Newsletter Archive

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Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 17 No. 2 - May 2020

Emerging policy responses to COVID-19 impacts on Australian agriculture, May/June 2020 Insights discusses ag policy and COVID-19. Richard Heath asks: 'What happens next?' Turlough Guerin, Ag Institute Australia Chair, looks at supply chains. Rob Gordon, CEO Sunrice, and Emma Germano, producer and VFF Vice President, offer their views on policy and ag sector impacts from COVID-19. Questions cover consumer behaviour, food shortages, sector impacts and more. Katie McRobert looks back 10 years to the first John Ralph Essay Competition which explored agriculture's capacity to buffer economy against shocks. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 17 No. 1 - February 2020

Getting better will not be good enough – The wicked problem of biosecurity. Over the past 30 years, Australian seafood industries have been devastated by a steady march of disease outbreaks, often with little or no warning. Given the absence of effective barriers for disease containment in freshwater and marine environments, how can one establish a “firebreak” when an exotic virus or a pest gets in the ocean? Melinee Leather and Paul Zalai give their views on current threats to our biosecurity. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 16 No. 4 - November 2019

Evidence matters: 15 years of farm policy – the November feature article reflects on 15 years of the AFI. This edition also highlights discoveries from the Australian Agriculture Roundtable on the theme of Valuing Agriculture’s Natural Capital; showcases AFI research on alternative proteins in the pipeline; and AFI Research Fellow Fiona Dempster provides her insights on 'Farming the environment'. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 16 No. 3 - August 2019

Reorienting animal agriculture in Australia. Australia is great at animal agriculture. Between our past history of ‘riding on the sheep’s back’ and being amongst the greatest beef exporters in the world, we know how to do it well. The global population continues to rise and continues to generate greater demand for animal agriculture through a rapidly expanding middle class in many parts of the world. The climate seems inevitably to be shifting as well, making our agricultural lives more difficult. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 16 No. 2 - May 2019

Weathering the new storms: risks and culture in agribusiness. Zara Lowien and Noel Baxter give their views on the MDBP. Of the many "us versus them" frames often triggered in agriculture, one of the most divisive is "farming versus the environment". Irrigated agriculture is currently facing significant public scrutiny. Teresa Fox joins the Australian Farm Institute research team. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 16 No. 1 - February 2019

From sheep’s back to moonshot: meeting the 2030 targets. Fiona Simson and JP van Moort give their views on the viability of NFF's vision for Australian agriculture reaching $100 billion by 2030. Determining the value of blockchain for agriculture. Six years after the historic Murray-Darling Basin Plan was finally agreed, two major reports released in January have dragged water management squarely back into the political spotlight. Dr Samuel Admassu joins the Australian Farm Institute research team. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 15 No. 4 - November 2018

A new climate for drought policy development. Pete Mailler and Michael McCormack discuss drought resilience and preparedness. There is an ever-growing divide between voters on the ground and their representatives encased in the ‘Canberra bubble’. Research into risk management systems in Australian agriculture. The imbalance between consumer perceptions and the reality of farming practice and the need to create best-practice evidence-based agricultural policy for Australian farmers were the focus of the Institute’s annual Roundtable. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 15 No. 3 - August 2018

Growing collaboration and innovation within rural research and development. Garry Goucher from Garry Goucher & Associates and David McKeon from GrainGrowers discuss the continuing relevance of RDCs; determining the right to farm; China’s ‘digital journey’ into high value markets; and is the divide still dividing us? (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 15 No. 2 - May 2018

Why farmers must be involved in the animal welfare policy environment. Heather Neil from RSPCA Australia and David Jochinke from the VFF discuss Australian farm animal welfare practices and how farm animal welfare should be assessed; agricultural statistics; high value export markets push focus to provenance; and welfare concerns divide perception from reality. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 15 No. 1 - February 2018

Opening the GATE: Moving R&D into the future. David Littleproud and Joel Fitzgibbon discuss the key issues for ag in 2018; agriculture and energy pricing; future workforce captures Roundtable attention; anti-GM logic doesn’t add up; social media skyrockets, and staff update. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 14 No. 4 - November 2017

‘Owning’ the value chain: Agriculture in the Asian century. Josh Frydenberg and Mark Butler discuss Australian agriculture’s role in future greenhouse emission reduction policies; also risk in Australian agriculture; strong public R&D systems grow private-sector R&D investment; hype and misinformation feed artificial meat story. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 14 No. 3 - August 2017

Using agricultural land for utility-scale photovoltaic solar electricity generation. Senator Janet Rice and Senator David Leyonhjelm discuss the main reasons that Australian farmers have experienced such significant increases in their energy costs; and current debate about insufficient public investment in ICT infrastructure in rural and regional Australia. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 14 No. 2 - May 2017

