Industrial size sprinklers irrigate a cane farm.
Industrial size sprinklers irrigate a cane farm.

OUR SAY: Long-term certainty is needed for our farmers

IN 1859, the first steps towards a sugarcane industry on the Fraser Coast were taken.

Maryborough's Edgar Aldridge attempted to grow a small experimental patch of sugar cane. He succeeded in producing three stalks, which were sent to Sydney for processing and examination.

The venture into sugar cane proved to be slow going until October 1864, when John Buhot, a manager of a Victorian cotton and sugar business, heard of Mr Aldridge's crop and bought ten thousand sets, which he used to plant his own crop.

In the decades since, cane farming has become one of the region's biggest industries and biggest employers.

It's something of which Maryborough and Hervey Bay can be proud of.

Given its longevity, it does seen odd to talk in increments like 12 months when it comes to the State Government's guarantee on water irrigation prices. Yes, a freeze, or potentially lower prices, is most welcome, especially at a time when the coronavirus is adding uncertainty to markets everywhere.

But when you're talking about an industry which set down roots here 161 years ago, one year is just a drop in the bucket.

Long-term, sustainable measures are needed so farmers can make plans and invest with confidence.

There's enough to wonder about in the farming game - surely this is one area government can make a difference.