Farming for the Future

Destroying our lands and rivers with salt and acid! Farming the Second Driest Continent on Earth

Farming is a very challenging business requiring a wide range of skills. It is a business surrounded by uncertainties but can also be very rewarding and offers a truly great way of life. It is a business that carries enormous responsibilities of supporting families and feeding a nation. Today’s farmers have inherited serious environmental issues, passed down through a lack of knowledge in the past and governments that encouraged insane levels of land clearing.

Over the past decades the serious effects of land clearing; over stocking; over cropping; insane over irrigation; the production of foods not suited to our soils and rivers have come home to roost. Because of over irrigation and over consumption of groundwater, soil acidity and salinity threaten to destroy vast tracks of our precious farmlands. If we continue without changing our practices and refuse to make sacrifices, the likes of the Murray Darling Basin could end up a useless wasteland covered in salt, with our rivers so salty that desalinisation plants may have to be constructed at our regional centres.  Is this possible? Contact our land and water authorities; DPI, DSE, CSIRO, MDFRC (Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre), NECMA, GMW, and ask for reports on salinity and acid projections. This issue is as important as global warming.

Farming Australia needs to lead the way in repairing our environment. We have been misled by gutless political opportunists encouraging practices that should never have been, such as intensive irrigation farming, and the growing of farm produce that is unsuitable to our fragile Australian soils. To maintain an industry at enormous cost to the general public that ultimately destroys the land that we depend upon for food and water is insanity. To place at risk the lands and waters that our future generations will need is morally and ethically wrong.

The introduction of water restrictions in towns and cities is an intelligent approach to saving water; unintelligence is to lift the restrictions; we need to learn to live with far less water. Our governments should assist farmers financially to move away from irrigation and stop wasting money on irrigation schemes. Good farming people are implementing changes and programs usually resulting in higher cost and less income. This sacrifice demonstrates great farming leadership, for the benefit of our future generations. The year is 2009 not 1909. Living and farming in the past, will with certainty deny our grandchildren and future generations the opportunity of a good quality of life that most of us have enjoyed.

 Per capita we are one of the biggest water users in the world, on arguably, the driest continent, and most of the water is used for irrigation. We need to reduce domestic, farming and industrial water consumption; minimise irrigation and promote dry weather farming. If we all do the right thing the future will be sustainable and all of our children will get a fair go.

Authorised by Alan Lappin, PO Box 1234 Wangaratta VIC 3676

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