Wednesday, 19 January 2011

what are they all going to eat when farmers give up?

the latest brilliant idea from the cunning rats who run our state is to make farmers pay for water used from farm dams.
it's already impossible to make a living from a small-holding such as ours [470 acres] without working off the farm, unless of course you don't mind working 24/7 doing every single task yourself so as not to have to pay someone else.
at 52 that kind of back-breaking labour is getting well beyond me. which is one of the reasons why i wander about the whirled telling anyone who will listen how to get pretty colours out of leaves.

but back to the story.

farmers [and other landholders] already pay water tax. it's called "rates" and these rates are based on the value of the land. this may seem a mere coincidence, but observation shows [quite consistently] that the more rain falls on your property [in South Australia] the more highly it is valued and [consequently] the higher the council rates paid.

installing meters [at farmers' expense] on dams to make us pay for water used [bearing in mind we've already paid for the construction of the dam and all the infrastructure, unlike our city cousins who have it provided for them] is outrageous.

if i'm fortunate enough to inherit the family farm [and this is not a "given", my parents have every right to sell up and go live in luxury on the Queen Mary if they wish] then frankly "farming" is not going to be high on the agenda. i'm thoroughly sick of having to tag each animal with an electronically readable plastic tag. i'm tired of hearing farmers being accused of pillaging the land and emitting excessive rates of carbon [what about all the other industry emissions? the tricky chemicals the politicians can't spell?]
we've just been advised that as stock-owners we'll are required to pay an annual "epidemic tax" [in case some blight descends upon the herd/flock] and i'm not looking forward to the day when we are made to individually weigh our stock and pay methane emissions tax based on their possible gas output [and probably calculated on the basis of feed-lotting as opposed to paddock grazing]. we also had a letter from the MLA telling us that we've been chosen at random to have our "books inspected" to make sure we're not feeding meat products to our stock. what the? if i were stupid enough to feed meat products to ruminants [and unlike the idiots who fed scrapie-infected sheep carcasses to cattle and kicked of the BSE plague i don't], do they really think i'd be writing it all down in a book?

so i'm extremely unhappy about having to pay a water tax on top of maintaining pipes and pumps and associated paraphernalia.

after a cup of tea and a bit of thought, here's the development plan for 'Hope Springs', assuming i have anything to say in the matter.

* discontinue meat production [let the old cows retire in peace for the rest of their days] and only keep a flock of pet sheep [none of whose children will be sent to market]. plant lots more trees and let most of the place become a wild forest, keeping a bit of clear space around the houses so there's a chance of eluding the inevitable fires. [there are plenty of kangaroos to graze under the trees.]

* grow enough fruit and vegetables to feed the family and trade with the neighbours. carrying the water in buckets from the dam should keep us all quite fit, no need to go to the gym so there's another saving [not that i go anyway, he he]

* compose a lovely "nyah nyah i told you so" song to sing when the government starts bleating about food shortages because nobody wants to be a farmer any more

oh and while i'm having a food and farm rant - the next semi-vegetarian who tells me they don't eat meat on principle but DO eat kangaroo because it's a soft-footed native animal that doesn't damage the country might like to have a little think about how that soft-footed animal is "harvested".  these gentle creatures are chased at night by men in 4WD vehicles with spotlights and guns. they die in agony [very rare to knock an animal out with a clean shot to the head] and in terror.
don't tell me that's sustainable meat production.

sorry about the rant folks, but had to get it off my chest. time for a coffee and then back to the sewing room...

one more thing, as my friend from Soewnearth has kindly reminded me [see comments]....the other item on the grand plan is to consider the installation of meters on our rainwater tanks and charge us for usage as well... i may spontaneously combust at some point.


  1. I HEAR your rant - I UNDERSTAND your rant - I LIVE your rant on our farm (in NSW - where the pollies are just are stoopid and the masses will be just as starved when all the farmers are pushed off their land)

    I RAISE your rant..... (actually, I'll spare you - as when I get to ranting on this subject your blog will run out of paper before I run out of ranting!)

