Local farmer’s global question

Host of the ABC’s Q&A Tony Jones with Troy Cassar-Daley and Forbes farmer Gary Johnston.
Host of the ABC’s Q&A Tony Jones with Troy Cassar-Daley and Forbes farmer Gary Johnston.

Last Monday night, local farmer Gary Johnston appeared on the ABC’s Q&A program, shedding some light on some of the issues faced by Australian agriculturalists.

Mr Johnston was one of nine audience members chosen to ask the panel a question centred around the show’s topic ‘When the bush came to town’.

Speaking live on the show, Mr Johnston discussed food quality and importation before asking “What can the government do to help our farmers be more competitive in the world marketplace?”

Mr Johnston said he wanted to go on Q&A to help generate more discussion of regional issues. 

“I think we are under represented in the media generally and this program provided a great forum for regional and rural people to be advocates,” he said. 

Last week’s show was filmed for the first time on site at the Sydney Royal Easter Show and panelists included Nationals Senator for NSW Fiona Nash, shadow minister for agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon, musician Troy Cassar-Daley, treasurer for Royal Agricultural Society Robyn Clubb and fourth generation cattleman Rob Cook.

Mr Johnston is currently in Sydney working at the show as a councillor for the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS), which he was invited to join after becoming Farmer of the Year in 2009.

He is also the chairman of the Excellence in Agriculture Committee and was instrumental in getting the Q&A show to be hosted at Homebush through his involvement on the Agricultural Development Committee. 

Mr Johnston will stay in Sydney until the close of the Easter Show on April 8 and today will be running the Parade of Champions for the Excellence in Agriculture day.  

To view the transcript or the full episode of ‘When the bush came to town’, visit http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s4185655.htm.

Gary Johnston asked: “We have a double standard for food supply systems in this country. 

“Our farmers currently produce high quality, safe food for domestic and export markets however we import food with little knowledge of its origin or if it was grown with chemicals which have been banned in Australia for years. 

“Our farmers are heavily regulated and our input costs are increasing while pest control options are decreasing. 

“What can government do to help our farmers be more competitive in the world marketplace?”

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