As we close the book on 2021, NSW Farmers is hoping for a 'normal' year ahead. Or maybe just a year devoid of unprecedented events such as global pandemics, intense flooding, devastating bushfires, record-breaking drought, or mouse plagues. While we cannot control what is thrown our way, we can control what to focus our advocacy on as we navigate an ever-changing world.
As we edge one year closer to 2030 and the sector's $30 billion milestone, we will need to look at growth opportunities as well as major challenges for the farming sector. Considering these, NSW Farmers has identified five key focus areas for our advocacy in 2022.
With COVID-19, border restrictions put the sector's reliance on overseas workers into sharp focus. Action must be taken to solve our long-term workforce issues as we address the more pressing needs, which require the pre-pandemic movement of people.
If we want more workforce security, we also need to ensure we have better regional services. More than just road, rail, and air access; quality infrastructure is increasingly about the internet and phone connections modern businesses need.
With renewable energy set to consume more space in regional areas, farmers need to be ahead of the energy transition and what it means for the division of land. We need to balance the global imperatives of carbon reduction and food security to ensure our finite agricultural resources are protected in the swift transition to renewables.
Animal welfare is a growing philosophical battleground. NSW Farmers will remain committed to pursuing a science-based approach that has data at its core. As primary animal handlers, farmers need to be brought in on any changes to animal welfare laws.
Agriculture's potential can be unleashed with world-class research and development. From improving crop yields to finding biosecurity solutions that keep threatening bugs, pests and even mice at bay, the bounds of R&D are unknown.
Country folk are a tough mob, and we're ready for whatever comes next.
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