Ag umpire needed to 'ground truth' ecological claims over NSW farms
The New South Wales Farmers association say the ecological significance zoning over farms are just one of several conflicting land uses that tied up farmers from feeding and clothing the nation.
Vice President Rebecca Reardon told Flow:
"New South Wales Farmers undertook an exercise of mapping out what is considered state significant farmland, which is our best farmland in New South Wales, against what they've defined as critically endangered ecological communities.
"There's 9.5 million hectares of our best farming land but 6 million of that, or 63 per cent, is actually also classified as critically endangered ecological communities. And it's making it very difficult for us to do our routine activities to be able to grow food and fibre, because it's turning off a lot of our land management codes and our ability to operate."
The Moree farmer said the ecological zoning was counterproductive, preventing farmers from maintaining the land in good ecological condition and the NSW Farmers wanted to 'ground truth' the ecological mapping:
"We have doubts if, you know, nearly 6.5 million hectares is actually ecologically endangered. There is certainly parts of it which deserves the conservation. And that's where we need to work with farmers to identify those areas and make sure that we are actually conserving them correctly, getting the biodiversity results we want and paying our farmers to be able to do this because the big stick approach is not working well."
Ms Reardon pointed to mining and gas exploration preserved areas and the expansion of energy projects as other conflicting land uses, reaffirming NSW Farmers' push for a fully independent Agriculture Commissioner to rebalance the competing land uses towards food security.
Hear the full interview with Rebecca Reardon on the Flow podcast player below: