Ensuring Australian agriculture is considered a key national priority is the focus for the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) in 2013, the head of the peak national agricultural body said today. As the Prime Minister announced the date of the Federal Election and as Parliament prepares to resume for the first time in 2013, President Jock Laurie today called on all the Government to secure the future sustainability of the agricultural sector by considering – and funding – sensible long-term policies. The comments come as the NFF today submits its 2013-14 Federal Budget submission and prepares for the launch of the Blueprint for Australian Agriculture. “In her address to the NFF’s 2012 National Congress, the Prime Minister called Australia an agricultural powerhouse and said that the future success of the industry will require a joint partnership between farm businesses, communities and the Government,” Mr Laurie said. “As the Prime Minister has herself said, agriculture has been the sector with the largest productivity growth since 2007-08, while the Opposition Leader has said that the growth in agriculture was the reason Australia avoided a recession during the global financial crisis. “To ensure the continued success of agriculture in Australia, now is the time to get the future policy settings right. Which is why we are calling for a reprioritisation of Australian agriculture in the national agenda. While we are yet to release our full election dossier, one thing is clear: we want to see agriculture elevated to the same importance as education and health, and so too does the Australian public. “In an NFF-commissioned poll of 1,000 Australians in November, making sure that there is strong future for our farming community rated as the most important concern for Australians. “Now is the time to get the right policies in place. Policies like a greater investment in infrastructure, a strong commitment to research, development and extension, improved workforce skills, training and education, and sustainable natural resource management. Without these and other commitments it will be impossible for us to meet our future food and fibre needs or take advantage of expanding overseas markets. “Our 2013-14 Federal Budget submission outlines the critical areas for funding in the short-term, while the launch of the NFF-led, industry-developed Blueprint for Australian Agriculture will set the tone for what is required from our politicians in the 2013 Federal Election and beyond,” Mr Laurie said. The NFF’s Federal Budget submission is available http://www.nff.org.au/submissions-search.html?categoryid=3673&title=&submitted=&from=&to=&q=[here]. The Blueprint for Australian Agriculture will be launched at the National Press Club in Canberra on 14 February.