AUSTRALIA'S new agriculture minister confesses that many will be asking, "who is this bloke?"
Murray Watt, a lawyer turned politician, told more than a thousand producers in his home town of Brisbane earlier this month that while he wasn't a farmer, it was in his blood.
His dad was raised on a dairy farm and he grew up listening to farming stories.
He tells AAP, however, that he doesn't want to overplay his farming connections.
Senator Watt's first few days in the role have been filled with departmental and stakeholder briefings and a visit to a cotton operation. He's also attended Australia's biggest horticulture trade show, Hort Connections.
The expo was a chance for thousands of producers grappling with a labour crisis to gather under one roof. Some pleaded with the new minister to keep the ag visa arrangements brought in by the former government.
Instead, Labor has pledged to replace those arrangements with a system that offers more incentives to farm workers from Pacific nations.
"If we break election commitments then we get into all sorts of other trouble ... I am open to ideas about how we address the problem," Senator Watt told AAP.
The senator wants to train Australian workers and expand the Pacific labour scheme. He says he is willing to investigate a variety of potential solutions, which includes talking to the unions.
"A change of government provides an opportunity to go back to square one with a range of stakeholders."
Labor's decision to change the visa arrangements is an unpopular one among some agricultural employers desperate for workers.
Tony Mahar, chief executive of the National Farmers Federation, told AAP the ag visa needs to stay.
"We don't care what it's called ...we need more foreign workers in here," he said.
Senator Watt says he's committed to phasing out live sheep exports in another move that is divisive in the industry.
"This is something we want to do over time in consultation, in an orderly manner ... it's not going to be done within three years."
Some producers and exporters are hoping Labor will shift its policy, which it originally took to the 2019 election.
"The policy that was taken to the 2019 election was written at a different time for different circumstances. The industry has undergone significant change," said Scott Kompo-Harms from the Australian Livestock Exporters' Council.
"The prime minister said it won't be happening in this term of government which gives us time to try and educate them that it's a good industry and shouldn't be banned," sheep exporter John Hassell told AAP.
Senator Watt said labour shortages, biosecurity and rising input costs are his top three priorities while climate change, sustainability and expanding agriculture has his attention in the longer term.
He has directed his department to engage in energy discussions, although he hasn't said whether that will mean unlocking more farmland in the pursuit of fossil fuels.
"I haven't turned my mind to that is my honest answer," he said.
"What we want to do is seek co-existence between farmers and miners, they are both important industries in regional Australia," he said.
"We're certainly not committing to a flat out ban on coal and gas exploration on agricultural land."
Farming group Lock the Gate wants a ban on coal and gas mining on prime agricultural land, and an end to federal government fossil fuel subsidies.
The group's national coordinator Carmel Flint told AAP the two existing in harmony is a myth.
"The reality is that coal and gas mining has already damaged some of our most productive food-producing land, and planned projects continue to pose an even greater risk," Ms Flint said.
She encouraged the minister to contact affected farmers to hear their stories.
The Queensland senator said he would like to see more carbon stored in soil in a process called carbon farming.
"I want to see an expansion in carbon farming rather than a reduction in it. That doesn't mean I want to see carbon farming in every single part of the country," he said.
The new minister knows he has a big job ahead. He told the Brisbane trade show he's committed to listening to farmers while conceding he doesn't have all the policy answers one week into the new job.
Sign up here to Good Fruit and Vegetables weekly newsletter for all the latest horticulture news each Thursday...
Australian Associated Press
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.