Australia in Focus – Day 1

After almost 24 hours in flight and in airports, I’ve arrived in Canberra, Australia, the nation’s capital city of about 400,000 people.  The highlight of my first night was meeting the group I’ll be travelling with for the next few weeks.  This is an impressive group of Australian farmers.  Our group is very diverse, and includes producers of many commodities, including dairy, sugar cane, dates, grains, fish, sheep and beef.

We spent day one learning about Australian history, culture and politics, and finished the day with supper at the Parliament House with Australian Senator Chris Back, his wife Linda, and Opposition Agricultural critic MP John Cobb.  They understand agriculture and are passionate about its future in Australia!

It is absolutely fascinating to learn how Canadian and Australian agricultural issues align.  Today, we had discussions about declining government support for agricultural research and development, the impact of strong currency on the economy (I paid $118 CDN for $100 AUD), impact of food imports and domestic competitiveness, and the decline of funding toward agricultural education in the University system.  We tend to think of these issues as isolated to our own country.   Perhaps we can benefit from more global understanding.

Here is a photo of our group with Senator Back and his wife.  Nuffield Australia CEO Jim Geltch (far left) was an amazing guide today.  Thank you to Jim and Nuffield Australia for inviting Canadian participation in this program.  It is much appreciated!



One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Carie aka wife on February 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Great post and great pic! Sounds like you are packing a lot into the schedule already. I hope you find time for some fun…Miss you! The kids and I are settling into a routine with early bedtimes and long stories. They are definitely missing you. Hazel’s teacher took time today to show her where you are on an inflatable globe today. Not sure of the geographical accuracy, but the effort is appreciated. Love you, Carie


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