Fighting for our farmers' future

Tuesday 6 March, 2012

Floods ravage, but forecast looks bright

While floods continue to ravage south eastern Australia, causing what is expected to be millions of dollars damage to crops, infrastructure and stock in QLD, NSW and VIC, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has today released their forecast for Australia's agricultural commodities.

The report, released as the ABARES Outlook conference gets underway in Canberra, shows that for the first time in 30 years, farm business profits and rate of return will be positive for all states and for all of the broadacre industries, including cropping and livestock - confirming the NFF's prediction that 2012 will be a positive year for the majority of Australian farmers, despite the challenges currently facing many. For more, read the ABARES release or the NFF release.

The NFF's General Manager, Policy, Charlie McElhone will tomorrow present at Outlook as part of a panel session on 'What Future for Australian Farmers?'. This panel will be broadcast online from 4pm to 5:30pm here. Viewers can tweet questions in to the panel using the #ABARES hashtag on twitter.

Cotton an animal product, say kids: Farmers call for action

The NFF has called for greater investment in agricultural education after a study, released yesterday by the Primary Industries Education Foundation (PIEF), found that student and teacher knowledge of Australia's food and fibre sector is alarmingly low.

The study found that 75 percent of students believe cotton is an animal product, 27 percent think yoghurt is a plant product, and 40 percent believe that farming damages the environment.

The study is a call to action for the agricultural sector, parents and teachers. The NFF has supported the PIEF's call for food and fibre production to be directly included in the sustainability component of the national Curriculum, and has called on the Government to maintain its commitment to the PIEF, the peak body for primary industries education in Australian schools, in the upcoming Federal Budget. To see the full results of the PIEF research, visit their website. For more on the NFF's position, read our release.

Farm Facts for 2012

Last week, the NFF released the 2012 Farm Facts which shows that Australian farmers continue to grow both their food and fibre production and the contribution of agriculture to Australia's economy.

NFF President Jock Laurie said that while the agricultural industry may be small, Farm Facts shows that we are certainly punching above our weight - with Australian farmers producing almost 93 percent of Australia's daily domestic food supply, each Australian farmer growing enough food to feed 600 people (150 at home, 450 abroad), and the gross value of Australian farm gate production at $48.7 billion for 2009-10 - up $600 million in just one year.

The NFF Farm Facts is an annual compendium of agricultural facts and figures, based on fully attributed data from independent sources. The publication is available to download here and the Farm Facts presentation can be viewed online here, while specific commodity data is also available, here.

Liaison Officers provide valuable service

Did you know that the NFF has three Liaison Officers on secondment from various Government Departments to assist farmers and the agricultural sector with enquiries?

Tim Lester, the Biosecurity Liaison Officer, has recently joined the NFF team on secondment from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) with expertise in biosecurity and animal welfare.

He joins existing Environmental Liaison Officer, Jol Taber, on secondment from the Department of Sustainability, Environment Water, Population and Communities (SEWPaC) to help farmers understand their rights and responsibilities under the federal environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999).

Also recently joining the NFF team is Satinder Pasricha, the Immigration Liaison Officer on secondment from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), to assist farmers gain access to immigration and labour programs, including temporary and permanent visa options for skilled workers.

Should you have queries re biosecurity, environmental law or immigration, we encourage you to contact the relevant Liaison Officer via the NFF office on 02 6269 5666.

Coming up at NFF

> Blueprint forum in Toowoomba
The first Blueprint forum for 2012 will take place at the Highfields Cultural Centre in Toowoomba from 1pm tomorrow, Wednesday 7 March. All with an interest in the future of the farming sector are invited to attend. For details, contact the NFF on 02 6269 5666.

The NFF AGvocate
Issue 11.

In this issue

Floods ravage, but forecast looks bright

Cotton an animal product, say kids: Farmers call for action

Farm Facts for 2012

Liaison Officers provide valuable service

Coming up at NFF

Blueprint forum in Toowoomba

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