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Since European settlement, agricultural land management in Australia has followed a familiar trajectory of the kind Alfred Crosby (1993) labels `ecological imperialism'. The trajectory has two complementary stages. In the first stage, the task is conceived as transformative. The pressing demand is for the `neo-Europeanisation' of the landscape: to modify and reshape the native environment so as to make it possible to pursue European-style agricultural practices and forms of production. Given the impact of such transformative practices, the second stage of the `imperialist' land management trajectory is overtly extractive and developmental: to render the transplanted European agricultural methods and forms of production as productive as possible in the alien but `domesticated' agricultural environment.

There are, however, signs that a third kind of agricultural land management regime is gradually emerging. This time the land management task is not envisaged as primarily transformative and exploitative -- though such goals are not abandoned -- but as a matter of preserving and shaping ecologically viable practices of agricultural production (Campbell 1994). Such an approach is, in one sense, `conservative' -- for it begins by looking at the ecological sustainability of existing agricultural practices -- but in another, potentially `radical' in so far as it involves uncovering and exploring the possibilities of more ecologically sensitive and viable patterns of agricultural production (Williams 1995; Archer 1997).

This third, and still largely prospective, style of sustainable agricultural land management has been prompted by environmental problems of land and water resource degradation and by developments in environmental and natural resource studies of the ecological space in which agricultural enterprises take place (Campbell 1994; Brown 1998).(1) That the change is still in large part prospective may be explained by a constellation of factors which can be usefully divided between those essentially internal to the productive practices which shape existing systems of agricultural production, and those that are largely external. Internal factors hindering or furthering the development of ecologically viable patterns of agricultural production are factors which can be addressed by changes in farming practices at an individual and industry level; while external factors hindering or furthering such development are those which imply changes on the broader social and political planes.

In this paper we focus on those internal factors which bear on ecologically viable agricultural production; and suggest a model for encouraging agricultural producers in the practices of sound ecological farm-management which aims, on the one hand, to avoid an over-dependence on individual voluntarism, and, on the other, excessive faith in imposed political authority. This model builds on a conception of farming as a self-accrediting, self-policing profession in the way that (for example) medical practitioners and lawyers constitute a profession; and is intended as an ecologically informed development of so-called `whole farm planning.' (Garrett 1993). We assume the pressing ecological need for such a model and show that there are good reasons, from a strictly economic point of view, for the agricultural producer to embrace such land management changes. We argue that there are already available, in the form of the National Farmers' Federation (NFF) and state-based Farmers' Associations, the bodies necessary to champion the professionalisation of farming; and, in the form of experienced non-governmental community based land management bodies such as Greening Australia and the World Wide Fund for Nature, the requisite expertise and liaison skills essential for the effective facilitation, development and implementation of ecologically viable strategies of agricultural production. Finally, we offer some brief remarks on possible connections between this focus on the internal factors of production and those external factors -- primarily concerned with the operations of the agricultural market -- which lead many to a premature pessimism on the possibilities for sustainable agriculture.

Professional farming

The idea that farming might be a profession, not only in the sense of providing an income for the farmer, but also of constituting a distinctive body of knowledge and set of practical skills which the individual practitioner is both expected and required to master before being unleashed onto the landscape as an agricultural producer, is a largely alien one in the Australian context. Traditionally, those who have worked the land have been classified either as `graziers' -- that is, as bearers of inherited money, property and prestige whose schooling is aimed at producing `gentlemen' -- or else as `farmers' or `farm workers', a status (or lack of it) felt to be characterized more by the possession of hard-working `commonsensical know-how', than anything which might be facilitated and developed by learning and implementation strategies (Curtis & DeLacy 1996; Chambers 1997; Miller & Curtis 1997). But while the Australian rural ethos may, over its history, have had a decidedly anti-intellectual tone, an increasing concern for professional farming has found expression in the development of agricultural schools and the emergence of Agricultural Science and Natural Resource Management as options for tertiary education. However, as the National Farmers' Federation freely admits, it remains the case that in general the Australian farm workforce continues to be poorly educated compared with their First World competitors and other sectors of the Australian business community (National Farmers' Federation Research Paper 1996).

