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    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    Sugar cops a caning

    Apart from beginning training to become a tabloid sub-editor, I've been watching the latest trauma to befall the sugar cane industry quite closely. First up, I have to ask whether it is a co-incidence that in an era of religious-conservative government, the problem is smut ?
    I have to confess that I have mixed feelings on the subject. My knee-jerk reaction is "Poor buggers, they haven't had a decent year since the early nineties, then when they do get one, half the industry gets blown away by a cyclone. The half that is still standing is now facing destruction." Then I think that, before the Innisfail cyclone, my opinion of the cane industry was "Shut up. Just shut the fuck up, you mob of whinging arseholes." Yes, the international sugar market is one of the most corrupt in the world. Yes, the international sugar industry (In particular the U.S. industry.) is one of the most heavily subsidized in the world. Yes, the international sugar industry (Again, the U.S. industry in particular.) is the most effective at lobbying to prevent a 'leveling of the playing field'. You know what?
    I don't care.
    This has been a hobbyhorse of the cane industry since they first noticed that the 'Good Old Days' were becoming just that - the 'old days'. I knew a bloke who came from a cane farming family in the eighties. They had a separate tractor for every implement. But this is irrelevant and only inserted into this post because it aids your argument to influence people emotionally as well as rationally.
    Apart from all the evil shenanigans which beset the industry from abroad (And which the bonzer Aussie Battler™™ cane farmers would totally not take advantage of if they were given the opportunity.), the biggest threat facing the cane industry long-term is the Brazilian industry, specifically the large-scale, broadacre style of cane farming they do over there, this has been happening since the eighties and is increasing in scale every year.
    This isn't going to stop anytime soon, look at the determined expression on the face of this Brazilian cane cutter: she means business. A bit different from 'Roo' in Summer of the 17th Doll.And look at that lush..., ermm, climate and fertile..., aah, soil. They've got some good things going for them over there, no wonder Aussie cane farmers find it hard difficult.
    Picture magazine-style snerking aside, all of these problems have been around for years, none of them are going away and a couple of years of good prices aren't going to save the Australian cane industry. In my humble (but erudite) opinion, anybody who is planning to stay in the cane industry is a dickhead. Cane farms are based in high rainfall areas with fertile soils. Grow something else, you bunch of tools. Stop carrying on like cane is the be-all and end-all of Australian agriculture. Even CSR gets a major percentage of its income from elsewhere. It's never gunna be the Good Old Days again. The only hope for cane in this country is ethanol and unless somebody does something massive in that industry soon, it will be too late.
    Self-inflicted wounds don't get too much sympathy from me, nor do I think that we should continue to subsidize an industry based in such fertile areas year after year.


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Never mind the cane farmers (or the outstanding example of an immaculate Brazilian for that matter) - what will become of the cane toads if we do kill off the sugar industry? If we end up with a vociferous Save the Bufo Marinas campaign it will be the fault of people like you who can't see that the Australian sugar cane crop is (still and just about) the only thing standing between that species of amphibian and extinction (at least on our continent). Which would be a shame.

    6/20/2006 07:22:00 am  
    Anonymous og said...

    nice dumper on that girl. Hell wiht the toads, I just want to lick that tan line.

    6/20/2006 07:35:00 am  
    Blogger Dirk said...

    many moons ago, when Hervey Bay was a string of sleepy hamlets and there was only one supermarket in the area, we used to go down to Woolies carpark at night and commit toadicide with a gas powered bb gun. It was pretty much the only time in my life that I've ever shot anything just 'cause it's fun. Bear in mind that this little (highly illegal in this country) toy would fire at about 3000 rounds per minute. One of the unofficial testimonials I read in a magazine said that you could cut a cat in half with it. Toads flying everywhere. Ohh, for my salad days again...
    the queue forms on the left. Right behind me.

    6/21/2006 05:27:00 pm  
    Anonymous Crass said...

    My brother used to shoot cane toads at night with a slug gun. Completely nude. Yes, this explains my PTSD.

    6/25/2006 04:23:00 pm  
    Blogger Dirk said...

    Why nude?
    Inquiring minds need to know.

    6/26/2006 03:17:00 am  
    Anonymous Crass said...

    I've never understood why he felt the need to do it nude, but he also used to run his head into things for fun. He was a real wuss though - he refused to feed the mice to his python. That poor thing would have starved to death if it wasn't for my hardened psyche.

    6/27/2006 10:24:00 am  
    Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

    "First you geet the sugar,
    then you geet the money,
    then you geet the weemen."
    -Homer Simpson

    6/28/2006 04:41:00 am  

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