NSW Farmers has been down at the Henty Machinery Field Days this week, meeting with members and partner organisations, and more broadly getting a good sense of what's keeping people up at night.
While cost of living pressures and household budgets are certainly a big issue for families right across the state, in rural and regional NSW there are sleepless nights for landowners being severely impacted by massive renewable energy infrastructure across their land.
Huge towers spawning a web of transmission lines, massive solar developments and 300-meter-high wind towers are being proposed on good farming land, in many cases ruining roads, businesses and farm values.
We have made that point this week with Commonwealth Energy Infrastructure Commissioner Andrew Dyer, telling him plainly that action to address the lack of knowledge of impacts on rural land must be delivered before it's too late, along with the need to mitigate the inability to develop fair outcomes.
There is some fantastic productive agricultural land that is being industrialised right now, and there are plans for even more if the NSW Budget is to be believed.
The big question for government is how much the taxpayer is prepared to pay - either financially or in terms of lost productivity - to meet the challenge of "decarbonising" our economy and electricity supply.
While power bills are truly horrendous at the moment, supermarket food prices are still the bigger pain point for consumers.
I would suggest that a greater budgetary focus on improving agricultural productivity and efficiency would increase supply, and therefore provide better prices at the checkout.
Of course, this is a somewhat utopian view, because we know there are a few big free-ranging gorillas between paddock and plate that are taking more than their fair share while farmers and families get squeezed on either side.
Hopefully the government's new Independent Agriculture Commissioner will be able to force decision makers to consider the impact of energy projects on production.
Food for thought, at least.
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