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“… if we don’t do it, no one’s going to do it for us.”

Grain Producers Australia (GPA) Northern Region Director Matthew Madden grows winter and summer cereal, pulse, cotton and sorghum crops near Moree, in north west NSW.

In this episode of the Farms Advice Podcast, Matthew speaks candidly with host Jack Cresswell about how a 2009 farm accident that stopped him from physical work propelled him into agricultural advocacy, and the three main challenges facing Australian farmers.

Matthew says joining the NSW Farmers grains committee opened his eyes to what people were doing for the industry and he found their passion contagious.

“On a micro-level, we’ve got our own different ways we do things, different methods, different farming systems, but we get to the macro-level, challenges are the same,” he says.

“It’s logistics, it’s inputs, it’s supply chain. Another very important one for GPA is biosecurity. Somebody’s got to get the grassroots input to ensure that those policies are in place to look after agriculture in Australia. That’s why I really find that if we don’t do it, no one’s going to do it for us.”

Matthew says supply chain issues, the skyrocketing price of chemicals and fertiliser, and the discrepancy between Australian grain prices and those offered overseas, have highlighted the need for a thorough review of grain pricing, preferably by the ACCC.

“We are unable to take advantage of high prices overseas because we’ve got supply chain constraints,” he says.

“We can’t get the grain out of Australia fast enough.”

Other issues identified by Matthew were biosecurity and the shortage of suitable labour, especially for peak periods such as seeding and harvest.

He also refers to what he calls “my number four”, traceability and provenance, which not only helps consumers better understand how their food is produced, but also provides proof it is safe and affordable.


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