Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Sid Sidebottom, have welcomed 2012 - the Australian Year of the Farmer - as an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate the significant contribution our farmers make to the country.
“Australian farmers and their industries do the hard work involved in producing, processing, handling and selling produce from 136,000 farms across the country, which generate more than $405 billion each year,” Minister Ludwig said.
“2012, as the Australian Year of the Farmer is an opportunity for all Australians to recognise and celebrate the contribution to our economy and quality of living that our farmers make.”
Mr Sidebottom said farmers were key in producing food and fibre, with Australians able to access high quality products, including safe and healthy food.
In addition, Australian farmers make a significant contribution to feeding people in a range of countries overseas and to contributing to global food security.
“Despite climatic difficulties experienced in some of Australia’s major food producing regions in 2011, Australia’s farm export earnings are forecast to rise in 2011-12, notwithstanding an expected slowdown in world economic growth,” Mr Sidebottom said.
As well as being an opportunity for the general public to recognise the efforts of the farming sector, Minister Ludwig and Mr Sidebottom said this year was also a chance for those involved in the agricultural industries to focus on the future and sustainability of farming in Australia.
“With increasing pressure on food security and a growing global population, there will be an increased demand on our farmers for quality, safe food, and to continue to take good care of Australia’s productive land,” Minister Ludwig said.
“I look forward to Australian farmers leading the way in 2012 in feeding the nation, leading the world in innovative farming techniques, as well as sustaining the vital agribusinesses that underpin our economy.”