State Government’s praise of Reef farmers highlights only a hint of work being done in agriculture

The State Government’s acknowledgement of how agriculture’s practices have contributed to the improved quality of water flowing into the Great Barrier Reef is vindication of what AgForce and industry have been saying for years.

On Sunday, Minister for the Environment and Great Barrier Reef Meaghan Scanlon said she wanted to “acknowledge farmers and graziers for their efforts to move away from using practices that pose a high risk to water quality.”

She added that “sugarcane…growers in the Wet Tropics and Burdekin regions were the main contributors to…a positive 2018-2019 result through improving their nutrient and irrigation management.”

The result was taken from the Reef Water Quality Report Card 2019 released earlier this year and showed the Burdekin and Wet Tropics regions had recorded the largest increase in best practice nutrient management for sugarcane, up 6.3 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively.

AgForce Cane President Ricky Mio said these results were indicative of the incredible work being done throughout the whole of agriculture.

“AgForce has been trying to get the message across for a long time now that agriculture isn’t the villain when it comes to the Reef,” Mr Mio said.

“For years we have been improving our practices and playing our part in looking after the environment, including the Reef.

“The science backs us up. But that still doesn’t stop green groups cherry-picking and manipulating the science to suit their agendas and lay the blame at our feet.”

AgForce Reef Taskforce Chair Alex Stubbs said that despite all the great work being done by agriculture, new requirements for expanded commercial cropping, fodder, biofuels, and horticulture will still commence on June 1.

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