The CWA of NSW has always had at its heart a desire to promote the strength and growth of regional and rural centres, so we welcome the introduction of a day that puts our country communities in the spotlight and highlights the industry that underpins the prosperity of these areas.
National Agriculture Day will be celebrated for the first time on Tuesday, November 21, and is a chance for all Australians to think about the importance of Australia’s farm sector and the people it employs.
More than 1.6 million Australians work across the industry, from farmers to scientists, and dozens of roles in between, and many of these people live in regional and rural communities. So many of these communities were established generations ago on the back of agriculture, and their fortunes today – particularly our smaller towns and villages - are still inextricably linked to the rises and falls within the sector.
With agriculture hitting new records this year, there’s been no better time to highlight the industry through a day dedicated to raising awareness among all Australians. As the fastest growing of all 19 Australian industries, it’s a chance to show what a vibrant and exciting industry it is, with dozens of different career paths and new opportunities arising all the time as technology continues to wield an enormous influence.
Australia has always been at the forefront of farming innovation, pushing the boundaries and constantly challenging convention. And the challenge we face now is ensuring the commitment and resources are there to fuel this innovation into the future.
Government at all levels and the private sector must work together to encourage the investment required to improve farming practices and associated outputs, and provide the tools and ideas our farmers need to maximise their returns, and in turn keep the nation’s farm production on its current upward trend. The CWA of NSW is currently advocating for more comprehensive weather radar coverage in the western areas of NSW, arguing additional towers would provide a more accurate picture of weather patterns, for the benefit of everyone from farmers to emergency management coordinators.
Returns on investment in agriculture and the infrastructure that underpins it are potentially enormous and must be a priority if Australia is to remain a world leader in agriculture and be part of the solution to a scenario where 9 billion people across the globe will need to be fed by 2050. There is so much to gain, but also much to lose if we take our eye off the ball.
So, this National Ag Day, take some time to think about the impact of agriculture in our everyday lives from the food on the table to the shirt you wear to work and celebrate an industry that has brought so much to so many, and with our support will continue to thrive into the future.
- Annette Turner is the CWA of NSW state president.