    Right now I'm thinking about all the farmers in flood affected areas (which is much more than just the state of queensland)- only we folk who live on and with the land can have any real idea of the mountain of work and woe facing these farms and farmers.... my heart breaks for them

    I hope the city pollies with the water tax and mandatory idiot electronic ear tags and feed audits (what the?!) and hyped up land rates and more-regulations-than-you-can-poke-a-dead-animal-at take a long hard stare at the situation - and get out of the way

    (ps if I have the family farm sometime in the future I want to build a special compost heap for pollies and their idiot public servant advisers - from their waste I will construct a yummy permaculture food forest and koala corridor.... )

    rant over.....

  2. It is very much the way you described it here in the states as well. Tax after tax and stupid regulation after stupid regulation. My family had to stop having livestock for production and start working off the farm, it was too restrictive and expensive trying to have a family-sized operation when all the rules and fees were designed with feed lots and huge producers in mind.

  3. I think you are being a little too catagorical about the future. When our lovely cows finally grow wings I bet my bottom dollar you will continue to keep one or three if only for their restful qualities.

    There is nothing nicer than leaning on a warm cow by a winter picnic fire after all.

  4. No farm in our family anymore and not for a very long while... but I hear you and completely understand your rant.
    Keep talking as more and more people need to be awaare of this.
    best wishes for a better future.

  5. Well thats me not ever eating roo meat at any posh nosh place here in the Uk thats for sure!
    Its been on menus a while now, ostrich too, though they may be locally bred, over near York come to think of it.
    I signed a petition recently to try and prevent them building a US style cow barn milking 'farm'. It would house, (initially) 3000 cows and theyd live in a HUGE barn with an odd hour or two outside. Here in Uk our fields have livestock in them grazing, apart from when there was BSE and then there were none...and it was so sad not seeing cows and sheep in the landscape.
    Our farmers also have 'jobs worths' passing rules ( frequently from the EU) and many farming families are falling by the wayside. I guess you lose the will to battle in the end.
    Rant away gal........I hear you!

  6. i hear you and empathise completely. i gave up my 100 ac block when i was 52 for some of the above reasons but miss it like mad. you could investigate turning it into a protected nature reserve and see if that diminishes the ridiculous taxes, or, just had an *ah hah* moment - a church!! no taxes ever. The Church of the Leaf, i'll be the first in your flock.

  7. Don't forget the tax on rainwater.
    Perhaps if you install wicking beds you wont have to bucket so much water.

  8. was that wicking beds for us to sleep in or wicking beds to grow the veggies.....

  9. I congratulate your rant! I only wish more people could read and hear it. The pollies and the multinationals are losing the plot to the point where farming here in Australia is becoming rapidly untenable. They should be supporting the small time farmers and producers - not taxing them more and more.It's like they are herding them off the land only to be taken over by coporatized feed lot farms where animals lose all quality of life. I dread to think what a farm life will be like in the future (if there is any!).
    Oh for the "Church of the Leaf" - we need this NOW!

  10. I love hearing your rant. Don't underestimate judgement of the State when regressive farm policies are planned. I am also a farm girl by raising. I have watched as farm after farm went under and was swooped up by large multi-nationals like Cargill. I drive through the Canadian Prairies and farmhouse and small towns are empty. Wheat is grown by companies. Organic seed production is challenged in court.
    Animals are put down and unsold if one corporate cow ends up with BSE or any other thing. "Pets" and "Wildlife" are also challenged.
    I drove through Britain and saw farms divided into small weekend "estates". Thank you for your agrarian effort. It is hard, hard work.

  11. Hi, I've just started following your blog and recently did a post about nature dyes which I linked you too. I love what you do and will definately drop in often to see what's going on.

