THERE are many problems facing district farmers, viticulturists and orchardists as city life encroaches ever nearer their properties.
It is not only the expansion of suburbia which can adversely affect farmers, but the proliferation of hobby farms and small acreages.
In recent years, many farmers and orchardists have sold up, unable to cope any longer with drought and uncertain markets.
As former farmland is sold off for lifestyle blocks, there is enormous potential for land use conflicts. This is especially true in the Orange district.
The farmers who remain find themselves facing restrictions on how they can use their land, such as the positioning of fox baits, which is an essential part of safeguarding their livestock.
They also have to be careful where and when they spray their crops for fear of spray drift affecting neighbours, and they have to ensure that animal smells do not upset anyone living nearby.
One of the greatest problems now facing farmers in the Orange district is dogs from neighbouring smallholdings attacking their livestock.
The State Government needs to tackle the issue because it is a problem which crosses Local Government boundaries and a uniform approach is needed to ensure any legislation works.
If it is left to Local Government, there is no guarantee that all councils will concede there is a problem and agree on a solution which will allow traditional farmers and owners of lifestyle blocks to live in harmony.