The National Farmers’ Federation says the farm sector’s record $90 billion output announced today puts the industry’s $100 billion target within reach and the result should sharpen the Government’s focus on leveraging growth opportunities in agriculture.
“We’ve had an absolute belter,” said NFF Vice President David Jochinke, adding it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
“It was a hard-won result this year. We had extensive crop losses due to flooding, damaged roads, and a wet harvest that stretched well into the New Year.
“In the end though, we’ve seen a record winter crop, and strong prices for crops and livestock that have underpinned that headline number.
“We’ll expect that number to bounce around in coming years as things dry out, but it shows our $100 billion by 2030 target is well within reach.”
Mr Jochinke said the staggering growth in the industry highlights how important the sector is for Australia moving forward.
“This confirms yet again what we’ve been saying for years: that farming is a sustainable growth engine for Australia.
“We’ve added over $30 billion in output in the past 5 years, making farming one of the most exciting growth stories in an economy that’s littered with challenges.
“This is big news for regional communities, but the benefits extend right into our major cities,” Mr Jochinke explained.
But with climate forecasts suggesting a reversal in coming years, farmers are now looking to Government to safeguard the industry’s growth.
“The outlook for the next 2-3 years suggests commodity prices and rainfall will ease.
“We need to be thinking about how we respond in these leaner years to issues like record production costs which are already placing pressure on farmers’ bottom lines.
“Now is the time for government to pull out all stops to support the industry’s growth.
“Government needs to put its shoulder to the wheel and resolve challenges like workforce shortages and biosecurity funding to safeguard that growth.
“It should also prompt a rethink of damaging policies like phasing out live sheep exports or recommencing water buybacks. With seasons turning and that $100 billion goal almost within reach, we need to be backing farmers, not pulling policy levers that will reduce output.
“If you want a strong economy, you have to back winners – and today’s results show that agriculture can deliver the goods,” Mr Jochinke concluded.