An irregularly educated agricultural sector creates difficulties for the implementation of ecologically viable schemes of agricultural land management. Governments and farmers have themselves recognized the problem which inadequate training and education creates for efficient farming, and have, through various learning initiatives -- from accredited tertiary studies and other formal courses, through to informal programs such as field days and crop monitoring groups -- sought to remedy the deficiency. However, the emphasis on voluntary participation has undermined much of the effectiveness of these initiatives. All too often the upshot of an otherwise admirable concern for absolute voluntarism has been that those most in need of such education refrain from obtaining it. The majority of farmers who undertake further education, for example, are those who have been previously engaged in formal education (Kilpatrick 1999). Further, even where education is available and taken up by agricultural producers, it is often in a rather haphazard way, rather than in a learning environment tailored to the local concerns of the participants with engagement in their own farm and property management.(2) For these reasons we would like to see such educative efforts appropriately structured and offered as part of a compulsory self-accreditation scheme.

The proposal that farming, like the law, medicine, accountancy or psychology, be treated as a profession, and as such involve a publicly recognised system of self-imposed skill-based licensing or accreditation for practitioners -- in short, that there be developed a Professional Farming System -- contains at least two crucial ideas. The first is that economically efficient and ecologically viable agricultural production cannot be treated as a matter of simple `commonsense' that has no need of educational nurturing or scientifically validated information. Nor is it an easily transmissible practical skill in the way that riding a bicycle is. It involves the dedicated acquisition of bodies of economic and ecological knowledge, along with research skills which cannot be acquired by rote training, but only through interactive study and continuing assessment. It is this `interactive' or adaptive approach to farm management that is of central importance (Kolb 1984; Savory 1988; Walters & Holling 1990). There are, of course, no set answers to what any particular sustainable farming enterprise will look like; however, a system of professionalised accreditation and auditing would ensure that farmers' real activities are continuously geared towards both economic and ecological quality improvement. While the detailed development of a Professional Farming System would obviously be a major project, our suggestion is not for another `course'. We suggest as a starting point that available agricultural and ecological education programs become part of a professional accreditation framework where professional assessment is linked to on-the-ground competency -- with self-monitoring and an audit process providing evidence of movement from unsustainable to sustainable land management practices.

The second constituent idea is that of standards of professional responsibility and liability. Professional associations like the Bar distinguish and dignify their members' occupation by attaching to its performance certain specified standards of practice and probity, failure to meet which may result in censure, even expulsion from the professional body, hence the withdrawal for a time of the legally recognised fight to practise. We are suggesting a comparable system of professional responsibilities for agricultural producers. While such an approach is inherently discriminatory, it is considered no sin in general to discriminate against the inept, corrupt or incompetent. On the contrary, professionalisation of this kind tends to raise the status and prestige of the occupational group both among its own members and in the eyes of the broader community. Such a result is to be welcomed when the professionalised skills may play an important role in people's lives. Indeed many professional associations develop their systems of accreditation and (self-) regulation precisely because, and in recognition, of their potential impact on the lives of their clients. It is just this potential impact, and its possible adverse consequences, which these associations seek to responsibly manage. So far as possible, then, professionalisation involves the effective management of such risks by the internalizing devices of accreditation, on which arise the structures of professional responsibilities and the hazards of professional liability. This is an idea of crucial significance for ecologically viable agricultural production. Too often, harmful or otherwise undesirable agricultural practices have been sustained and even encouraged -- at the expense of the good name and status of agricultural producers generally -- by the possibility of externalizing the risks and costs of those practices across a community of non-consenting others. Though it might be a permanent temptation to externalise costs and privatise benefits this way, one element of professionalisation is precisely to stand up to, and combat, such temptations, and to do so in a way that facilitates effective risk management. For professional associations also function as mutualised insurance communities in which individual misfortune, if not vicious or otherwise culpable, is managed in a cost-effective way through actuarially calculated premium settings (Wells & Lynch 2000; Lynch & Wells 2001).

The risk management dimension to professionalisation encourages the efficient use of members' resources. This is an important point. For while existing farmers' organisations like the NFF might be suitable bodies through which professionalisation might occur, they are not at present professional bodies but essentially political lobby groups; and, as such, subject to temptations which encourage the inefficient displacement and investment of resources (Magee et al. 1989(3)). In particular, the prospect of successfully shaping or manipulating political outcomes -- in areas like tax minimisation, government subsidies and tariff protection -- may lead to over-investment in the political process at the expense of more productive investment in the farming sector itself. This problem is magnified when, within the sector, various bodies spend resources competing against each other for members. Instead of a benign `hidden hand' maximising the well-being of all, we may have operating instead an `invisible foot', with resources expended in political competition which might be better directed to intelligent economic investment. The professionalisation of such bodies, with its requirements of a demonstrable competency, might well discourage such political investments for more more productive investment in the sector itself.

