For those who attended the Bush Summit in Tamworth last Friday, it was clear there was significant community angst around transmission lines and so-called 'renewable' electricity generation.
The protest outside the venue saw people come from far and wide to voice their vehement opposition to what they see as destruction of their local environment to ironically 'save the environment'.
But listening to the voices of those not only presenting but in attendance at the event, it is clear the issue is far more nuanced than can fit on a placard.
While there are farmers deeply opposed to any sort of electricity generation on agricultural land, there are others who believe it can be achieved if done in the right way.
Although many farmers are worried about having their land compulsorily acquired to accommodate power lines, there are some who have managed to negotiate an advantageous deal with developers. Some see it as vandalising the landscape, but others as a way to drought-proof their businesses.
After all, while a lack of rain is bad for farming, it does means clear skies for solar panels.
Listening to these different perspectives, one thing became very clear: it is the method by which we as a nation navigate the energy transition that will ultimately determine its success. And a critical part of this process is genuinely engaging with the communities at the proverbial coalface, the stewards of our productive agricultural landscape.
We would never presume to tell someone what they can or cannot do with their farm, but having the conversation with your neighbours, and finding ways to compromise, is always a good idea.
This applies to governments and decision-makers too.
There can be no question that a great deal of the angst has been caused by impractical, bull-headed decisions imposed on farmers without any real consultation.
There will need to be a great deal of effort made to right these wrongs and regain the trust of communities who - under the right circumstances - may benefit from some of these projects.
- Xavier Martin, NSW Farmers president