Healthy outlook for Australia’s food bowl

Westpac

A new Westpac agribusiness report into intergenerational farming has revealed more than three quarters (77 per cent) of farmers are optimistic about the future of farming, at a time when Australians continue to flock to the regions.

The Agribusiness: Intergeneration Farming Report, which explored how generations of family farmers are leading the charge in regional and rural Australia, found 74 per cent of farmers believe there are either many or unlimited opportunities ahead for younger generations in their family.

South Australian (82 per cent) famers experienced the largest increase in physical farm size over the last ten years compared to 60 per cent in NSW. Farmers in Tasmania (94 per cent), Northern Territory (88 per cent), Queensland (81 per cent) and Western Australia (80 per cent) experienced the highest increase in profitability across the same period.

“Despite significant challenges facing our regions across the country including severe weather and COVID-19, our research shows strong sentiment and opportunities for farmers of all generations,” said Peta Ward, Westpac’s Regional General Manager of Agribusiness Commercial Banking in Queensland.

“Many Australians don’t realise our farmers produce more than 90 per cent of the fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, milk and eggs we purchase in our supermarkets every day1, so it’s critical we support growth and success in the bush, which is our nation’s food bowl.

“While COVID-19 created so many unforseen challenges, including impacting supply chains crucial to farmers’ distribution channels, it also helped drive more than 70,000 Australians to move to the regions2, which has helped shine another positive light on country life,” she said.

As a result of changes over the last ten years, 72 per cent of farmers have increased new farming practices, while 71 per cent said they have increased profitability in the farm.

“We’re seeing farmers continue to upskill and invest in both technology and machinery to help improve efficiencies and work smarter. In fact, in the 2021/22 financial year, the gross value of agriculture in production is forecast to be a record $81 billion,” Ms Ward said.

“We are experiencing strong demand for credit, not only for purchasing farm land but for equipment and property improvements, so combined with high levels of savings during the pandemic, farmers and industry confidence is sky high.”

The Agribusiness: Intergeneration Farming Report can be accessed here.

Note for editors:

More than 400 farmers were surveyed across rural and regional Australia. The research was conducted for Westpac by Instinct and Reason, an agency accredited with the Australian Data Insights association.

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