Primary producers are more concerned about information gaps between farmers than information gaps among the consumers of their products.
A running survey of more than 200 people who have so far registered for the Farming Together forum on June 6 reveals that 48.5% of respondents identified information gaps between producers as an important issue in agriculture, while 28% specified consumer information gaps.
However, the overwhelming issue remains farm profitability, according to the survey.
A total of 52.3% of replies nominated securing more profitability, well ahead of the 25.6% who listed securing more production.
Farmers completing the survey were able to nominate up to five elements. About one-quarter identified R&D gaps as an important issue for the industry.
Many of these topics will be discussed at the Farming Together forum, which will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on June 6.
The no-cost event is sponsored by the Australian Government and has attracted attendees from all Australian states, across a range of agricultural enterprises.
Farming Together project leader Lorraine Gordon said: “Among the commodity groups, we have a strong representation among horticulture and beef – showing grower appetite for the forum’s message of forming collaborative groups and producer co-ops.
“The special session we are running on Big Data has obviously hit the spot for croppers too; nearly 12% of attendees are from that industry,” she added.
Spaces for the day-long conference are limited. Bookings can be made online at www.farmingtogether.com.au . The survey is part of the booking process.
Respondents have used the opportunity to comment on the issues of focus for them. Several highlighted information gaps they saw within their industries.
“One of our challenges is to create awareness how suitable leasing or sharefarming can meet the changing needs of ageing farmers, who may also be absentee landholders or investors,” said one respondent.
Another specified: “Developing cattle management software and co-operative business relationships for sharing expensive data inputs like animal weighing equipment.”
Other replies have mentioned a need to ensure farmers benefit from carbon trade, the issue of data ownership/value and also conversion of more farming practices to organic methods.
Ms Gordon said: “We invite everyone to register for this mind-expanding forum. And, while you are at it, share your thoughts on what you consider the most important issues in our increasingly important agricultural industry.”