Farmers’ unions have been vocal about farm-to-fork in Australia for years, arguing it threatens the livelihoods of millions of farmers and creates huge distortions in food markets.
They’ve also warned that farmers are increasingly pressured into abandoning their traditional practices and relying on cheaper, inferior, or no-name feed.
They say they’re fed by multinational companies that use them as a cheap source of cheap protein, while at the same time taking the profit away from farmers.
But in Australia, the farm-by-fork system remains largely unproven, with only a handful of examples.
There’s no federal law that governs the practice, which has no clear rules for the farm animals that are fed.
“It’s been in existence for a long time, and there’s not been a single instance of it in Australia,” said Tom Bancroft, the president of the Australian Farmers’ Federation.
“There are cases where farmers do feed livestock to one another but that’s a very small percentage of the population.”
Bancrop, a retired dairy farmer, is one of them.
He has two cows, a 10-year-old and a 12-year old.
“I don’t know how the market can continue to work if we can’t feed these animals the same thing,” he said.
“If the market is broken and we’re left without a source of supply, we’re going to lose a lot of our farms.”
‘They’re taking away our farms’ The Federal Government has set up a committee to look into the issue, with an aim of creating an enforceable farm-on-farm ban, and a national ban on farm-based meat and dairy products.
But Mr Bancroph, who runs the popular Australian Farmers Federation website, said farmers were already feeling the pressure.
“They’re going out of business and they’re losing their farms,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
Mr Banchrop said he was worried the Government was being too soft on farm farming, and urged it to be tougher. “
We’re in a position of trying to take away from these farmers the opportunity to be able to feed the community.”
Mr Banchrop said he was worried the Government was being too soft on farm farming, and urged it to be tougher.
“The farm is dying out and they’ve been taking away from our farms and putting us at risk,” he explained.
“Farmers are losing their farm and they are going out the door.”
Farmers’ organisations have also called for the Government to take a tougher stance on farm tofas, and have launched a new campaign to raise awareness about the industry.
The campaign, called ‘Feeding the Farmers’, features a number of farm animals and calls on Australians to feed them grass, hay, water and other staple products.
In the video, the cow is fed hay, while the dog is fed a hay bale.
“People are getting sick of farming, but they’re getting sick because they’re not getting any food,” Mr Bancherop said.
The video was inspired by a video posted on Facebook, where an owner posted a photo of his dog feeding grass.
“When we started the video we said ‘this is what a farm looks like’,” he said, “and we had a few people on it.”
MrBancrop said that farm tofa farms are becoming increasingly popular, and that he expected more farmers would flock to them in the future.
“That’s why I think we’re seeing a lot more people turning to the farm to fas, because it’s cheaper and it’s easier,” he added.
The Australian Farmers and Rural Organisations Association (AFRRA) has welcomed the campaign.
“These new trends in the farming industry are a welcome sign that more Australians are becoming aware of the value of a local farm,” AFRRA president Gary Williams said.
“We welcome the focus on the need for local producers to be in the forefront of the transition to a more sustainable industry.”
But Mr Williams also said there was a risk the Government’s new measures were not sufficiently tough.
“This Government has made a lot about the need to improve farming in the rural community, and it seems to be taking a bit of a back seat to the other pressures on the industry,” he warned.
Farmers want ‘no-name’ feed Farmers are also concerned that the government will not do enough to curb the industry’s growing popularity. “
But we’re hoping that this Government will work with industry and farmers to ensure the changes are well-thought through and that farmers get the support they need.”
Farmers want ‘no-name’ feed Farmers are also concerned that the government will not do enough to curb the industry’s growing popularity.
“No-name” food products are typically made with feed from a local farmer’s own cows, which are then pasteurized to remove contaminants.
But the practice has become increasingly popular with Australians in recent years.
“A lot of people want no-nonsense feed