There has been a low level of methodological controversy within the Australian agricultural economics profession. Johnson's 1963 paper is the most significant and in it he passed criticisms on agricultural production economists not unlike those currently being made by political economists of economics in general. These past criticisms have in the main been ignored by the Australian profession but it is suggested that they are now being pushed with renewed vigour and they can no longer be ignored. It is argued that our policy work has by and large been successful and effective except for significant areas where our methodology was of restricted usefulness. In farm management the Johnsonian strictures would seem to apply but a more charitable interpretation is provided which should meet the approval of the political economists. Our almost complete neglect of development economics must soon draw to an end and we will find that the methodologies which we have relied on heavily and fairly successfully must be augmented as we become more involved in this field. The political economics challenge should be recognized and accepted with relish because the nature of our work is changing and will continue to change in the future. We have adapted fairly well as adjustment and equity have become major policy concerns. Meeting the political economics challenge will help this process of adaptation.


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