AGRICULTURE is the engine room of the local economy in the Riverina says NSW Farmers Wagga district branch chairman Alan Brown.
Mr Brown made the comments to Tuesday to coincide with the inaugural National Agriculture Day.
“If you look at the businesses in Wagga it is an ideal example of the jobs which are directly affected by agriculture,” he said.
Mr Brown said current high livestock prices and record returns for wool put the sector in good stead and it it was fair to say the flow on effects were enormous. “Agriculture is one of the main contributors to our economy.” “It creates a very large number of jobs directly and indirectly,” he said.
NSW Farmers president Derek Schoen farms at Corowa and said the average Australian farmer feeds around 600 people.
“We produce more than $60 billion in food and fibre and that’s often under difficult conditions, he said.
“We’re at the mercy of Mother Nature, droughts, floods, frosts and unpredictable weather but despite this we get on with our jobs of producing clean, green, safe and fresh produce,” he said.
“National Agriculture Day is Australia’s chance to give thanks to the men and women who toil on the land, in the dairies, amidst the orchards, on tractors, in waterways, and in the sheds of Australia’s 85,000 farm businesses,” Mr Schoen said.
NSW Irrigators Council chief executive officer, Mark McKenzie, said the fact that so few Australians – only 4 per cent - recognised agriculture as the fastest growing sector of the national economy showed the importance of starting a new conversation with the community about where their food and fibre comes from, and the importance of agriculture to Australia.
“As an irrigation sector organisation we are also reaching out to urban Australians on the importance of irrigation as a key driver of farm production,” he said.