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Tue 04, Sep 2018

You may have noticed that the AIA has recently published an Energy Policy. This is now available on our website here.

The cost of inputs for Australian agricultural production are rising. This increasing cost base, which includes various sources of energy, including electricity, gas, and liquid fuels, is contributing to the reduction in our agricultural productivity. Energy management, including its generation, purchase, and on-site use, are important issues for primary producers and the agricultural sector more broadly, including product processing and further into the supply chain including food manufacturing. While energy is only one input into the farming sector, it impacts every producer.

Our organisation, which represents advisors, scientists and specialists across Australian agriculture, clearly has a stake in the productivity of Australian primary producers and has an important role in influencing the farm sector. Our members provide an important interface between primary producers and the energy supply chain. As professionals, AIA members are expected to be informed on matters of energy management and be able to broker advice on this important production system input. AIA members should be informed of the principles of sound energy management and we need to be prepared to provide or broker advice from reliable sources.

Through an awareness of the importance of energy as an input into agricultural production, AIA members will help ensure primary producers have the opportunity to improve energy productivity in their production systems, that is, the agricultural output per unit of energy input.

Once taken for granted as a secure and relatively predictable input into farming systems, energy is rarely off the front pages in Australia. We know producers are always finding ways of being more innovative to tackle the challenges they face. I think we will find energy management in Australian agriculture will continue to change as new sources come online and as producers adapt to the rising prices, and their need for more secure sources of this critical farming input continues to increase.

Turlough Guerin

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