​​Media Release

Agriculture a powerhouse for our prosperity​

7 March 2017

  • The gross value of Australian farm production is forecast to increase by 8.3 per cent to a record $63.8 billion in 2016–17.
  • Farm cash income for Australian broadacre farms is projected to average $216,000 per farm in 2016–17, the highest recorded in the past 20 years.
  • These results, revealed at the 2017 ABARES Outlook Conference today, reflect the hard work of Australia's farmers and the government's willingness to back the sector.

Growth in Australia's agriculture sector continues to smash records, with the gross value of Australian farm production is forecast to reach $63.8 billion in 2016–17, and farm cash income for Australian broadacre farms is projected to average $216,000 per farm in 2016–17.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the results, revealed at the 2017 ABARES Outlook Conference today, reflected the hard work of Australia's farmers and the Coalition  Government's willingness to back the sector.

"This government has a vision for a productive and profitable agriculture sector, and from day one we have worked hard to back our farmers with practical policies and genuine investment—including the $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper—and new trade opportunities, such as those delivered by free trade deals with China, Korea and Japan," Minister Joyce said.

"The gross value of agricultural production is forecast to hit a record $63.8 billion in 2016–17; real net farm cash income is estimated to have been $25.7 billion in 2015–16, well above the 20-year average to 2014–15 of $15.6 billion; and broadacre farm cash incomes at the national level are estimated to be the highest for twenty years, averaging $216,000 a farm.

"Under this government, the total value of Australian farm exports has now increased for six consecutive years in nominal terms, up $10 billion dollars from $38.2 billion in 2012–13 to a forecast $48.7 billion in 2017-18.

"In the latest National Accounts figures, agriculture contributed 0.5 percentage points to the Australian economy's 2.4 per cent year on year growth to the December quarter 2016. This was the largest contribution among all 19 sectors of the economy.

"And I know that with the right policy settings and programs in place, the sector still has massive potential to grow and deliver even bigger results as an economic powerhouse for our nation.

"That is why as Agriculture Minister I will continue to work tirelessly to position the sector to capture opportunities and reach its full potential."

Minister Joyce spoke at the 2017 ABARES Outlook Conference, where the March 2017 edition of Agricultural Commodities was released. Australia's leading forum for public and private decision-makers in agriculture, Outlook marks its 47th annual conference this year with expert analysis of innovation in agriculture.

Fast facts

  • Export earnings from farm commodities were forecast to reach a record $48.7 billion in 2017–18, topping the $47.7 billion forecast in 2016–17.
  • Beef prices have nearly doubled in real terms over the past three years to levels not seen since the late 1970s. Lamb prices have also been growing strongly, increasing by around 40 per cent over the past four years.
  • Farm cash income for Australian broadacre (cropping, beef and sheep) farms is projected to average $216,000 per farm in 2016–17, the highest recorded in the past 20 years.
  • Average farm cash income is forecast to rise 25 per cent for cropping farms to $398,000 per farm in 2016–17; 27 per cent for sheep farms to average $133,000 per farm; and 2 per cent for beef farms to average $163,000 per farm.
  • The gross value of crop production is forecast to increase by 20.2 per cent this financial year to $33.9 billion, following record production of wheat and barley.
  • The gross value of livestock production is forecast to increase by 4.4 per cent to $31.2 billion in 2017–18.​