We hope this year in the rural sector is more to do with fine microns, than bad omicrons.
The spread of the coronavirus, although a milder COVID-19 variant this time, has created a lot of uncertainty. People wonder how long they should isolate and are having trouble getting rapid antigen tests, especially in regional areas, where hospitals are under extreme pressure.
It's a worrying situation full of unknowns.
The pandemic has been a turning point in history, from the certainties we had after the end of World War Two to now, as we are told, living with uncertainties.
But we can do this. We now have a feast of data at our fingertips, we can talk via videolink to relatives on the other side of the world, we can virtually tour almost any place in the world, we have reliable water, electricity, health, education systems, a vibrant democracy and an economy that's delivering despite the worst hand grenades thrown at it by the pandemic.
The rural sector has entered a golden period with high commodity prices and widespread rain, with more to come. Underpinned by strong rural land values, investment decisions can be made with confidence, with a low interest rate environment to persist for years.
Whatever international trade hits thrown at us, we are smart enough to find new markets - take for instance barley. On the bad side, the poor performance on the waterfront is a major worry and it's hoped a mooted Productivity Commission inquiry will lead to better outcomes for exporters.
Despite this age of uncertainty, the rural sector is now in an era of some certainty. The chance to value add to our produce is ever growing and we should seize this time, from spinning our own cotton as advocated last year by Cotton Australia, to value adding to our wool clip.
Of course what is also giving us this ag certainty is the valuable and leading science we enjoy, and access to education. Knowledge is power. We have some of the best grain and ag researchers in the world. We are leading the way in cattle feed to reduce methane emissions. We have developed state of the art pinpointed remote weed control.
In short, farmers have become resilient to meet many uncertainties. If one part of the farm goes down, it's likely another part of the farm will go up. Many have got back into sheep with mixed operations - just like the old days! Uncertainty can be assuaged.
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