Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from ACM, which has more than 100 mastheads across Australia. Today's is written by Angela Seng-Williams, QFVG Head of Engagement and Advocacy.
Like the Anzac soldier and bronzed surf lifesaver, the farmer holds a special place in the Australian imagination. Through hard work on a harsh and often unforgiving continent, the farmer cultivated and fed a nation. Or so the story goes...
In 1906, George Essex Evans celebrated the farmer in his poem, The Men Upon the Land. According to Evans, it is not the bankers or office workers who "shall make Australia great", but the hearts that build the nation, are the men upon the land.
This was written at a time when we were proud of our farmers and how they were integral to the fabric of our economy and communities.
During our many recent conversations with growers and the supply chain across Queensland, one thing has stood out and it is sad and unjust.
Our growers are tired, worn down and losing the joy in farming.
They're embattled by bureaucracy, compliance burdens and huge cost of production pressures.
They are reluctant to speak up about the high risk and poor returns at the farm gate when set against the stark backdrop of the major retailers' profits. Growers have told us they do not want to be named when speaking up for what is right in case it impacts their supply contracts.
When our growers' produce is being rejected and trucks turned around because they are five minutes late or a small sample has unearthed a single lady beetle, only to be dumped or fed to the cows.
This is a severe power imbalance, often invisible to the consumer and is un-Australian.
As growers fight for their right to farm, for a decent day's pay for their hard work, it is in question whether our Anzac soldier or lifesaver would receive this treatment.
For the retailers to ponder... shouldn't cost and profit sharing be a partnership between mates to feed our nation - isn't that Australian?
All this has growers feeling trapped and wondering whether farming still brings them joy and pride in a job well done.
We want them to stand proud as farmers as we walk alongside them for generations to come.
WHAT'S HAPPENING AROUND AUSTRALIA