Finally we note perhaps the most immediate objection to our proposal: that it runs foul of a strong notion of private property, supposedly shared by many farmers, according to which external political authority stops at the fence line. To the degree that this view is held, it clearly poses a problem for our approach. We do not, however, believe that the view is widespread (which is not to say that for rhetorical purposes, and in the heat of argument, it -- or similar sentiments -- might not be asserted). After all, the farming sector is already characterised by various industry-wide bodies which, on the side of quality controlled production and marketing strategies, involve self-imposed standards and requirements on individual producers. Experience has shown that farmers are more than willing to cooperate in coordinating management practices which stretch beyond their land so long as that cooperation makes clear management sense; and that they are often willing, in such cases, to exploit the constructive possibilities of facilitating political authority (Curtis 1991; Curtis & Wright 1993; Frost et al. 2000).(4) Their objection is to direct and coercively backed interventions of government agents or agencies into such planning processes themselves. For not always spurious reasons, many agriculturalists are immediately suspicious of such direct governance, suspecting governments of endemic duplicity (`hidden agendas'), a constitutional insensitivity to the nature and demands of local circumstances, inevitable bureaucratic wastefulness, and a propensity to pander to the often uninformed views of non-stakeholders. For these reasons we are suggesting a gradualist approach to full professionalisation in which the role of government is to shape the political environment for effective professionalisation, not to interfere in the day-by-day operations of the sector (the role of Government would be, as it were, deistic rather than theistic). In this regard, we stress the advisability of drawing on the expertise of reputable non-government organisations, well-respected in the agricultural community for demonstrated ecological expertise and a proven sensitivity to the economic demands farmers face, in delivering the environmental auditing skills we envisage a professional farming body would want to develop.(5)

Ecologically sustainable agriculture

If we accept the general validity of this case for the professionalisation of farming, then we must also accept that economic efficiency and ecological viability define the competency requirements of the profession. In this section we propose a model for professional farming which embodies the requirements of ecological viability -- a model that develops from, but essentially complements, the narrow economic focus of the whole farm planning movement.

Whole farm planning has been around for more than a decade, its most recent practical manifestation being the `Farming For the Future' program in New South Wales (Brouwer et al. 1999; Garrett 1993).(6) While there is much to be said for a planning approach that goes beyond simple production values to incorporate modelling and mapping of the whole farm enterprise, the focus of such planning has been on sustaining the farm business through improvements in efficiency, business management principles, technology transfer, and accounting systems that do not internalise (so incorporate as a cost) the environmental degradation associated with such practices. This means not only that such planning approaches are environmentally problematic, but that they also misconstrue economic efficiency and agricultural productivity as short-term phenomena. Such misinterpretation is encouraged by the operation of the discount rate for cost-benefit analyses, with the unfortunate consequence that trends in profitability and productivity -- which, over the medium and longer term are economically of more importance than any short-term data are systematically obscured.

It is a platitude that over the long-term ecological and economic concerns coincide. The difficulty is not to recognize this, but to give that recognition practical effect in an agricultural environment which is often insistently short-term in its economic perspective. We indicate below how the professionalisation of farming might help address this problem, but for the moment simply describe the ecologically informed reforms that need to be made to whole farm planning. In particular, we emphasize the place of adaptive self-monitoring in encouraging an informed awareness among farmers of economic-ecological interdependence and in developing first-hand knowledge of the relevant processes. An essential prerequisite to such processes is to design and develop an effective scheme for the environmental auditing of agricultural production units; for only against such a system of background knowledge do monitoring processes become more than expressions of good intentions.

