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Is a $100B target for agriculture ambitious enough?

Richard Heath - Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) recently held its first meeting with the new Agriculture and Water Resources Minister, David Littleproud. In this meeting the NFF emphasised the goal for agriculture to be a $100 billion industry by 2030. That target would require another $30 billion to be added to the value of agriculture (including forestry and fisheries) over the next 13 years, a significant growth in output and one that is not going to happen by accident.  View the rest of the post here

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Sidelining regional education is a short-sighted solution

Richard Heath - Monday, January 08, 2018

Is the Western Australian Government cutting its own regional development throat by closing remote schools? View the rest of the post here

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Why farmers don't make 'rational' decisions

Richard Heath - Thursday, December 14, 2017

I discovered the presence of human life in a place where economists thought it did not exist: the economy”. This is how Richard H. Thaler amusingly described the behavioural economics research for which he was recently awarded the Nobel prize for economics. View the rest of the post here

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#glyphosateisvital but do consumers agree?

Richard Heath - Monday, October 23, 2017

In the next few days the European Commission is scheduled to vote on whether to extend the registration of glyphosate, the active ingredient of the worlds most widely used weedkiller, Roundup. If an extension is not approved, it will essentially lead to the banning of glyphosate in Europe. Despite the overwhelming balance of evidence pointing to glyphosate being safe, and essential for many farming systems, it appears that the vote will be going down to the wire in what has become an overly politicised process. View the rest of the post here

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Consolidation limits opportunities for competitive innovation.

Richard Heath - Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Chicken meat producers are facing further consolidation in their industry with the closure of Baiada’s processing plant in Ipswich. The sector is already one of the most consolidated in agriculture with over 70% of the chicken eaten by Australian consumers supplied by two companies; Baiada Poultry and Inghams Enterprises. The producers supplying these companies (and other processors) typically do so under contract growing arrangements. View the rest of the post here

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Policy complacency looks likely to see multi-peril insurance fail

Mick Keogh - Sunday, July 23, 2017

As a looming drought in Western Australia appears increasingly likely to decimate grain production and farm incomes, there is some irony in the lack of enthusiasm shown by governments to firmly establish multi-peril insurance as a preferred option for farmers to reduce drought risk. Just as the first blowfly heralds the arrival of summer, so the first media drought stories inevitably herald demands for drought aid, and it seems governments will once again be caught scrambling for policy responses if current conditions persist.  View the rest of the post here

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Post-truth analysis of big agriculture ignores some hard truths.

Richard Heath - Thursday, July 06, 2017

Post Truth. An increasingly used term to describe modern politics, and one which will also be unavoidable in discussion of agriculture.  View the rest of the post here

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Connectivity, Capability and Commercial reality

Mick Keogh - Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Australian Farm Institute “Harvesting the benefits of digital agriculture” conference held two weeks ago in Melbourne attracted a big crowd of Australian and international participants, which included government ministers, government agencies, agricultural researchers, farmers, technology specialists and potential ag-tech investors. The simple takeout message is that the future of digital agriculture in Australia will depend on the three “Cs” – namely Connectivity, Capability, and Commercial realityView the rest of the post here

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Could farmer data "ownership" kill innovation?

Richard Heath - Tuesday, June 13, 2017

It is hard to discuss digital agriculture without coming across questions about who is benefiting most from the data collected. These questions are leading to a strong focus on farmers “owning” their data. Leaving aside the issues around whether you can actually own data, some of the language that is being used in this debate is running the risk of promoting a scenario that stifles innovation in digital agriculture.
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Farmers have always been Lean and Agile.

Richard Heath - Monday, June 05, 2017

Once again, farmers are the true innovators in the business world. If you have had even a passing look at the new world of technology companies and start-ups you would have seen lots of language about lean business models and agile technologies. This does not mean that you should be skinny and flexible to work in technology but rather refers to a different way of doing business that is starting to grow in popularity and move into the wider economy. View the rest of the post here

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