Australian agricultural trade and the populism of protectionism. Andrew Broad MP and Cathy McGowan AO MP discuss whether the minor political parties are good for the bush; collaboration key to effective RD&E; the future of energy policy in Australia; and will glyphosate kill you? (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 14 No. 1 - February 2017

IoT in agriculture – how is it evolving and which policy areas need addressing to facilitate its uptake. David Lamb from UNE and Tim O’Leary from Telstra discuss digital agriculture and connectivity; unlocking the economic potential of digital agriculture; is your farm business investment ready?; and policy success fails to be newsworthy. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 13 No. 4 - November 2016

Is the Black Sea a dark cloud over Australia’s grains industry? Recent research reports from AEGIC examine the grains industry in Ukraine and Russia; main players in what is known as the Black Sea region. Also, Dr Peter Stahle (ADPF) and David Basham (ADF) answer questions about the dairy industry, following a very tumultuous year. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 13 No. 3 - August 2016

The impact on Australian agriculture of Britain leaving the EU. Jaimie Lovell, NSW Farmers’ Association, and Roger Fletcher, Fletcher International Exports, give their views on the potential of inland rail. Biosecurity risks increase as Australian agriculture moves into premium markets, and beware the statistics in media reports on land clearing. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 13 No. 2 - May 2016

Graduate supply for agriculture – a glimmer of hope. David Williams and Tom Howard on the advantages and disadvantages of agricultural cooperatives; danger for agriculture when media can’t tell the difference between ‘advocacy science’ and ‘real science’; an absence of clear targets still hinders the work of many advocacy groups; and enhancing private-sector agricultural RD&E investment in Australia. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 13 No. 1 - February 2016

Some implications of the Paris climate agreement for Australian agriculture. Brent Finlay and John Connor see opportunity for Australian farmers from Paris Conference; the competitiveness of the Australian livestock export industry; research highlights trends in the use of private advisory services by Australian farmers; and productivity is put at risk when marketing values consumer whims over science. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 12 No. 4 - November 2015

Big data and the future of farming. Also, beef the big mover in Australian agricultural trade; be wary of simplistic indicators of ‘competitiveness’; judging the potential or pitfalls of digital agriculture for Australian farmers; and no case for zero tolerance in Marsh vs Baxter. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 12 No. 3 - August 2015

Look over the grain fence: greener on the other side? Also, has the Murray-Darling Basin Plan delivered on its promises?; the optimal level of RD&E expenditure for the agriculture sector; and the role of a national brand play in the transition from a plain old commodity exporter to a more innovative consumer product exporter? (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 12 No. 2 - May 2015

Australian farmers could remain years behind global peers due to NBN delays. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had access to a seamless flow of information via the internet. Whether you worked in a metropolitan area or a remote farming region, the software or data needed to keep your business running efficiently could be downloaded quickly and affordably. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 12 No. 1 - February 2015

Australian agriculture’s never-ending quest for ideal drought policies. Drought policy has vexed Australian policy-makers and farmers for the past 100 years - yet despite seemingly backward steps, there are signs that drought policy reforms are slowly resulting in better outcomes... (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 11 No. 4 - November 2014

Time to rethink farmland environmental policies: According to scientists and environmental groups, the current environmental policy settings in Australia are inadequate to prevent accelerating and irreparable damage to the environment. If this is correct, then perhaps it’s time to consider a radically different set of policies, and not more of the same. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 11 No. 3 - August 2014

Australian farm businesses could do better with different funding models. Will a drought of funding be the biggest future challenge for Australian farmers? Christopher Pyne and Kim Carr on whether deregulated uni fees disadvantage agriculture; and eating less meat will not result in less greenhouse emissions, despite official emission account numbers. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 11 No. 2 - May 2014

The challenges associated with accelerating agricultural productivity in Australia. Also in this edition: Jackie Healing and Sharman Stone discuss country of origin labelling; will agriculture attract suitable future capital?; AFI is developing an Australian agricultural trade database; and  the myth of the ageing farmer. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 11 No. 1 - February 2014

Australia has an open door for foreign investment, but voters hold the keys. Barnaby Joyce and Joel Fitzgibbon provide opinions on the Agriculture White Paper – timely or time waster? Findings on the effectiveness of advocacy groups; FarmGAS calculator upgrades; and upcoming Institute events. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 10 No. 4 - November 2013

Questions are now emerging about Australia’s agricultural R,D&E system's capacity to continually improve productivity, profitability and competitiveness. November Insights includes: an upgrade of the AFI FarmGAS Calculator in the pipeline; research examining agricultural advocacy in Australia; the launch of a Newsroom on the AFI website; and the Hon Brendon Grylls MLA and Senator Rachel Siewert examine northern Australia’s potential as a future food bowl. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 10 No. 3 - August 2013

