MY&nbsp;2016 Agricultural Census letter, with directions on how to get on-line access&nbsp;to the form, duly arrived – my first since 2011. Hospitalization saw me late in applying. Utter confusion on my secret access code lengthened the delay. I made an irate telephone call to the Bureau of Statistics in Canberra. A tactful young man said&nbsp;he would send me a paper form to fill in.&nbsp;He politely listened as I unloaded frustration and a despair at the hopeless state of accurate data on the agricultural industry. The Canberra-based Red Meat Advisory Committee’s 2015 Meat Industry Strategic Plan was based on a June 2015 beef herd of 29 million. That body is meant to represent industry and advise the Minister. I pointed&nbsp;out to him&nbsp;that ABARES had just announced a 23.5 million herd (Meat and Livestock Australia has meanwhile announced a 26.2m head herd). Assuming ABARES is correct, this gives less cattle than people in Australia for the first time since Governor Phillip –&nbsp;and MLA’s figures, depending on what population this census calculates, won’t be far of that either.&nbsp;He agreed this was a spectacular reduction. If Local Land Services was gathering this information, it certainly wasn't releasing it.&nbsp;Canberra has no idea how many producers there are in Australia, let alone how many stock. When I left the NSW Meat Industry Authority in 1994 there were 87,000 farmers producing livestock in NSW. My 1963 Pastoral Directory lists all the properties, the owners and the stock carried. The poor census man said that privacy laws and the ongoing alteration in council boundaries had made the collection of accurate data impossible. I told him that William the Conqueror’s 1088 Domesday Book had detailed the owners, acreages and livestock carried of every holding in England. William had no computer, just efficient French bureaucrats. No one can devise sound policy without the facts. Our “Prophet of Privatisation” Premier will finish up selling the Botanic Gardens if approached.&nbsp;Rod Sims, the pro- active chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission,&nbsp;has stated&nbsp;he was a fan of privatisation, but is now realising it requires strong government regulation to control its monopolies and costs to consumers –&nbsp;and producers. The required&nbsp;regulation design and police force just isn’t there. The Productivity Commission in Canberra is still to realise this. Neither Orange or&nbsp;Canberra have the necessary bureaucratic skills needed&nbsp;in the Agriculture portfolio. People can praise or denigrate the Ministers but he/she is like a ploughman with a stable full of lame draft horses.&nbsp;They’re essentially not being fed enough information to be able to do the job agriculture needs and instead are being left in the back paddock to find what ever pickings the government so desires to leave them.