Farmers are joining Twitter to campaign for a positive China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) for agriculture.September 2, 2014 3:00am
Farmers are joining Twitter to campaign for a positive China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) for agriculture.
Selfies and the Twitter hashtags #FTA4dairy and #FTA4farmers began surfacing on the social media platform last Wednesday.
The negotiations for the China FTA have been in the works since 2005 and a FTA for dairy exports would save the industry more than $30
Mead dairy farmer and North Central Catchment Authority board member Dianne Bowles milks 200 cows with her husband Gary and has been active on Twitter since 2009.
She said an FTA was vital to the dairy industry for it to be profitable in the future.
‘‘We have had other FTAs in the past, such as the FTA with Japan, which we didn’t benefit from,’’ Mrs Bowles said.
‘‘But a FTA with China will benefit every farmer and we need to work together — there is more power in the bigger number.’’
Undera dairy farmer and Australian Dairy Farmer of the Year finalist Sarah Parker is also on the Twitter bandwagon and milks 140 cows with her husband Raymond.
She said the FTA negotiations would be a win-win for all.
‘‘I’ve got a sister-in-law who is Chinese, so I can see it from both sides. There is so much demand for Australian dairy in China, but we are so limited by the trading costs and the prices are restricted,’’ Mrs Parker said.
‘‘People in China are growing in prosperity and wealth and want more access to fresh food. We supply for a boutique cheese company and there is a demand over there for soft cheese, so it’s an opportunity for us and a benefit to them.’’
An FTA for dairy would also create more jobs in the Australian dairy processing and manufacturing sectors.
The social media campaign was rallied by Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), the VFF and United Dairyfarmers of Victoria as Australia faces tariffs of up to 25 per cent on beef into China, 12 to 15 per cent on our lamb and other sheep meat and 10 to 15 per cent on dairy produce.
The ADF’s social media campaign officially began on Monday and urged dairy farmers and their supporters to take a selfie with their FTA message.
VFF president Peter Tuohey also told Country News an FTA would benefit dairy farmers.
‘‘If you go over to New Zealand where they have an FTA with China, the dairy farmers are making an extra $400
He said Twitter was a great tool to highlight the importance of the FTA to the agriculture industry.
‘‘You can reach such a wide audience with Twitter and help the wider community understand these issues and highlight them to the government,’’ Mr Tuohey said.
‘‘That’s the main idea — we want to get the message through to the Federal Government.
‘‘It’s a hard deal to make with a lot of commodities to negotiate. But we need a good deal across all the commodities.’’
Mr Tuohey said he encouraged all farmers to join the conversation and to Tweet their local members of parliament.
Two teenage boys have been arrested following a series of traffic incidents in Shepparton last night.
Fine weather and a strong number of athlete registrations will ensure this weekend’s Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival is another huge success.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
The head of the Building Designers Association of Victoria has big plans for the association.
St Joseph’s Primary School students have been preparing their push carts ahead of next month’s KidZcapers.
KCLC supported Southern Processing win award
Members celebrate over the weekend.
Berrigan Shire was this week approved for a low interest loan from the state government to undertake flood mitigation works.
Frank Hill is thrilled with his repaired 1948 grey Fergie.
As weather warms, so does car theft; Cobram police urge drivers to lock parked vehicles.
Deniliquin McDonald's raised more than $1300 for McHappy Day on Saturday.
Australian farmers are twice as likely to take their own lives as the general population, and university researchers want to know why.
Lions Benalla donates $1200 to buy a bar code reader for Lorraine Billman who will soon be able to go shopping without her husband.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.