Australia risks missing a big livestock export and animal welfare opportunity. August Insights, finds opportunity for leadership from Australian livestock industries; explores ways for farm lobby groups to improve their effectiveness; and Bill Shorten and Eric Abetz discuss workplace relations and competitiveness in the food processing sector. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 10 No. 2 - May 2013

Does proximity to Asia breed complacency for agricultural trade? May Insights explores the projected boom in Asian middle-class food demand, and examines CSG facility approvals; transparency in the retail food supply chain; and AFI plans for an online Australian agricultural trade portal. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 10 No. 1 - February 2013

Farmers are awesome, but does it matter? Looking back on last year's ‘Australian Year of the Farmer’, the feature wonders whether marketers should focus on Aussie farmers or their products? The newsletter also looks at the future of agricultural extension. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 9 No. 4 - November 2012

From where? Home truths about what you're really eating. The newsletter discusses whether social media has supplanted traditional lobby groups; points out the dangers of taking the agriculture sector's official statistics at face-value; and introduces the new FarmGAS Scenario Tool. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 9 No. 3 - August 2012

Has statistical modelling replaced science? 'In My View' features Kelvin Thomson MP and Senator Chris Back discussing the effectiveness of new live export regulations. Other topics include, future extension models for the grains, and permeate in milk. (more)

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 9 No. 2 - May 2012

Will locavores destroy the planet? Martin Ferguson AM MP and Warren Truss MP give their opinions on biofuels use mandates. Free FarmGAS Scenario Tool released. We explore the impacts of carbon policy on fisheries, and misinformation about Australian food security.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 9 No. 1 - February 2012

A fog descending on Australian agricultural markets. Senator Nick Xenophon and Senator Richard Colbeck give their opinions on the effectiveness of Australian competition laws. We examine future productivity growth; research product transport costs; and the subjectivity of ethical and sustainable guides.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 8 No. 4 - November 2011

Food security, food reality and Australian agricultural opportunity. Tony Windsor MP and Senator Barnaby Joyce provide their views on the role of government in the future use of prime agricultural land. Economic impacts of the suspension of live cattle exports; and carbon farming explored for woolgrowers.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 8 No. 3 - August 2011

Agriculture’s excluded, so a carbon price won’t add cost. Right? Senator Stephen Conroy and The Hon Malcolm Turnbull give their views on the NBN. Also, adding up the cost of transport; encouraging interest in agriculture and food policy studies; and the live cattle exports issue examined. 

Farm institute insights - Vol. 8 No. 2 - May 2011

Can social media bridge the divide between urban and rural Australia? The challenges and opportunities of GM crops are discussed by the Hon Warren Truss MP and Senator Christine Milne. Good statistics, at the heart of strong agricultural, environmental and food policies; the Carbon Farming Initiative under the microscope; and misconceptions amongst journalists that the carbon pricing mechanism won’t affect agriculture.

Farm institute insights - Vol. 8 No. 1 - February 2011

A career in agriculture – what does the future hold? Joe Ludwig and John Cobb comment on foreign investment in agriculture. The link between private and public sector funded R&D explored; significant flaws found in carbon sink forest planning and approvals process; and misleading claims on release of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Guide to the Basin Plan in late 2010, and the ensuing debate about water policy.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 7 No. 4 - October 2010

The feature article, Will Australia ever be anything more than ‘five teeming sores’?, addresses the hot political topic of regional development policy. Also in this edition, the dilemma of assessing the comparative value of environmental claims, and the relationship between health, diet and trade.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 7 No. 3 - July 2010

The neglected economics of water policy. The productivity challenge is revisited due to the Productivity Commission’s current review of rural R&D Corporations, and an overview of the research report: Making decisions about environmental water allocations.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 7 No. 2 - April 2010

Soil carbon sequestration - lifeline or lead boots? The EU review of the CAP, and the release of the occasional paper, The job market in agriculture in Australia.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 7 No. 1 - January 2010

Will eating less meat (and ice-cream) cool the world? We review the scientific valuation of ‘environment’ and environmental assets; and an overview of the Institute’s most recently completed research reports: Essential services in urban and regional Australia – a quantitative comparison; FarmGAS Calculator: Final report and case studies; Conference proceedings: Agriculture, Greenhouse and Emissions Trading Conference 2009.

Farm institute insights - Vol. 6 No. 4 - October 2009

Will the United States Climate legislation be more important than Copenhagen or Doha? An overview of the Institute’s recent publication – The Australian Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme: An introduction for farmers and agribusiness.

