Farmers across our region, and across the nation, are entitled to take a bow.
They are the ones still rising early to feed and milk animals, plough, irrigate and harvest crops in the field and maintain the food chain we have all come to expect and, at times, to take for granted.
CANEGROWERS Isis manager Angela Williams said she has detected a stronger sense of pride among growers in her region.
“They seem to be standing a little taller and are justifiably proud that perhaps their contribution to the nation is being recognised as an essential service.
“Farmers in general, and sugar producers in particular, have had to battle plenty of negativity, but it is pleasing to see that we all now have an appreciation for what the farming community can do for our country.
“They are working, they are employing, but, most of all, they are producing the things we need.”
Ms Williams said at a local level the district's farmers were buoyed by a great start this year’s sugar cane crop has received through decent rainfall and the availability of out-of-allocation water.
“The rainfall was extremely patchy, but some very useful totals were recorded across the Isis district,” she said.
“The out-of-allocation releases from Paradise Dam to help with volume reduction have been utilised by growers able to access the water. Not every farmer has that capability,” she said.
“However, the availability of the water does create a double-edged sword. While the water is free the cost to get it on to crops via irrigation is not.”
Ms Williams said the estimate for the local 2020 crop will be known about the end of April.
“I think the fact that we have had two seasons of extended drought, farmers will be extremely happy that we are able to produce a crop at all, let alone one that is looking very promising.”
Ms Williams said the optimistic outlook for the 2020 crop was tempered by the uncertainty surrounding the future capacity of Paradise Dam once remedial work to address safety issues was finalised.
Last year the Isis Central Sugar Mill put 971,582 tonnes of cane through its rollers.
Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG) Managing Director Bree Grima said that now, more than ever, food security is of paramount importance.
Region supplies a quarter of nation’s fresh produce
“The Bundaberg Region provides a staggering 25% of Australia’s fresh produce at certain times of the year and is continuing to feed the nation.
“Australia produces far more than we consume domestically which, right now, means communities can feel reassured that farmers have their back.
“We will continue to do what we do best and that is supply clean, green, nutritious food for all Australians.
“There are challenges in the months ahead,” said Ms Grima.
“This particularly applies to those producers that had contracts with businesses that have had to close and also with ensuring we have a secure labour force.”
She said BFVG is working closely with all Departments to ensure agriculture remains a priority and support is in place to assist the businesses participating in the transition of food from paddock to plate.
“I am certain people now have an even greater appreciation of the role farmers, primary producers and everyone engaged in food production is undertaking to meet the essential food requirements of this country.”
She urged that wherever possible locals should support Australian farmers.
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