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Land and Environment : Agribusiness Assoc. of Australia

Contents - Spring (December) 2003

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In this edition of Connections a couple of classic economic themes predominate – some authors are concerned about there being ‘too much’ of something, others are concerned about there being ‘too little’ of something else.

Phil Simmons and Phil Hanson write about market power in the wool industry, while Glenn Ronan and Greg Cox deal with market power in the SA chicken meat industry - whether there is too much or too little, and what to do about it? Jason Crean is interested in whether there may be too little environment: Jim Moll, Jim Crosthwaite and Josh Dorrough are concerned about the possibility of too little biodiversity on grazing properties in Victoria and C. Ford Runge, Benjamin Senauer, Phil Pardey and Mark Rosegrant look at concerns that there may always be ‘too little’ food in the world. Zhang Yue Zhou explores the question of whether China will grow too little or too much feed grain. And, Barry White whimsically revisits the state of having too little water, and having to pay too often for it, in a Letter to the Australian People, published recently in the Australian Newspaper.

As former liberal leader of the opposition the Right Honourable Billy Sneddon once proclaimed, in a profound, desk-thumping statesperson like way, ‘there comes a time when enough’s enough and too much is plenty!’ Hear Hear.

Please enjoy the following diverse contributions from a diverse stable of writers.

Paper 29

Agri-environmental conservation - the case for an environmental levy

J. Crean

The use and management of natural resources has been an issue of growing concern in Australia over a long period of time. Rising community expectations about the management of resources has been underpinned by greater resource scarcity relative to demands with conflicts resulting between resource users.

Paper 30

Ending Hunger

C. Ford Runge, Benjamin Senauer, Philip G. Pardey and Mark W. Rosegrant

Human endeavor has realized countless feats that once seemed pure fantasy. We can talk to each other on small, portable phones whether we’re stranded in traffic or on a remote mountaintop. We can send electronic mail messages anywhere in the world in seconds.  We can propel ourselves far off into space to explore the earth’s solar system. But we cannot seem to solve the problem of human hunger.

Paper 31

South Australia's New Chicken Meat Industry Legislation: A Balancing Act

Glenn Ronan and Greg Cox

In the United States poultry farmers are offered contracts of company design, have no say in what is included in the contract and have the choice of signing it or no chickens. Not much choice there. Most poultry meat farmers are so deep in debt from mortgages on their poultry farms and constant demands from integrators (processors) of new equipment that they have to sign whatever is offered because they need chickens on the farm.

Paper 32

Will China Become a Large Feedgrain Importer?

Zhang-Yue Zhou

Many have projected that China would import a large quantity of feedgrains, especially after its WTO accession. However, China is unlikely to become a major feedgrain importer in the foreseeable future.

Increasing demand for animal products worldwide in the past three decades has led to a rapid expansion of livestock industries. This trend is expected to continue in the decades to come, according to a recently released report by FAO, World Agriculture: Towards 2015/2030, An FAO Perspective (Bruinsma 2003). Hence, globally, the next three decades will see a strong increase in demand for feed, especially, cereal feed.

Paper 33

Better Management of Wool Businesses and Native Biodiversity

Jim Moll, Jim Crosthwaite and Josh Dorrough

In Australia, conserving biodiversity through appropriate management of native vegetation on farms is increasingly viewed as an important aspect of sustainable agricultural management. It is an integral theme for the national Land, Water & Wool (LWW) program, which will focus on sustainable wool production in Australia over five years ( programs.asp?program=22). This program is a joint investment between Australian Wool Innovation Limited, the wool industry's peak research and development body, and Land & Water Australia, the national agency funding research into natural resource management.

Paper 34

Does Market Power Matter in the Wool Buying Industry?

Phil Simmons and Phil Hanson

Throughout history farmers have expressed concerns about ‘middlemen’ capturing ‘pipeline’ markets that lie between their farms and consumers.  Traditionally they have focussed on transport and storage markets but, more recently, their concerns are being extended to markets for information and marketing technology.  Early literature in this area describes monopoly storage arguments and the so-called ‘hoarding’ problem which involved capture of storage either through ownership of facilities or, indirectly, through control of credit.  Australian farmers, like their overseas counterparts, have also expressed concerns about being exploited by powerful groups in the marketing chain, in particular wool growers their worries about concentration amongst wool buyers.

Paper 35

Wasting Water, Wasting Words

Barry White

John Anderson's appeal (Weekend Australian 9-10 August) to wasteful urban water users to share the pain will be the fourth time I have hit the tin for the irrigation lobby. The first doorknock was tax to fund the dams. Prior imprinting with the newsreels of the Snowy Scheme and nation-building using bull-dozers had made me willing enough.


Bill Malcolm Glenn Ronan
Co-editor and
Associate Professor
Institute of Land and Food Resources
The University of Melbourne
Victoria, Australia
Co-editor and
Principal Strategy Consultant, Corporate Strategy and Policy,
Primary Industries and Resources South Australia


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