would change so quickly.”

National value

Mr Jochinke said it was a good feeling knowing agriculture and primary production represented an area with potential to lead a socio-economy rebound.

He said while annual figures consistently showed the national value of primary production, there was perhaps now a greater general understanding of what it meant to national, state and regional health.

“It’s great to be able to do what we do and the hope is that this acknowledgement might be able to generate greater investment in rural and regional areas,” he said.

“We also want to keep doing what we do without too much interference from regulation or other hurdles. 

“We are a heavily regulated industry compared with other countries yet produce very high standards in food quality and integrity through workforce laws and stewardship.

“Prices for a lot of grains are holding up very well and a lot of sheep and red meats are going quite strongly. 

“This all relies on trade continuing and we can’t forget that we must keep markets happy and trade borders open. 

“This includes trade between Victoria and other Australian states.

“Adaptation to practices and higher levels of hygiene have also kept us open and going.”

Farmers were among many people to closely follow Rainbow Radar data that provided real-time information about the approach, strength, direction and other aspects of the weekend rain band.

For more on agriculture see AgLife, pages 29-38.

The entire April 29, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire April 29, 2020 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!