Your reports about
drought relief and goverment support refer to “farmers” as a general
group. You should distinguish between the different types of farmers.

The
graziers and wheat and rice cockies are old money. They have large
properties. For many years there was a wool floor price and a wheat
floor price. And
the lambs were an exception to the US Free Trade
Agreement. The graziers and wheat and rice cockies generally support
the Nationals.

In contrast, the fruit farmers have no floor
price. The fruit farmers have been crucified by imports, especially
Californian oranges. No exceptions to the free trade agreements for
them. The fruit farmers generally support Labor.

And Andrew Milne writes:

J.F. Smith’s opening paragraph points out with stunningly broken
logic, that drought conditions are normal in Australia. Need I point
out that drought conditions are, by definition, not normal? Have you
seen commercials on television imploring you to use less water? No
doubt these to are a waste of tax payer money? This self serving,
condescending tale of woe for the taxpayer holds absolutely no water at
all (forgive the pun).

Risk
management of El Nino weather patterns is frankly pretty laughable.
Like expecting your local baker to deal with two years of no flour,
expecting farmers to have a sensible contingency plan for 2-3 years of
no or low production is unrealistic. Smith goes on to paint swathes of
farmers, many who have been in the game for generations, with the
insulting notion that they don’t know enough to “monitor soil quality”
or undertake “pasture improvement programs” or even “monitor
operational overheads”. Give us a break. These are core farming
principals, without which I’m quite sure you couldn’t grow a consistent
patch of weed, much less a salable quantity of anything.

Farmers
operate in a brutal market economy, competing with third world labour –
without the protections of tariffs (unlike our new free trading US
partners). They do so under massive pressure to look after our
beautiful landscapes and are supposed to be impervious to a sustained,
crippling drought?

Smith is no doubt happy with Australia’s
cheap, first class food and wines … yet agressively against
supporting the families which produce it, during El Nino periods. I
reckon (to throw in a much maligned phrase) that’s pretty un-Australian.