Letter to the Editor-September 13: Give berry farmers a break

IN RESPONSE to "White cobwebs" (CCA, 6/9) I am not only heartbroken but confused on how we are supposed to produce blueberries without being seen or heard.

Farming has been the backbone of this area and economy since the beginning. Unprofitable banana plantations have faded away and luckily we have had the chance to expand the blueberry industry, which is bringing into the local economy much-needed cash flow and employment.

Residents of the Coffs Coast should be proud to know we are the "blueberry capital of Australia", producing more than 75% of all blueberries in Australia. Other shires would envy and applaud this great industry but others among us are labelling farmers as selfish and a detriment to society.

Before people move into rural areas they should consider that farming has been there well before them and surrounding lands are zoned for agricultural purposes and crops can change over time. If we purchase a house near an established industrial area, do we have the moral right to criticise its existence because we don't like the look of industrial sheds and the noise of people working?

White nets protect the berries from birds and bats. The colour of the net reflects more light down onto the crop, increasing the yield and ripening four-six weeks earlier than black or dark net.

The Coffs Coast has a unique microclimate and frost-free hinterland, with enough chilling to allow us to produce blueberries all year round, unlike anywhere in the world. Where could we move to?

I don't see farming as a burden on this community but one of the few ways here to stay employed and bring up a family and contribute to the society we live in.

SS



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