With 1.6 million Australians having jobs in farming or agriculture related industries, the impact on the national economy is considerable. If that seems small compared to Australia’s total population of 21.5 million, consider that farmers use or manage 54% of Australia’s landmass.
In the past twenty years, a growing emphasis has been placed on the management of natural and agricultural resources, impacting both the economy and the environment. Over 94% of farms are actively involved in natural resource management to increase productivity, sustainability, and to protect the environment.
Much can be learned about Australia’s agribusiness by looking at statistics:
Australia has roughly 125,000 farms dedicated solely to agricultural production and an additional 15,000 for which farming is not the primary business. Most of the agribusiness is in New South Wales, and when coupled with farming in Victoria, these two states account for well over half of the agriculture in Australia.
In the most recent figures published by National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), the gross value of all farm production totals $43.6 billion a-year (AUD). Of this, Australia exports nearly two-thirds, whilst the remaining third accounts for nearly 93% of the domestic food supply.
Nationally, the top three agricultural commodities are cattle and calves, wheat, and milk. In terms of top exports, wine replaces milk for the number 3 spot; dairy products rank number 4.
Australia is a world-league player in agricultural production. The NFF reports that the beef industry has a national herd of 28 million head of cattle, and exports 941,400 tonnes of beef and veal per year. 5,100,000 tonnes of wheat and cereal grain is exported annually. Australia dominates the production and export of wool.
Although recent drought has hampered the economic growth of agriculture in Australia, new technologies and ingenuity are forging an optimistic future.
Statics source – Farm Facts 2009-10, NFF www.nff.org.au