Wagga district is seeing new “waves” of corporate farming that could be painting the family farm into a corner, NSW Farmers’ branch chairman Alan Brown says.
It comes following renewed concerns over the viability of family farms in the face of the financial muscle of corporate entities.
Mr Brown said “getting onto the land is always a problem”.
“The corporations have always been around … and we’ve had had waves of different ones. It used to be Middle Eastern and now it’s Asian investors moving in,” he said.
The level of foreign investment in Riverina land is unknown – but a new scheme whereby landholders are required to “own up” could reveal foreign ownership by year’s end.
One farmer, Mark Hoskinson, of Kikoira, said Australia faced “enormous issues” with foreign investors.
He said farmers had done it tough with successive droughts, which provided an opportunity for large corporate operators.
"We have seen enormous issues with foreign investment, they are cashed up and they bring in their own workers and it is a closed loop system," he said.
"Personally, I would hate to see family farming go by the wayside."
But rural property agent Sally Douglas, of Landmark Wagga, said family farming in the Riverina was “healthy”.
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