    On the subject of water, we pay per drop out of the tap to the council and to power co for heating it. Some places in NZ also have to pay for grey water so every drop that is flushed/drained etc is paid for again. It's ridiculous that someone can be making so much money from a resource they didn't create!

  12. I love your rant it is so true. I heard on the TV today we will be getting apples imported from China. so when the stupid pollies have driven all the farmers off their land we will be able to buy all our food from overseas. Not this little black duck.

  13. Hi India - yours isn't a rant, it's a heartfelt plea for commonsense to prevail. Not that it appears commonsense carries much weight amongst the "decision makers". As for food from China? It hardly bears thinking about.

  14. What are they all going to eat when farmers give up?
    They, the pollies, will still have their own biological farms and the rest will eat factorymade food, because all fresh food will become extremely expensive!

  15. it just makes my stomach turn, all this foolishness. driving by a factory farm, or living in the neighborhood, is cause for sorrow. and fury. and a family farm...forget it.

  16. This is all so frustrating...and it makes me sad. I think we'd all better plant a few more fruit trees, get those home gardens going, and buy from the local family farms that are left as much as possible...

  17. In the words of Lemurian Adama, high priest of Telos....

    An enlightened government does not need to tax its people. Your taxing system is strictly a manipulative three-dimensional creation, spiritually immoral, demonstrating a primitive understanding of leadership and management.
    Any government or leadership compelled to tax their people so heavily in order to function financially demonstrates a sure sign of poor administration.

    Seriously Indi......I think you are high priestess of SA
    Knowledge is Power!

  18. go for it India - I think I am already a member of Church of the Leaf - I just didn't realise it - and think of all the tax breaks we could get as a Church!!!!!

    If people aren't familiar with the Transition Towns movement, they are worth a look

  19. thanks everyone for your thoughtful contributions. let's keep worshipping the leaf....

  20. Wow, farming family, red neck hard working hubby who would agree with all your points especially word for word re roo harvesting and idiot ill-informed city people who say we should all be eating kangaroo. Did you mention all the flies on the meat?
    Re taging and all the other audits,
    we try to comply but there is an over whelming amount of red tape, even the controllers can't keep up.
    Just waite a bit and they will change the rules. The auditers just want to tick the boxes and fill there quotas re audits.
    They don't really care.
    As long as you look like you are trying to comply they usually just fill in the paperwork and want go home, after collecting a big cheque for harrasing us farmers.
    A lot of this audit work is carried out under contract operators, it is just bureaucracy gone mad. Got to be seen to be doing something with the tax payers money.

    Aparently the MLA is up to selling out us meat producers to the green house groups, in order to make money for themselves. What is the world coming to? when our levies are used to investigate ways to get more money out of already over taxed farmers.
    Hang in there, and keep mixed farming alive, don't let the buggers who want to stop us win.
    Cheers Jan

  21. 2200 acres here.I spend lots of my time ticking boxes. we love our farm but carbon tax will see be the end. What about SA government selling the harvesting right for all our forests for the next 100 years, at rock bottom price to China....Jobs go , towns go...our roads will not be repaired when they harvest.
    family farms are being sold to international companies and no one cares. pollies will only have wood chips to eat soon. church of the Leaf....I'm in

  22. Bravo! We can only hope the stupid pollies develop vitamin deficiencies from eating stale and processed imported food.

  23. This was a very interesting rant. the farmers over here are struggling too, what with enforced E.U quotas and various taxes. In a perfect world all the land would be doled out so that everyone had an acre to self support, or at least have community land where all the locals could chip in and cover for those that were un-able for the heavy stuff.. for those of us that do eat the flesh, at least the animals concerned would have an excellent life and despatched quickly without the stress of transportation and be eaten in lesser quantities as a result.
    It was also interesting to hear what passes for a 'small holding' in Oz... lol, over here you would be considered a major player with that much land ;-)

  24. in the driest state on the driest continent [excepting of course La Nina years] 470 acres is probably equivalent in productivity to about 20 acres in [for example] Latvia...dunno about Ireland