Media Release

$100 million extra for smarter approaches to farming

5 July 2015

An additional $100 million will be invested in rural Research and Development (R&D) as a result of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper decision to extend the Rural R&D for Profit programme until 2021-22.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said investment in R&D was essential in the continued drive to improve farmgate returns to help attract the next generation of farmers.

"Australian farmers are some of the most productive, resilient and sustainable producers of food and fibre on the planet, and investment in R&D is one of the ways governments can help them keep this deserved reputation," Minister Joyce said.

"This programme was an election commitment of my predecessor, John Cobb, and this programme has been so well received we have extended it through to 2021–22.

"We know that farmers generate a $12 return within 10 years for each dollar the government invests in agricultural R&D—so it's a simple equation for us to invest.

"For example cotton industry innovation and research over the past 15 years has reduced insecticide use by 95 per cent, and improved water use efficiency by 40 per cent. This reduces costs to our producers, helping ensure that in a good year they can expect decent terms of trade.

"We want Australian agriculture to continue to have access to the most advanced farming technologies and practices, as well as the skills and labour to drive innovation and growth.

"The Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper reflects a consensus view, heard through the consultation phase, that investment in smarter approaches to farming underpins the productivity of our food and fibre industries.

"The government already provides about $700 million a year for rural R&D and extension activities."

Minister Joyce said the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper was a policy platform for the future of agriculture.

"This white paper is a document for the future of our agricultural industries, and it sets out real, tangible actions to bring better returns at the farmgate," Minister Joyce said.

"Agriculture remains at the heart of the Australian economy and remains a priority for this government."

The White Paper was informed by comprehensive stakeholder consultation—more than 1000 submissions were received and the government talked face-to-face with more than 1100 people across the country in developing this document. The White Paper is available at agwhitepaper.agriculture.gov.au.