The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has today released Farm Facts 2012, which shows that agriculture continues to grow both its food and fibre production and its contribution to Australia’s economy. NFF President Jock Laurie says that Farm Facts 2012 shows that the agricultural industry continues to play a vitally important role in Australia’s society, economy and environment. “Farm Facts 2012 shows that agriculture may be a small industry – but we are certainly punching above our weight,” Mr Laurie said. “The contribution that our farmers and the agricultural sector make to Australia, and indeed the world, is of vital importance, and Farm Facts 2012 reflects this – showing that Australian farmers produce almost 93 percent of Australia’s daily domestic food supply, and that the average Australian farmer grows enough food to feed 600 people: 150 at home and 450 abroad. “In 2010-11 alone, Australia’s farm exports earned the country $32.5 billion, up $400 million in two years. And the gross value of Australian farm production at farm gate in 2009-10 was $48.7 billion – up a massive $600 million in just one year. “These increases in productivity and value show that our sector has enormous strength and potential, and that we are well placed to meet the challenges ahead. “Challenges like the declining number of farm businesses in Australia, the increase in the average age of Australian farmers to 52 (12 years above the national average for other occupations), and the labour shortage that the industry faces, with some 18,000 people having left the sector in the last year alone. “And the challenge of increasing productivity enough to meet the growing global demand for food and fibre. The UN estimates that production will need to increase by 70 percent by 2050 in order to meet the world population need – which is why increased investment in research and development for Australian agriculture is critical, to ensure that our farmers can achieve this great task. “These challenges are among the key priority areas for the NFF and the reasons why we are conducting the Blueprint for Australian Agriculture this year – ensuring that we have a clear direction for our agricultural industry and supply chain, and can achieve a strong and sustainable future,” Mr Laurie said. Farm Facts 2012 is a compendium of facts and figures about Australian agriculture, based on fully attributed data from independent sources. The annualised data is accurate as to the last recorded production period. Farm Facts 2012 is available to download http://www.nff.org.au/farm-facts.html[here], while a snapshot of key commodity specific data is available http://www.nff.org.au/commodities.html[here].