An ecologically informed system of professional farming would certainly include the preparation of a Land Management Plan for individual farms. Such a plan would, on the basis of local and scientific knowledge, propose a sustainable land management system that involved the seasonal or annual monitoring of environmental and production parameters, along with action plans for applying management practices or specific actions to minimize land degradation. It is clearly advisable that such a management system be designed for self-regulation in the use of `best land management practices' to maintain a code for the assessment of various land components like soil, vegetation and biodiversity. A key reason for emphasizing self-regulation and self-monitoring is the need for real participation to build commitment. Another reason, and one just as important, is to ensure that the `local knowledge' of farmers and others concerned with land management (for instance, those involved in the reconstructive work undertaken by bodies like Greening Australia) is not lost or devalued, but effectively accessed and utilised. Thus traditional management practices of active adaptive planning might be developed with ecological concerns in mind, a process which would involve understanding the present contextual environment and farm operation, developing desired future operations, determining issues to assist or deter the farm in reaching its desired goals, and then developing an appropriate action plan. In general, the emphasis would be on exhibiting sensitivity to the particular ecological problems posed by agricultural impact on the local bio-region and developing a solution through local actions. Hence, in one bio-region, dieback and de-vegetation might be identified as of prime ecological concern, while in another dryland salinity might be the first priority. As farmers learn and adapt within a framework of economic and ecological need, specific land management goals would follow accordingly (Curtis et al. 1995; Freudenberger 1999; Savory 1988; Williams et al. 1998; Walters & Holling 1990). One element of ecological competency for a dieback region, for example, might be practising `strategic re-vegetation': that is, understanding the benefits for overall production ends of retaining and maintaining native vegetation and exhibiting knowledge of appropriate trees and locations for replanting on de-vegetated properties (McIntyre et al. 2000; Carr & Jenkins 2000).

We are not here concerned with the technical construction of such auditing procedures as they are presently being addressed through the Commonwealth-funded Natural Land and Water Resources Audit, the National Collaborative Program for Indicators of Sustainable Agriculture, and the State of the Environment reporting process (Commonwealth of Australia 1996; Walker & Reuter 1996; Saunders et al. 1998; Tait et al. 2000;; It is worth noting, however, that in terms of recognising the practical experience and knowledge already held by farmers and farming organisations, an appropriately consultative system of Recognition of Prior Learning could be incorporated into the development of the accreditation, self-monitoring and audit process. This might go some way to alleviating concerns that the whole auditing process not be undermined by some easily avoidable policy decisions; in particular -- and as occurs all too often in the Australian rural context -- that a heavy-handed government centralism not alienate many in the agricultural community.

Incentives for professional farming

The argument for a professional farming system which eschews as far as practicable direct government authority and intervention in the pursuit of efficient strategies for ecologically sustainable agriculture may seem somewhat quixotic in the context of our call for an accreditational qualification framework for agricultural producers and continuous assessment based on such devices as environmental auditing. But this would be to misunderstand the nature of, and hopes behind, our proposal.

The first point is that we expect farming organisations to welcome and embrace the process of professionalisation. Professions of the kind we have in mind are self-accrediting and self-policing, and are so because of the benefits they find in ensuring competency -- by means which avoid the need for heavy-handed external interventions. We shall say more on these advantages below, but one more immediately relevant point has been made by the National Farmers' Federation itself in a 1996 Research Paper entitled `Change, Training and Profitability'. As the points from that paper listed below make clear, education and accredited learning, however provided, have had a positive impact on farm viability:

* Farm businesses which have agricultural qualifications within the management team are more profitable than other farm businesses.

* Those which engage in training are more profitable than other farm businesses.

* More profitable farm businesses participate in more training events than less profitable businesses.

* Farm businesses which engage in training are more likely to make changes to their practice which improve or are expected to improve long term profitability and viability.

* The businesses which make changes to their practice which improve or are expected to improve long term profitability and viability are more profitable than those which make no changes.

These findings highlight the real returns to be expected from participation in programs of continuing education and learning; which returns can only be expected to increase if the relevant learning builds commitment through its defining role in the professionalisation of farming. Indeed, the wide dissemination of such findings might itself play a crucial role in getting the process of professionalisation off the ground. (This same paper indicates that at present around 36% of farmers believe that any on-farm work requirement overrides the call or attraction of any off-farm learning activities [Kilpatrick 1999].)

Our appeal is to the enlightened self-interest of farmers and the farming community. In practice, as we readily concede, such enlightened self-interest will more likely develop and be utilised if the process of professionalisation emerges from within the farming community, rather than being demanded by external authority. Thus the transition from the present situation to the professionalised arrangement can be expected to of a gradualistic kind which involves distinctively voluntaristic elements.

