Before I share the rest of the trip, I’d like to share some of my thoughts.
Australia is a big country, comparable to the US in size of the land mass. But way fewer people. The US has about 325.7 million to only 24.13 million people in Australia. About a fourth of the population of Australia was not born there, or about six million people. I thought this was a big number until I researched the US to find out we have forty million people not born here. That is more than the total population of Australia!
Most farms in Australia are large. Farming and ranching are extremely difficult. The weather can be extreme, to wet, to dry. Financing is difficult, 30 to 50% down makes it difficult to get started. But this is understandable with the risk. All of the farmers talked about very little support from the government. But the estate planning was much simpler. No estate or capital gains tax to close relatives.
In Iowa, we pretty much do not change what we grow. We are spoiled with a good network of infrastructure and markets. In Australia, crops are grown for what they anticipate to be the best market. Every year can be a different crop. Most are exported to Asia. They must anticipate what imports those countries will allow. Chickpeas had been a profitable crop the last two years, but now India had slapped on a sixty percent tariff.
Everywhere we went, rainwater was collected. From rooftops funneled into tanks, or creeks into holding basins……..water was very precious! We drove by a huge lake that had gone dry in the eighties! As we were leaving Australia, we were being told of the floods up north, and since we have been home, I keep getting pictures of the devastation those floods are causing.
And now for the rest of the story……….
We visited a winery and we enjoyed a little wine tasting. (Always a requirement)
We also visited a small dairy, that had added a plant to process milk. He was also buying the milk from five area dairy farms, giving them a market.
Before we flew back to Sydney, we had a couple of interesting presentations from two group, the Grain Research Development Group. This is a group similar to our commodity groups. They do research and development with the check-off dollars. In the last two years, they spent $198 million on projects. The National Farmers Federation is a group similar to our Farm Bureau. They are like an umbrella group over the commodity organizations.
We did enjoy some sights in Canberra. Canberra is the Capitol of Australia, and we visited Parliament House. And there was an amazing peak above to look down on the city. From this advantage point, we even observed some of the wildlife. Many kangaroos, and exotic birds
To end this adventure to Australia, we flew from Canberra back to Sydney. We visited a bank, the Stock Exchange, and saw many beautiful sites. I’ll let the pictures, most of which you will recognize, finish this blog.
Hope you enjoy………I did!!