28 May 2014 (Canberra) – Today’s Supreme Court of Western Australia decision in the Marsh v Baxter case reaffirms the foundation of cooperative farming irrespective of farming method and highlights the need for immediate Federal Government action to correlate Australia’s unrealistic organic marketing rules with international standards.

This decision emphasises the need for activists to stop creating unnecessary conflict between farmers and for the Australian organic industry to start seriously considering bringing their marketing rules in line with the rest of the world.

“Today’s decision is a victory for common-sense and confirms the long standing tradition of coexistence of all farming methods. The decision however reinforces the need for the Federal Government to take urgent action to prevent future unnecessary conflict caused by Australia’s flawed organic standards,” Matthew Cossey, Chief Executive of CropLife Australia said today.

“We want to ensure that all Australian farmers have a choice to grow any approved crop on their land. No farmer should have to change their farming methods simply because of unreasonable, illogical and internationally inconsistent organic marketing rules.

“That is why CropLife Australia is continuing to work with policy makers and farmer organisations, and welcomes engagement with the organics industry to improve the regulatory framework for farming systems, to prevent unnecessary risk for all farmers and their neighbours.

“We need to make it easier for farmers to get on and do what they do best. The opportunities available for Australian agriculture this century will be wasted if farmers do not have a right to choose which approved crops they grow in a realistic, efficient way.

“We need to do everything we can to ensure that all Australian farmers have access to the same safe, effective tools and technologies as their international competitors. We need to make sure they can access a variety of markets for high quality produce.

“There are groups out there trying to exploit situations for their own political advantage and using our farmers as pawns in an ideological game. We will continue to work hard to ensure that this regrettable situation doesn’t occur again so that all farmers, whether they farm using organic, conventional or modern  methods, can go on farming in the cooperative manner that has been in place for centuries.

”The solution to prevent this from ever happening again is simple; fix the regulations that have allowed the organic industry in Australia to create self-imposed standards. This is a point from which the agriculture sector can move forward, but now is the time for cooperation, not conflict,” concluded Mr Cossey.

Contact: Jaelle Bajada (Manager – Public Affairs)  Ph: 02 6230 6399  Mob: 0410 491 261

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