For example -- and quite apart from the projection of better medium to long term returns from more adequate sustainable planning-- we propose that certain regulatory and administrative policies be put in place which act as incentives, rather than as coercive devices, for the movement towards professionalised farming. There is good reason to favour the introduction of immediate financial benefits for engaging in the proposed educative enterprise and encouraging its application to existing agricultural practices. Such financial incentives might include, but would certainly have to go beyond, simple welfare payments, tax breaks, or the overt subsidies offered by initiatives like the Farm Business Improvements Scheme. While in some special cases such initiatives might be necessary to get the self-monitoring, accreditation, audit process off the ground, it is never a good idea to try and build commitment to novel and sometimes demanding practical changes on the basis of what are essentially `handouts'.(7) Rather than passive welfarist projects, active forms of assistance should be encouraged. Thus, for instance, farmers who make, or are making, a genuine effort to move towards adopting an ecologically viable land management system of farming should be eligible to apply for low interest Landcare loans, or directed Landcare grants. These grants and loans could be paid directly to farmers for investment in land improvements that are in line with the management changes identified in the sustainability audits. Connections of this kind would also encourage farmers to undertake such auditing in the first place. Rather than capital improvements attracting an increased rate of land tax, if those improvements further the aims of ecological viability they should either be excluded in such calculations, or -- as the benefits of such improvements count as positive externalities for the broader community -- be discounted against the assessed land value. A more coercively inflected strategy (to be so used, if at all, only sparingly) would be to directly tie certain forms of rural assistance, like the Rural Adjustment Scheme and Exceptional Circumstances payments, to evidence of such a move towards Professional Farming. This is simply to scratch the surface. Many other forms of incentive-based assistance and rewards are readily conceivable, and the possibilities should be actively explored.

A note on external factors

Before closing the argument, we should mention very briefly the major external problem facing an ecologically viable farming system. That problem lies with the low level of returns for agricultural products to the producer; a level of return which in part reflects a failure of the pricing mechanism in the agricultural sector to adequately reflect the full social and environmental costs of production, but much more significantly, in the Australian case, reflects the unchecked power of off-farm manufacturing and retailing oligopolies. While we most certainly do not have a full solution to this problem, we wish to suggest that a fully professionalised system of farming of the kind we have been recommending has within it the kernel of a more rational pricing system. After all, two of the advantages of professional associations lie in their monopolistic capacity to control entry to the relevant field, and to reliably guarantee the consumer of the high quality of the goods or services provided. These two capacities allow such associations to exercise a little more influence on the price their abilities, skills and commodities command than in open-access areas of the economy. In non-professionalised fields, it is too easy (and indeed, virtually inevitable) that the unscrupulous and inept will play on client and consumer ignorance so as to offer inferior goods or services at prices which undercut those demanded by the more expensive practices of reputable producers and suppliers. However, when suppliers bind themselves into a professional association, even if they are in a competitive environment, the demands set by the incurred professional responsibilities and enforced by the association if only for reasons of enlightened self-interest, act so as to place a floor under the relevant pricing possibilities.


No one today would deny the need for an efficient and ecologically viable agricultural sector, and particularly not when faced with the largely marginal lands available for agriculture in Australia. To ensure such an outcome it is not enough to make the point -- valid though it is w that medium to long term economic returns cannot be achieved at the cost of unsustainable ecological impacts. What is required is a professionalisation of the agricultural sector which insists on the relevant ecological practices and returns. Such a professionalisation of farming would not only allow the development of an economically rational form of agricultural production, but would also have general benefits for the agricultural sector in terms of the community status and prestige of its members. It would provide a powerful framework through which practices of self-regulation and self-monitoring could occur without overt government intrusion, and might even make some contribution to improving the pricing structure for agricultural goods so as to better internalise the full costs of production. More than this, such a professionalisation of farming, if pursued along the lines we have sketched here, has the capacity to build strong relations between non-government environmental bodies and the farming sector, and to do so in such a way that promises the development and consolidation of that local environmental knowledge necessary for the efficient use and continuing viability of bio-regional environmental resources.


(1.) It is widely documented that the Australian landscape faces serious and numerous environmental problems. For example, it is estimated that the area of land affected by dryland salinity will spread from 2.5 million ha to 15.5 million ha in the medium term unless systemic action is taken. This problem is the result of the reduction in tree cover through land clearing and the subsequent loss of transpiration potential of woodland and forest trees. The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and NFF indicate that the cost of land degradation overall is $2 billion per annum, which is half the net annual value of rural production. At present, federal government spending is about $0.5 billion. Both the ACF and NFF suggest that we would need to spend approximately $60 billion over the next 10 years to have a chance at solving our land degradation problems (Rothwell 2000).

