Athletes from across Australia and all over the world are currently taking to the track and field and diving into the pool at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
As spectators watch on and cheer, they should pause for a moment and consider our farmers who are quietly kicking their own goals.
While the 10 days of international sporting competition is a fleeting spectacle, our primary producers work in acres not hours, in winter’s chill or summer’s heat, in drought or flooding rains.
Because of their dedication and resilience, agriculture touches the lives of all Australians and we enjoy the fruits of their many labours through the food we eat, the natural fibres we wear, the amenity that surrounds us and the economic prosperity that follows.
Queensland’s famers grow the broadest selection of fresh fruit and vegetables that will fuel athletes and feed spectators. Where clothing is concerned, Queensland cotton farmers yield three times the world average, producing more ‘crop per drop’. And who could forget the stage – the playing fields and the luxurious grounds – that are possible thanks to our lifestyle horticulture farmers.
Innovation continues apace. Be it the Goondiwindi-based Woods Group who are bringing humans and beans together with their patented cooking technology which allows them to ‘air puff’ their products. Faba beans with seasoning for an alternative snack or chickpeas covered in chocolate for a healthier version of the Malteser. Or Del Richards from North Queensland who has created a floating bird island that can be placed in water troughs to give them a safe place to drink from, saving lives and keeping troughs clean.
Unlike the Games however, this happens on an uneven playing field. Our farmers manage all this against a backdrop of the lowest level of government subsidies of virtually any farmers in the world, and more locally, proposed changes to vegetation management laws that will restrict future agricultural performance.