​Media Release

ABARES - 70 years of agricultural research

21 August 2015

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce today congratulated the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) on its 70th birthday. 

"ABARES has a rich history and a wealth of expertise in applied economic and scientific research, developing innovative modelling techniques, undertaking comprehensive surveys of Australian farms and providing timely input to agricultural policy making," Minister Joyce said. 

"The bureau was born on 21 August 1945, as the Bureau of Agricultural Economics (BAE), with one of its first functions to investigate the economic prospects of primary industries with particular reference to efficiency factors. 

"ABARES, and its predecessors, have analysed farm performance and produced commodity forecasts that have helped farmers and governments ever since. 

"A key activity of ABARES has been its farm surveys programme, expanding to cover broadacre and dairy industries on an annual basis since 1971 and other industries when requested. The support of Australian farmers has been critical to the success of the farm surveys.  

"Since 1945, more than 100,000 producers have sat down, often at the kitchen table, and given their time and valuable commodity and financial data that ABARES uses to create world-class analysis and policy advice. 

"ABARES' real world focus became its hallmark, providing rigorous and objective analysis of major issues affecting Australia's primary industries and economy, including productivity, profitability and sustainability. 

"The bureau has made a significant contribution to policy debates on structural reform, international trade and markets and natural resource management issues and has challenged the way people and governments have thought about these issues. 

"Most recently, ABARES' research programme has broadened to include the changing global demand for agricultural products, in particular major shifts in the demand for food in Asia. 

"The popular Outlook conferences, where delegates can hear the latest trends and information from bureau economists, began in 1971. 

"Within a decade, the first regional Outlook conference was held. They are now recognised as Australia's leading agricultural economics forums." 

ABARES resulted from a series of mergers, most recently with the Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS) in 2010, bringing with it the capacity to undertake integrated economic, scientific and social science research. 

For more information about ABARES and its work go to agriculture.gov.au/abares.