Farm institute insights - Vol. 6 No. 3 - July 2009

Global farm support levels: Australians get a great deal from their farm sector. A look at global food needs now and into the future, and the launch of the FarmGAS Calculator: an online application which enables farmers to model both the financial and greenhouse gas outputs of farm activities and implications of changes in the enterprise.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 6 No. 2 - April 2009

Event summary: Agriculture, Greenhouse & Emissions Trading Conference 2009. New ABARE modelling analysis released on the potential impact of the Australian Government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) on Australian agriculture. New Institute research: The costs and benefits of alternative selling arrangements for Australian wool.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 6 No. 1 - January 2009

Impacts of the GFC on agriculture sectors. We ask a number of industry experts for their views on what direction agricultural commodity markets are likely to trend in 2009. We also examine some of the challenges facing China’s agricultural sector.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 5 No. 4 - October 2008

Is it drought or climate change? The question is addressed in two articles, firstly by Associate Professor Stewart Franks of the University of Newcastle, and secondly the CSIRO’s response  by Associate Professor Stewart Franks. Research released: Value in Value Chains: Collaborative Business Models and Farm Accreditation Systems Examined.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 5 No. 3 - July 2008

The Green Paper: agricultural uncertainty persists. Following the release of the Government's Green Paper a large range of uncertainties persist for Australian agriculture and it will be some time before these are resolved. Research released: Estimating the Value of Environmental Services Provided by Australian Farmers.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 5 No. 2 - April 2008

Agriculture to boom with a changing climate. Australian agricultural output is projected to continue to grow strongly over the next 40 years, with the gross value of annual farm output estimated to virtually double by 2050 despite the projected impact of climate change, a new report has shown. Also, getting a balanced picture of the debate on native vegetation clearing.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 4 No. 1 - January 2008

Agriculture Roundtable Conference highlights. A discussion of developments in farm environmental service payment policies. Research released: The Implications for Australian Agriculture of Changing Demand for Animal Protein in Asia.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 4 No. 4 - October 2007

Less meat means less heat – or does it? It is highly questionable whether, in reality, ‘less meat means less heat’ – even if offi cial greenhouse emission inventories might be positively changed if less cattle and sheep are produced. A discussion of drought and the challenges it creates for the biofuels industry. Research released: Developing a Good Regulatory Practice Model for Environmental Regulations Impacting on Farmers.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 4 No. 3 - July 2007

Greenhouse compensation: size obviously matters! The clear message from the recent recommendations of the Prime Ministerial Task Group on Emissions Trading is that when it comes to greenhouse compensation, it is the size of the business and who owns it that matters. Getting value from rural R&D, and understanding and meeting consumer needs.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 4 No. 2 - April 2007

Supermarkets in China: fierce competition brings change. The early euphoria over the advent of a modern food retail sector in the relatively untapped China food market is bumping up against the reality of fi erce competition. Getting a balanced picture of the debate on native vegetation clearing. Research released: Productivity Growth in Australian Agriculture: Trends, Sources, Performance.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 4 No. 1 - January 2007

Property matters. Imagine paying cold, hard cash for shares in a particular company, and then being told the next day that the value of the shares had halved because the company only owned half the assets it previously claimed to own. The uncompensated acquisition of farmers’ property rights is a recurring event in Australia, and one that stems from some fundamental weaknesses and loopholes in Australian law. A brief look at the impact recent droughts have had on Australia’s farm-dependent economy. Plus, a brief excerpt from the address of Australia’s Chief Scientist to the 2006 Strategic Roundtable Conference dinner.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 3 No. 4 - October 2006

Water policy everywhere, and not a drop to drink! The feature article examines recent water debates, and concludes that most of the problems facing urban water supplies have very little to do with agriculture’s use of water. An examination of developments in the drought policy debate. Research released: Enhancing the Customer Focus of Australian Agriculture.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 3 No. 3 - July 2006

Clearing the air on land clearing. Public debate on land clearing policies in Australia rarely moves beyond the latest claims about how many football fi elds of native vegetation are being bulldozed on Australian farms every hour. The continuing evolution of marketing arrangements used by farmers.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 3 No. 2 - April 2006

Farming the new European subsidies. In this article, Terry Ryan investigates changes to the EU farm subsidy system from the on-ground perspective of farmers in Scotland and Ireland. A parliamentary report on salinity reinforces how difficult it will be to overturn accepted wisdom concerning dryland salinity.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 3 No. 1 - January 2006

Report on the 2005 Strategic Roundtable Conference.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 2 No. 4 - October 2005

Two new research reports released: Australian Farm Sector Demography and Agricultural Development in Argentina and Brazil.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 2 No. 3 - July 2005

Research released: Australian Farm Sector Demography.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 2 No. 2 - Apr 2005

Research released: Australia’s Farm-Dependent Economy.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 2 No. 1 - January 2005

2005 Research Program.

Farm Institute Insights - Vol. 1 No. 2 - October 2004  

Strategic Roundtable Conference 2004.