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Primary producers and farmers in the Federal electorate of Longman were provided a platform to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing their respective sectors at an Agriculture and Farming Roundtable recently. The roundtable was hosted by Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Rural and Regional Australia Joel Fitzgibbon and Federal Member for Longman Susan Lamb in Wamuran and was attended by a diverse mix of local primary producers including: chicken, banana, strawberry and dairy farmers, a local beekeeper as well as a retired agricultural scientist. The importance of soil health, bees, concerns about the impact of the levy payer research and development funding, the importance of a strong biosecurity system, labour shortages and the need for improved access to overseas markets were some of the issues raised by the participants at the roundtable. “This Agriculture and Farming Roundtable has provided a valuable chance for local primary producers to speak to Joel and I about the issues facing their businesses as well as the equally important opportunity for us to listen to their needs and understand how Federal Government can support their aspirations,” Federal Member for Longman Susan Lamb said. “There is a global demand for clean, green, safe, high quality and ethically produced food and I want farmers and agricultural businesses in Longman to be best placed to take advantage of the region’s strengths to cater for growing markets both at home and overseas.” The Longman Agriculture and Farming Roundtable was just one of many consultation sessions Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has been conducting around the country. “If Labor is fortunate to win Government at the next election, my guiding objectives as Minister will be productivity and sustainable profitability,” Mr Fitzgibbon said. “I would love the opportunity to take the conversation about our food and fibre sectors to a higher and more sophisticated plane. “I want the food and fibre sector to be modern, efficient and high tech using the latest and best innovation off the back of the best research.” Labor’s Minimum Farm Gate Milk Price proposal received a positive response at the roundtable from local dairy farmers in light of the worsening dairy crisis which has pushed many dairy farming families to breaking point. Drought and the challenges of a changing climate were also shared concerns for the participants. “Our natural resource base is in decline and our ecosystems are under enormous stress. Natural resource management and a science based approach to building resilience to drought must be a priority,” Mr Fitzgibbon said. “The primary producers we have met today share our vision and many have already demonstrated a commitment to achieving sustainable profitability.” “We want to make sure the barriers to greater success are overcome,” Susan Lamb added.

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