24 December 2020. By AgForce General President Georgie Somerset. Also published at Queensland Country Life.

AgForce General President Georgie Somerset

Australia has often been called the lucky country – and boy if that hasn’t been true this year.

Yes, COVID has meant we’ve had to make some changes, and Victoria endured a period in lockdown longer than any of us would ever want.

And we are mindful of those spending Christmas overseas, in the US, UK, or Europe, with COVID on the rampage and winter about to unleash its full fury.

Back home the restrictions that were in place have eased to the point where it almost feels like COVID is simply something we live with.

For agriculture, in many ways, it was like it never existed. We continued to produce like we always do, putting one foot in front of the other to ensure Australians had plenty of clean, high-quality food throughout the year, and on their dinner tables this Christmas.

We are, after all, one of few nations in the world that can not only provide all our own food but trade the excess with countries not as fortunate as us.

It’s why we find it hard to fathom that there are some in society who would rid Australia of agriculture altogether, preferring instead to have their food made in laboratories, stuffed into packets and tin cans on supermarket shelves instead.

Behind the scenes during COVID, AgForce worked with government at all levels to help have agriculture’s rightful place as an essential service declared, and then to make sure the State borders were open and the food production lines continued uninterrupted, when they were closed to many.

The state election, and the impact of COVID strangely enough, allowed us to make the most of our Stand With Regional Queensland campaign and to ensure those living in our cities realise the special place agriculture holds in the lives of everyone, not only in Queensland, but throughout Australia and the rest of the world.

AgForce’s hope now is that as Christmas approaches the spirit of giving overcomes everyone, especially the decision makers in George Street, and that it translates into fruitful relationships and many tangible results.

And as this is my final column for 2020, it is terrific to be able to celebrate a member’s product.

AgForce members Mark and Vicki Murphy recently delivered a shipment of Karbullah saltbush lamb to Parliament House, to be served up by Head Chef Andrew McCrea to Queensland politicians, including the Premier, as part of the restaurant’s Christmas fare.

Surely this is a timely reminder of the connection regional Queensland and agriculture has to everyone, including our decision makers, and we look forward to a brighter, more collaborative 2021.  

Merry Christmas everyone.

Queensland Parliament Executive Chef Andrew McCrae and AgForce members, Mark and Vicki Murphy of Karbullah Poll Merinos from Goondiwindi.