Biosecurity, sheep identification and competition policy will be among the key issues debated at NSW Farmers' conference today.
There will be several motions put forward by members on biosecurity including Guyra branches proposal for the support for a processor biosecurity levy of 20 cents per head for sheep processed in Australia.
Meanwhile Oberon branch wants the NSW government to establish a biosecurity prosecution fund, which would target landholders who have failed to comply with biosecurity directions in relation to weeds.
During the conference NSW Farmers members will elect a new president as James Jackson has finished his term in the top job.
Among those putting their hand up for president is Xavier Martin who operates a farm at Mullaley and Mitchell Clapham a beef producer from Ilford. For both candidates biosecurity will be the biggest issue going forward.
Mr Martin, who is currently the association's vice president, said in his role, farmers want their problems solved and solutions delivered when it comes to issues like biosecurity.
"The whole paradigm of cared responsibility of surveillance and response and who pays for it is coming into sharp focus," Mr Martin said.
With the latest biosecurity threats of lumpy skin and varroa mite, Mr Clapham said how the association engages its membership base would be a priority.
"While the outlook for ag production is positively vibrant, there are issues that pose a serious threat with biosecurity breaches and incursions," Mr Clapham said.
"There are lose threads as far as NSW goes in regards to biosecurity pest animals and weeds...and government should champion good biosecurity."
Related reading: James Jackson reflects on his time as NSW Farmers president
For agriculture to see continued growth and a successful future, outgoing president James Jackson said it was vital government and the public stepped in to support the sector.
"Australia as a nation lags behind on backing farmers, with a government paper on food security this week revealing we have one of the lowest levels of agricultural support across the 37 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries - and when compared to major emerging economies," Mr Jackson said.
"Australians have seen firsthand the impact of natural disasters and supply chain failures on food security this year, and we need a fresh focus on farming ... yet we as a nation are still undervaluing the important role of agriculture."
Mr Jackson said the impact of this historic governmental disinterest in agriculture was being played out in the current biosecurity debate, with varroa mite affecting our bees and foot and mouth disease on our doorstep.
"Our farmers are up against it with government policies that act as a handbrake on the sector," he said.
"The fact that we are so productive despite our challenging climate and all the red tape we face is proof that Aussie farmers could make an even bigger contribution if they were allowed to.
"I have been saying for years that governments need to get out of the way and unleash the beast, and let us do what we do best - grow world-class food and fibre."
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