NSW Farmers, Media Release, 2 September 2021
The opportunities and the potential of the NSW Agriculture sector to grow to $30 billion by 2030 came through loud and clear at the NSW Farmers online Annual Conference today.
“The prospects for increasing local food and fibre production are abundant, with 94 percent of the state out of or recovering from drought and strong commodity prices,” said NSW Farmers President James Jackson.
“Farmer resilience was a resounding theme of this conference and it’s why we can take advantage of these improved seasonal conditions. Our state’s farmers have been incredibly resilient in the face of immense challenges over the last few years, including drought, fires, a pandemic, major floods, disruption to trade and a mouse plague.”
“Despite these hardships, agriculture has remained an engine room of the NSW economy, and a boost in productivity following a favourable turn in seasonal conditions early last year is testament to the sector’s enormous potential.”
Special guests, including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, NSW Leader of the Opposition Chris Minns, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, and President of the National Farmers’ Federation Fiona Simson all echoed these statements during their presentations.
Focusing on the sustainable growth of the NSW agriculture sector, guest speakers also spoke on the $30 billion by 2030 target, the need for improved land use planning, and the role of agriculture as a key pillar in the economic recovery from COVID-19.
“Going forward, our success will be determined by how well we adapt as a sector to new challenges and opportunities,” Mr Jackson said.
“Trade will be a huge growth opportunity and it’s imperative we keep looking for ways to expand market access. Maintaining the high level of quality typical of Australian produce will be key, and we must adjust to potential new trade conditions.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the regions in the spotlight, with more Australians waking up to the opportunities in their backyard. We now have an invaluable opportunity to build on this popularity and build the vibrancy of regional NSW.”
“Infrastructure will be a huge enabler of the growth of agriculture and regional NSW, and it’s a key area where industry and government can work closely together to better connect farms to consumers.”
“We need world-class infrastructure to move our world-class produce. It’s as simple as that.”
Mr Jackson said workforce issues are a clear priority for members and regional communities.
“We’re facing an imminent worker shortfall as grains and horticulture harvests near and international and state border restrictions continue to limit the movement and availability of both international and domestic workers.”
“It’s clearly a huge issue, and the green light given to a dedicated Agricultural Visa, which has been industry policy for some time now, is a major breakthrough.”