Nationals propose 'one stop shop' to improve industry image

Roe MLA Peter Rundle and Agricultural Region MLC Colin de Grussa in front of Cascade farmer Scott Pickering's sheep at the Lambex Conference. Photo: The Nationals WA.
Roe MLA Peter Rundle and Agricultural Region MLC Colin de Grussa in front of Cascade farmer Scott Pickering's sheep at the Lambex Conference. Photo: The Nationals WA.

Nationals WA agriculture spokesman Colin de Grussa has called on the farming industry to create a ‘one stop shop’ to combat misinformation.

Mr de Grussa has been campaingning for a body to create a source of information on farming since 2014, when he met with the British National Farmers’ Union and their German equivalent during his Nuffield Scholarship study tour.

“Our industry currently faces a crisis, where the general population are bombarded with information, or misinformation, related to the ‘evils’ of live export, factory farming, GM, environmental issues and other emotive topics,” he said.

“As an industry we can no longer afford to lay down when our values and practices are questioned.

“We need a comprehensive and coordinated approach to tackling our relationship with consumers, and this could be done by having a single organisation which could champion the great achievements of agriculture and provide the facts.”

Nationals MLA for Roe Peter Rundle called for industry bodies to use some of their levy funds for a coordinated approach to improving the industry’s reputation.

Mr Rundle said accurate information needed to be communicated, especially to children in the metropolitan area who were often unaware of where and how their food was sourced.

“Agriculture representatives need to unite to promote our quality products and quality industry,” he said. 

“Farmers pay significant levies to a number of organisations and often don’t see what industry sustainability functions those levies are spent on.

“United, we can show the public how much we care and why the agriculture industry deserves its trust.”

Mr Rundle and Mr de Grussa were spurred to renew calls for an information body after hearing Centre for Food Integrity chief executive officer Charlie Arnot speak at the 2018 LambEx conference.

Mr Arnot delivered the message that accurate information on farming was not being heard due to a ‘war on scientific consensus’.

“We can make a difference when we choose to engage by first establishing shared values and then providing factual, technical information that is relevant and meaningful from a credible source,” he said.