"Sustainable Farming Practices" inquiry update

In a previous post, I introduced the parliamentary inquiry that was examining a broad range of aspects about "sustainable farming" in the state.

The Issues Paper states … 

This paper does not seek to provide answers but rather ask questions to facilitate a broad ranging, informed and healthy debate about the issues that need to be addressed to ensure we have a sustainable farm sector.

Terms of Reference of the Select Committee of inquiry are as follows;

To investigate and report on land arrangements for primary production (agriculture, viticulture and horticulture), mineral resources, and regional development focusing on planning for farming sustainability, improving farming practices that promote sustainable use of our State's natural resources, a clean, green food supply for South Australia and report on advantages that this promotion may bring to the South Australian economy.

In my investigations to this point in time, I have been unravelling the outcomes of many reports and investigations. Re-configuring these outcomes by linking them, reveals that there are very serious issues confronting South Australia right now, and into the future. 

I have written about this aspect in A New Direction

Much of the state's agri-economy is still locked into the wheat frontier model of the 1860's onwards. We may marvel at how dryland farming technology has allowed grain production to continue under the most trying of circumstances. We may admire the tenacity and perseverance of farmers to continue doing what has been done for 150 years or so, and also from the years of soldier settlement schemes following the two world wars of the 20th century.

But from my perspective, there is one conclusion that is undeniable; there is a much-needed revolution in land use in this state that is not being confronted. All the signs from what researchers are saying, are that there is most likely to be a retreat of the extent of grain producing land by about 2050 (that is less than 40 years away). What is being done about that scenario right now?

Now let's return to the Terms of Reference above. After reading the Issues Paper and other related documents, it is clear that all the threats to agriculture in the state are not in sharp focus, because the basic premise of the inquiry is about prevention of encroachments of other activities on to farm land and about maintaining and growing the agri-economic system.

This is "Sustainable Farming Practices" on one level only, and within it is a sense of denial of what has been lost in the landscape. The myth of sustainable farming continues ... unless there is landscape-scale change.

Here is my submission

What do you understand about sustainability in South Australia? Do you have any comments?Add them below. Let's give the conversation about "sustainable farming practices" a shot in the arm.

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