Knickers in a knot over cotton not fitting

Food and fibre producers across New South Wales are dismayed to see another little-known South Australian senator out and about in the media kicking farmers as they endure a third year of a crippling east-coast drought.

NSW Farmers President, James Jackson, said farmers were frustrated that unelected Centre Alliance senator, Rex Patrick, was proposing to ban cotton exports as part of a political stunt ahead of the coming Federal election.

“It is just wrong to say that banning the export of cotton, effectively banning the growing of cotton in Australia, will put more water in our rivers”, Mr Jackson said.

“Irrigators who grow cotton do so because they have the ability to use the water they buy legally for the best economic purpose they can.  Australia’s cotton growers are some of the most efficient cotton growers on the planet; irrigated cotton is only grown when there is sufficient water to grow it.”

“Every Australian farmer should be worried about this Stalinist approach from South Australia, where the Federal Parliament decides that it can dictate what can and cannot be grown on Australian farms.  The best people to decide how to use our finite farming resources are our farmers, not politicians sitting on green or red leather in Canberra”.

Mr Jackson said farmers across Australia needed friends, not enemies, as they fought to tackle the drought.

“Senator Patrick’s erroneous suggestion that banning the export of cotton will result in more water in our rivers underscores his lack of understanding about agriculture.  If he knew anything about agriculture he would know that irrigators use water within the limits of their allocation and any water left available by not growing cotton would be used for other crops, or sold to other irrigators, allowing them to continue to grow the food and fibre Australians rely on.”

“South Australian senators seem to have a ghoulish fascination with what is done outside the state’s borders.  They want to tell the rest of the country what to grow when and with what.  They have to stop flogging our farmers for political purposes – it helps no one, achieves nothing and will not improve the environment anywhere.”

“Farmers in New South Wales are disappointed that their reputation is being tarnished for base political purposes.  Senator Patrick’s stunt must be shown for what it is – any politician or political party supporting this motion deserves condemnation for demonstrating their lack of knowledge about water and lack of support for our farmers”, Mr Jackson said. 
Date: Monday 4 February 2019
Media Contact:  Kathleen Curry | Public Affairs Director | 0429 011 690