A New Endangered Species; We're Almost Extinct Say Tweed's Farmers

Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia), November 13, 2009 | Go to article overview

A New Endangered Species; We're Almost Extinct Say Tweed's Farmers


Byline: Peter Caton

TWEED farmers say their industry is at crisis point and farming for a living is about to disappear from the shire.

Low incomes from farming, high land prices and restrictive council regulations are leading to an exodus from the industry by retiring farmers unable to pass their business on to a younger generation.

That's according to farmers such as Col Brooks, president of the Tweed Rural Industries Association and Byangum farmer Mike Yarrow who this week appealed to Tweed Shire councillors to modify a ban of subdividing rural land below 40 hectare lots.

They say the ban is preventing young specialist 'niche' farmers who need smaller acreages from establishing in the Tweed and blocks older farmers from staying in their traditional homes while someone else, such as a son, continues farming.

"If there was a future, where are the young people?" asked Mr Brooks who says he had been forced to supplement his farm income by driving school buses.

Mr Brooks who has an 84-hectare property near Murwillumbah, capable of running 70 breeder cattle and bringing in "around $12,000 a year" said the land was recently valued at $1. …

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