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Land and Environment : Agribusiness Assoc. of Australia

Australian Agribusiness Perspectives: 2010



Paper 85

Exceptional Persistence: Drought and Drought Policy[1]
Bill Malcolm and Kristoffer Larson

Drought policy in Australia has a long history of being criticized for muddling means and ends, and for being inefficient and inequitable. The broad proposition of this paper is that analysing agricultural policy, such as drought policy, is likely to be more productive if analysts went further than the common approach of describing the situation as failure of markets, with the implication that once recognising this, government will implement efficiency‐oriented policy. Better can be done. Rather, defining the genuine benefits, costs and transfers, using a few simple figurings to estimate the magnitudes of benefits, costs and transfers, where possible, and making the results of the policy benefit‐cost analysis approach transparent and widely known, should not be a ‘step too far’ to contribute to forming policy.
Taking this step would add significantly to public debate and, maybe, edge policy further towards betterdefined ends and means, improving efficiency and equity.

Paper 84

Quality Assurance of the Australian Truffle Industry

Nathan Carter and Peter McSweeney

Australian truffle growing in Australia is small and at the early stages of development. The industry produced approximately 1,500 kilograms in 2009 with a wholesale price of between $1500 and $2,000 / kilogram. A high proportion of growers operate on a small scale. As well as increasing area being planted, truffle production is increasing approximately 40% each year from existing planted areas to meet the growth in local and overseas demand. Commensurate with this growth is the pressure for the industry to develop its supply chain relationships and associated quality assurance (QA). This paper explores the QA assurance approaches suited to the truffle industry and reports industry stakeholder responses toward the implementation of such QA schemes.

Paper 83

Potential impact of a carbon charge on profit of a Western District cropping and grazing farm

Sunday McKay, Peter Small and Bill Malcolm

One policy response to climate change in Australia is to create a price for carbon to reduce emissions through the introduction of a policy of emissions trading. The federal government indicated that agriculture would not initially be covered by an emissions trading scheme (ETS), however, it is the sector would be affected indirectly by an ETS even if it was not covered by such a scheme. This report examines the impacts an ETS and associated climatic changes may have on a mixed farming enterprise’s operating profit. Using a case study farm in the Western District of Victoria, the impacts of an ETS and climatic change on the profitability of the enterprise are modelled under twelve scenarios. These scenarios were constructed using: various emission prices; climatic changes; changes to enterprise mixes; and degrees to which free emissions permits are allocated. The report illustrates that farm productivity growth is crucial for the future viability of the farm enterprise.  It also demonstrates the complexities around reducing emissions whilst continuing to meet world food demand.


Paper 82 - 29th April 2010

Contemporary issues in the provision of tertiary agriculture programs: a case study of The University of Queensland

 Associate Professor A J Dunne

The University of Queensland (UQ) has a long history as a provider of tertiary programs in agriculture and agricultural research. The rapid decline in enrolments in its core undergraduate programs over the past five years has placed the future of these programs in doubt. This paper identifies four key issues that UQ and the Faculty of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Veterinary Science (NRAVS) must address if it is to meet its aspirations to be recognized for excellence and leadership in agricultural education and research. The four issues relate to collaborating more closely and effectively with the employers of its graduates, collaborating with other universities and agencies in the delivery of its programs, integrating the four disciplinary streams of its programs and widening the appeal of its programs.While this paper concentrates on the analysis of these issues and their management in the context of the agriculture programs at UQ, the issues are relevant to other universities in Australia as they address the impact of declining enrolments and the adequacy of their agriculture programs to meet the challenges that confront the agribusiness sector in the 21st century.

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