Stanley Vale Merino Stud - News & Views

Canberra region's farm produce has US diplomats salivating

Posted July 31, 2015 15:42:51

A didgeridoo being played alongside a pen of champion stud sheep in an Irish-themed Canberra pub thick with American accents?

If you stumbled upon this, one could be forgiven that maybe they were to soon wake up and think it all a dream.

But the event organised by the Australian American Association was part of a wider campaign.

It was all a part of raising the profile of the primary produce from the region surrounding the national capital.

It coincided with talks in Hawaii aimed at resolving obstacles to finalising the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Twelve Pacific Rim nations are set to join forces in a deal which would cover about 40 per cent of world trade.

As well as Australia, those set to sign include the US, Japan and Singapore.

However, concern has been voiced in Australia that the deal may once again shut its sugar producers out of the US.

American cane growers have vowed to fight any great access for Australian sugar into the US market.

As the agriculture counsellor attached to the US Embassy in Canberra, Hugh Maginnis is very aware of the sensitivities surrounding the deal.

"If we are going to get a successful agreement, it is going to have to be a balanced agreement with benefits on both sides," he said.

"Obviously in negotiation both sides cannot get everything they want, but I think the idea is to get an agreement that is beneficial to both countries.

"If we reach a successful agreement, we are going to have to walk away with some things that we are going to have to give up on both sides.

"That is what effective negotiation is all about."

Helping build the image of Australian farmers and their stock complete with Akubra and sheep was Dennis Rowley, whose stud is at Boorowa in southern New South Wales.

Standing beside his two prizewinning Poll Dorset stud sheep, which were in a pen in one part of the bar, Mr Rowley noted that experience showed that once the US consumer was exposed to the Australian product, there was no turning back.

"Not that long ago, America put the embargo on Australian lamb, which backfired badly as they were only able to get the local product," he said.

"The American public discovered there was a lot better lamb in Australia so it worked well for us."

While there was no lamb to taste, there were plenty of that other traditional Australian cuisine, the meat pie.

There were also cheeses, wines and cherry pies made from the fruit grown in the nearby Young area.

Another delicacy that had even Mr Maginnis reassessing his taste buds were oysters from the nearby New South Wales South Coast.

They were being rapidly shucked as those gathered around the bar eagerly tucked into them.

Mr Maginnis said his wife was from the south of the US, where the traditional way of eating oysters was having them deep fried.

However, after a tentative start, he conceded that eating them raw was not too bad.

Maybe shipping some of the fresh Sydney Rock oysters to the US sugar-producing areas may provide the sweetener for American sugar growers to accept the Australian-grown product.

Topics: agribusiness, agricultural-marketing, agricultural-policy, agricultural-prices, food-processing, food-and-cooking, trade, fishing-aquaculture, dairy-production, sheep-production, viticulture, canberra-2600, boorowa-2586, young-2594, batemans-bay-2536, goulburn-2580



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