Media Release

Families the heart of Australia’s great farming tradition

30 September 2014

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, today visited a family farm in Royalla in Southern New South Wales and paid tribute to the contribution family farms make to the Australian economy, the history of our nation, and as a central tenet of its future.

Minister Joyce said he was proud to champion family-run Australian farms during 2014, the International Year of Family Farming, and reaffirmed his personal commitment to see family-run and owned farm enterprises become stronger and more prosperous.

The Morrison family have been producing beef and sheep for five generations. For five generations they have been members of the local community, for five generations they have made sure the farm they hand on is better than the one they inherited. For over five generations they have put vastly more into our economy than they have taken from it.

Minister Joyce said that family farms were as diverse as Australian families and made a substantial contribution to and were the cornerstone of Australian agriculture, which achieved $53 billion worth of production and $41 billion of exports in 2013-14.

Australia’s farming families are the source of the food you eat, they are a vital generator of so much economic activity right across the supply chain, and ultimately they help to balance the books for our economy.

Family farms, however work on more than just a day to day profit motive – when times are tough, they have the resilience to reduce costs, to not take a pay cheque and to weather the storm until things turn around.

The government's role is to assist producers when there is a storm. To not make things worse through bad decisions or unnecessary regulation and to be proactive in finding new markets so that a better return can go back through the farm gate.

While many might not believe that we need to focus on farming families by having their own dedicated year, given that the greatest proportion of Australians now live in cities with no connection to the land it's essential that we remind them of the toil, sweat and frustrations that sit hand in hand with the nobility of producing a product vital for all our survival - food and fibre.

The average age of farmers is getting older, more people are leaving the land to secure jobs elsewhere and if we don't look after our farming families then ultimately the time comes where they may no longer be there to look after us.

Every time you have a lamb chop think of a farmer, every time you have beans on the edge of the plate think of a farmer, every time you boil an egg or pour milk on your weet-bix, think of a farmer. Our farming families are out there working for you to give you a standard of living evident before you on the dinner table and in the fibre that you wear to work.