(2.) In 1984-85, prior to the `Decade of Landcare', the National Soil Conservation Program had an ongoing program of funding land conservation groups, which deserves credit for first recognising the potential of local community group based solutions to land degradation. The 1988 historic partnership between the NFF and the ACF recognised land degradation as Australia's biggest environmental problem and called for government support of a bottom-up, grass roots and farm-based initiatives resulting in a new Landcare Program. Based on NFF and ACF documents and parliamentary advice, Prime Minister Hawke launched the `Decade of Landcare' in the 1989 Statement on the Environment, supported by $340 million in funds. Landcare groups developed; these were basically a group of people with various private interests concerned about land degradation problems and interested in working together to do something positive for the long term health of the land. The challenge identified for the first stage of the Decade of Landcare was to increase the adoption of sustainable land management practices by land managers. The move towards a professionalisation of farming would provide coherence to the second stage aim, `integrating the management of land, water and biological resources' (The Decade of Landcare Plan -National Overview, 2001).

(3.) The authors develop this point in the context of endogenous tariff policy, but it naturally extends to other endogenous political processes.

(4.) This cooperation is illustrated by the `transformed' catchment Landcare experience as documented by Frost et al. (2000: 107): `Individuals in these catchments have extended their horizons of concern from their own farms to consider the needs of the wider catchment and indeed the landscape. In most situations the West Australian catchment groups formed in response to salinity. However, as these groups matured, other concerns, including nature conservation, have been added to the groups' agenda. The processes and partnerships integral to the shift from the "original" to the "transformed catchment" are the foundations on which greater awareness of broader landscape or catchment issues, such as ecological health, occur.'

(5.) In the Northern Tablelands region of New South Wales, for example, the staff at the local Greening Australia office are ideally placed to play the role of an independent auditing body in a way that, say, government agencies are not. Over more than a decade Greening Australia has worked with landholders in ongoing and effective efforts at reversing the effects of dieback and tree decline. It has signed agreements with numerous landholders to protect and manage designated areas of their land for nature conservation and over 4,500 ha have been set aside for this purpose in the bioregion; whereas in other areas, government bodies -- typically with more financial resources -- have been almost entirely unsuccessful in convincing landholders to set aside such areas. Greening Australia has been engaged for over a decade in planting stands of trees and monitoring environmental components in the agricultural community which provide it with much of the data and experience necessary for carrying out a comprehensive process of environmental auditing at least in this bioregion.

(6.) `Farming for the Future' is a joint program of NSW Agriculture, the Department of Land and Water Conservation, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW), the Farmers' Training Company NSW and the National Landcare program (supported and funded through the National Heritage Trust). The program's general philosophy is that planning is not about predicting the future but being prepared for it. As we argue, effective preparation needs to take into account sound ecological practices.

(7.) It is a singular example of the reach of self-deception that many in the rural sector are favourable to assaults on the unemployed as `welfare dependent' while they themselves are bound into a far more pervasive and often far more rewarding system of welfare entitlements. The defence for the externalization of agricultural costs on the wider community -- that `the country rides on the agriculturist's back' -- is difficult to offer with a straight face when the sector constitutes less than 5% of Australia's GNP. In the context of the most highly urbanised nation on earth, such a self-serving approach from the agricultural sector promises to exacerbate urban hostility, not defuse it.


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Tony Lynch lectures in Politics and Philosophy at the University of New England. Bert Jenkins is Acting Regional Manager, Greening Australia North West Region. Annette Kilarr is an independent researcher.
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Title Annotation:ecologically sustainable agriculture
Author:Lynch, Tony; Jenkins, Bert; Kilarr, Annette
Publication:Australian Journal of Social Issues
Article Type:Industry Overview
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:May 1, 2001

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Award-winning EnviroQuest tells `good stories' about stewardship efforts. (Thinking Outside The Box).
Young farmers tell of their vision for future; farming.
WALES: Welsh farms 'must change or decline' Think tank in shock warning to Assembly.
Welsh farming faces a twin-track futur; FARM & COUNTRY.
farming: Charity ploughs cash into training hopefuls.

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