Traditional subsidies, economists contend, generally encourage inefficient farmers to grow unprofitable crops far beyond what consumers actually need, secure in the knowledge that the government will help protect them from loss. And it makes it much harder for farmers in poor countries to compete on a level playing field against coddled farmers in the West.
Removing subsidies, the argument goes, liberates the best farmers anywhere in the world to produce what people really want.
A newly elected, left-leaning Labor government took the uncharacteristic step of pushing through a set of free-market economic plans, and agricultural subsidies were the first to go.
"What's happened since the reforms is that you have a new type of farm emerging - a business farm," Lumsden said. Giving up subsidies made farming harder, he conceded, but introduced the pride that comes of entrepreneurship. "It made it more enjoyable."