National Ag Day highlights big year for Australia's farmers

HARVEST TIME: Tichbourne farmer Neil Kingham on his header. This has been the second best harvest ever for his farm and the region has reported strong results.
HARVEST TIME: Tichbourne farmer Neil Kingham on his header. This has been the second best harvest ever for his farm and the region has reported strong results.

Today, November 21, is National Agriculture Day, an initiative of the National Farmers' Federation as the Parkes region is in the midst of harvesting winter crops.

NSW agriculture, worth $15.7 billion last financial year, is maintaining momentum in spite of drought, bushfire, flood and tariff wars, coming back in production value by just one per cent.

The remarkable turn-around in the farming sector from desolation to record saleyard prices and bumper crops is a result of successful farm management, reminded director general of NSW Department of Primary Industries Scott Hansen.

He credited the resilience of producers during celebrations of National Ag Day.

"To hang on after years of drought, to get to this season, shows how agriculture can continue to manage," Mr Hansen said.

Farmers in the Parkes region have had mostly promising results from what has been harvested so far, though rain and hail has damaged some canola crops in low lying areas.

Many would have noticed the beautiful canola crop on the side of the Newell Highway earlier in the year, and Tichbourne farmer Neil Kingham has been very pleased with the results from them thus far.

"When we harvested last week, it fulfilled all expectations as the second highest yielding canola crop in the farm's history, and by far the best since 2006," says Neil.

NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall was proud of the way the industry responded to the global pandemic.

"Our domestic market was crucial to farmers this year and COVID-19 actually helped to highlight that," said Mr Marshall.

"When borders shut people looked for food security. They wanted to know where products were coming from. There is a strong push and a willingness to support locally made Australian products."

National Ag Day facts:

  • Farmers care for 51% of Australia's landmass
  • 391,000 people are employed in agriculture
  • Farmers have decreased their greenhouse gas emission intensity by 63 per cent since 1996
  • Australian farmers contribute $3.3 billion a year in research and development