18 July 2023. By AgForce General President Georgie Somerset.

A bloke turns up at your house one day and says he wants to dig a dirty great hole in your backyard, what do you do?

For city dwellers, a swift door slam is likely to be the best course of action. But if you’re a farmer it’s not that simple.

When it comes to giving resources companies access to land, producers often feel powerless to negotiate a fair deal.

Although AgForce has worked closely with the government and resources sector to improve the situation – through landholder support projects and better dispute resolution processes – there is still a long way to go to level the playing field.

Sadly, the rights of mining and energy companies often continue to trump the rights of family farms that feed and clothe the nation.

What’s more, inadequate land use security is not only harming farming – restricting operations, stifling investment to improve land, and increasing costs – but it also imposes an unsustainable emotional burden on producers.

That said, the recent Federal Government review into community engagement practices for renewable energy infrastructure is certainly a step in the right direction.

Australia’s transition to renewable energy means thousands of kilometres of new transmission lines on farmland.

Often farmers are left in the dark about these projects, but the review aims to improve planning and community engagement.

As farmers, we recognise the benefits of bringing new renewables into the grid (we too bear the weight of rising energy prices), and we also want to work with energy companies to achieve the best possible outcome for everyone.

Producers Des Bolton and Will Wilson have plenty to say on this in AgForce’s new agriculture podcast Yarns from the Paddock.

If you want to find out more about the challenges facing farmers, then be sure to have a listen on your favourite app.

Ultimately, co-existence of agriculture and resources activity can only work when companies are respectful of the farming operations on which they seek access.

The average mining operation has a lifespan of 30 years – but we need agriculture to be around forever.