7 December 2021. By AgForce Cane President Ricky Mio.

Imagine facing the prospect of losing your entire year’s wages, at the eleventh hour, through no fault of your own.

That’s been the harsh reality endured by sugarcane farmers and harvesting contractors supplying their 2021 crop to sugar factories in the State’s north.

Put politely (not the way I’d like to put it), this is what happens when the lines of communication collapse, almost entirely, and people allow their own narrow-mindedness and prejudice to get in the way of good judgement and getting the job done.

What’s often lost at times like this is that the “disconnect” between the miller and the grower-harvester has a flow-on effect to entire communities – both economically, and on their morale.

It’s a timely reminder of the importance of support and collaboration and of the need to communicate with genuine transparency.

These are qualities crucial to not only maintaining but establishing real innovation in the agriculture supply chain in this country – something COVID-19 and our border issues have brought to the fore.

There has been some strong evidence of willingness to explore this further, with governments at all levels working with agriculture to ensure the trucks got through and the supermarket shelves remained stocked these past two years.

But this is just a taste of what’s possible. Australian agriculture is, after all, a world leader in innovation – for technology, for climate solutions, and for best practice on-farm.

It’s why if governments and industry continue to work with us and with our regional communities – collaboratively, openly – together we can achieve so much.

Back in cane country, AgForce and other sugarcane industry stakeholders continue working collaboratively and proactively to rebuild broken relationships that unfortunately lack these vital ingredients.

Let’s hope that in 2022, wiser heads prevail – mills work as they’re supposed to, farmers get paid on time for the sugarcane they’ve grown and harvested – and we don’t have to live through a repeat of what we’ve experienced in 2021.