Water — let the farmers have a fair crack at it all

By Riverine Herald

AGRICULTURE is a great industry to be involved in, according to Ross Berryman.

The sixth generation crop farmer from Thyra has been home on the family farm for 12 years.

And this week he said there were many amazing and positive things going on in Australian agriculture that were often overshadowed.

“Improvements in technology and agronomy have seen our yields increase, especially during the past five years — and we are extremely water efficient,” Ross said.

Irrigation makes up around 17 per cent of the Berryman land, in a good year (50-60 per cent NSW General Security Allocation) irrigated crops can produce around 40 per cent of their enterprise’s gross income.

“We are on a zero allocation this year and the general trend since I have been home on the farm appears to be a reduction in overall allocation by about 10 per cent.

“As a farmer you expect to have drought years but what we are experiencing this year is beyond that and is a direct consequence of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.”

Ross said the more he thinks about the MDBP the more he sees it as a black cloud looming over agriculture.

“There is a lack of accountability amongst the bureaucrats who have been implementing the plan and they seem to want to save one environment downstream, while wrecking our own natural environment here and eroding the river system, flooding the bush and taking irrigation and food production away from us.”

Ross wants the plan paused.

“We need a review of what is happening. Their needs to be accountability and studies into what is actually happening, and the impacts these decisions are having.

“If a farmer wasted water like the MDBA they wouldn’t survive too long, there really needs to be an independent look at what is happening.”