The 2017 NSW Farmers conference kicked off this morning with president Derek Schoen saying internet connectivity was at the forefront of farmers’ concerns.
Mr Schoen also warned politicians that farmers were “restless” and were prepared to vote for change given the result of the Orange by-election.
About 200 delegates met at the Marriott Quay Hotel in Sydney for the three-day conference with the first guest speaker NSW Innovation Minister Matt Kean.
Mr Schoen emphasised that “there was no greater issue” than telecommunications this year. “Farmers should have affordable and reliable internet services,” he told delegates. “2017 is the year of delivering to the bush (on communications).”
“There is still much more to do to end the data drought to connect our members to modern society.”
He said farmers still faced great structural barriers that was stopping them being competitive.
“We need partners around the country if we are to realise our full potential.” He praised the fact farm debt had fallen by half and that farming was contributing significantly to the national economy and growing.