Don't write 2020 off, the lessons are pertinent

RECOVERY: The wool industry has been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. Picture: Emma Hillier
RECOVERY: The wool industry has been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. Picture: Emma Hillier

HOW many times have we read the phase "let's start 2020 over" or "write 2020 off?"

These phrases have come up in conversation, are always prominent on social media and can be found in pages of newspapers too.

Coronavirus has hit hard. We have learned to work from home.

The social interaction that goes with winter sport has been wiped out. The royal shows such as Sydney and Melbourne are off.

Our relationships are being played out in a "virtual world" and attending the supermarket is a challenge like we haven't seen before.

But what if 2020 is a year of lessons?

What if this year turns out to be one of our most valuable periods in history?

Maybe it is the time to soul search like we have never done before. Or perhaps it is a chance to hit the reset button and ascertain what really matters.

If we apply these philosophies to agriculture, 2020 could emerge as a beneficial time.

We have learned a quick and hard lesson about not putting all of our trading options into one basket in terms of the relationship with China.

But our commodities are definitely wanted.

There's no question that Australia is a world leader in terms of clean and efficient food and fibre production.

When we look at the COVID-19 pandemic and agriculture, the rural sector has emerged as Australia's most important industry.

And now is a time when the good news from regional Australia can be shared with our city counterparts and beyond.

During social isolation many producers have reported that it's "business as usual" for them.

Working in agriculture is often, by way of practicality, a form of social distancing in itself.

Sure, some commodities such as wool have been hit hard. But wool was back to glory days with good returns before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

And we are already hearing reports of some wool growers opting to plant more crop in a bid to buffer the initial trading impacts that hit the commodity.

In this region many wool producers are clever operators who benefit from diversification too. Prime lamb prices are still good.

So maybe we won't write off 2020. We will use it to learn, assess what is important and share the good stories emerging from our thriving agricultural industry.