Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thank a farmer. Please.

Today’s ‘Positive and Optimistic Sunday’. Australia’s current population’s 22+ million [1]. I guess that at most, only a few thousand are totally self-sufficient in food. So almost all of us have a lot to thank our farmers for. Each year the National Farmers’ Federation [2] publishes Farm Facts – an independently produced publication of agricultural facts and figures that provides a snapshot of the state of farming in Australia. Farm Facts 2011 [3] tells us there are 135,996 farms in Australia (of which 3,547 or 2.9% are in Tasmania), farmers manage 61% of Australia’s landmass, 94% of Australian farms actively undertake Natural Resource Management, our farming sector generates A$155B a year in production, Australian farmers produce 93% of our domestic food, and 60% of our farm produce is exported. Indeed in 2010, during the worst drought on record, our farm exports earned a record A$32.1B. And while 318,000 people are directly employed on our farms, 1.6M Australian jobs hinge on farm production. What with adversity including drought, flood, fire and locusts – not to mention expensive farm inputs, and massive price pressure from supermarkets and other commercial produce buyers – our farmers are doing it tough. As they always do. I recently read that ‘One well known Victorian farmer said that life wasn’t meant to be easy [4]. But it surely wasn’t meant to be this bloody hard either’. So if you get a chance, thank a farmer. Please. For it’s important – nay, vital – for our nation that our farmers feel positive and optimistic.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Great and important post Dad.
Those who can should visit their local farmers' market and buy something from them direct. Even if its a bit flood or humidity damaged.
Bren said there were quite a few gaps in the layout at Slow Food yesterday and everyone who was there had a flood affected story to tell.
What looked like the most promising season for years has turned into one of the worst. I fear many will never be able to recover.