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Dry run for farmers

By: Thanh-Loan Nguyen
07 June, 2010

Feature of the week: Suffering from low prices, and unpredictable weather patters, are only some of issues farmers have to deal with each and every day.

As farmers continue to tend to their crops, analyse the ways to improve their production and tighten their belts; the gap between the rural and urban communities will extend further. This is not because of the ignorance of the city-bound Australians, but simply from the lack of understanding and access to the farm environment.

However, it has not always been this way. In the past, the ties between city and country were significantly strong, and farmers were perceived as the major force in the affairs of the colonies.

According to a Central New South Wales orchid farmer, who asked not to be named, today many city people are oblivious to what really happens on a farm.

"The only concern is we do suffer low prices for our fruits and vegetables and we are struggling because of that," he explained, while maintaining that agricultural groups are under-representing farmers, and are to blame for this rural-urban divide.

"I think it is a concern that agricultural groups haven't done enough. The city people don't understand the hard work that farmers put in to provide quality food and drink for the people of Australia. They believe their fruits and vegetables come from supermarkets and shops," he said.

However, there are events such as Farm Day which encourages urban consumers and farmers to come together to foster a greater understanding about the "what's" and "how's" of modern farming practices.

Farm Day recently welcomed 400 city families into the fun event. The survey conducted by Farm Day officials has shown that there was a complete turnaround in the public's perceptions of farmers.

National Farmers Federation CEO, Ben Fargher, said the organisation is implementing methods to change urban community perceptions about farmers.

"We do have a communication strategy that would help engage with journalists, the media and farming communities. It is a challenge, we know about it and we're trying to solve the problem," Fargher said.

Clearly, farmers would like to see more support for their products and standard of living, which many Australians have come to take for granted.

This year's Farm Day was held on the 29 and 30 May.

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