Our larger pastoral holdings, in all states, have always been subject to investors from overseas. In fact, when you think about it, England has been there from the very beginning.
We had no say in that situation back then, and we have little say in it now. However, the dynamics have changed now, with much more interest in dairy and the processing side of business.
English, American, Japanese, Swiss, German, and others, have been around for a long time. Most of this, especially in the earlier years, was for pastoral holdings.
Now, it is more, much more. JBS owned by Brazil, Tabro and Moe Meats owned by a Chinese businessman, and AMG, part owned by Chinese interests, come to mind. The Toora butter factory, Chinese, as is most of Burra Foods, Korumburra.
The list goes on and on, including, the Chinese partnership formed by Gina Reinhardt to purchase the Kidman empire, but also in the potato distribution industry.
For many years, G&K O’Connor, Pakenham, have had a business partnership with a Japanese company, which has been very successful, as are numerous other businesses.
However, in my opinion, a lot of the more recent dilemma’s have been around Chinese ownership, and management.
There are several instances in dairy farming and manufacturing, meat processing and the potato industry, where this scenario has seen the deterioration of, or collapse of some of these industries.
In all fairness, some privately owned companies, and partnerships, have been and are very successful. Some have faltered, but are now improving, but some continue to fail.
Foreign investment has been, and will continue to play a very important part in our industry. But the management of, and the successful operation of these companies, is put of our hands.
Once entrenched in our industry, they have to stand on their own, otherwise they might fail, and potentially sold off.
This scenario has been alive and well for centuries, not only just in the agricultural industry. I am told, “this is business”.
So where to from here? For anyone dealing with these, or any other business for that matter, you take things as you see them. If you are not happy with the way things are going, don’t trade.