IN THIS SECTION:
Agriculture plays a vital role in Australia, contributing to our social, economic and environmental sustainability.
There are approximately 134,000 farm businesses in Australia, 99 percent of which are family owned and operated. Each Australian farmer produces enough food to feed 600 people, 150 at home and 450 overseas. Australian farmers produce almost 93 percent of Australia’s daily domestic food supply.
As of 2010-11, there are 307,000 people employed in Australian agriculture. The complete agricultural supply chain, including the affiliated food and fibre industries, provide over 1.6 million jobs to the Australian economy.
The agricultural sector, at farm-gate, contributes 3 percent to Australia’s total gross domestic product (GDP). The gross value of Australian farm production in 2010-11 was $48.7 billion.
Yet this is only part of the picture. When the vital value-adding processes that food and fibre go through once they leave the farm are added in, along with the value of all the economic activities supporting farm production through farm inputs, agriculture’s contribution to the GDP averages out at around 12 percent (or $155 billion).
Australian farmers export around 60 percent of what they grow and produce. Australia’s farm exports earned the country $32.5 billion in 2010-11, up from $32.1 billion in 2008-09, while the wider agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors earn the country $36.2 billion in exports. The value of our farm exports, and indeed the future of Australian agriculture, depends largely on conditions in overseas markets, due to our high level of exports.
Australian farmers continue to face the challenge of declining terms of trade in agriculture, yet remain internationally competitive through efficiencies and productivity growth. The growth in the farm sector has increased steadily over the 30 year period from 1974-75 to 2003-04 at an average rate of 2.8 percent, consistently out-performing other sectors. In more recent times, agricultural productivity growth has slowed to 1 percent per annum, illustrating the need for an increased spend on research and development to ensure the industry can meet the food and fibre needs of the growing world population.
Australian farmers are environmental stewards, owning, managing and caring for 61 percent of Australia’s land mass.
Farmers are at the frontline of delivering environmental outcomes on behalf of the Australian community, with 94 percent of Australian farmers actively undertaking natural resource management. The NFF was a founding partner of the Landcare movement.
For more information
For more facts and figures, and the fully attributable sources of the facts mentioned above, please view NFF Farm Facts 2012. To view an interactive presentation of Farm Facts 2012, visit us on Prezi.