AG leaders need a new target for the state’s booming farm sector after it smashed through a 30 per cent growth mark two years ahead of schedule.
Driven by strong performances in wheat, cattle, and pulses, DPI says NSW agriculture hit the $15.4 billion mark this year, up from $11.7 billion in 2013-14, and already 2.4pc ahead of the goal set for 2020.
Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said continued growth was needed to absorb the ever-looming challenge of animal welfare and social licence conditions.
Mr Blair told the crowd at the NSW Farmer of the Year prize that government was working with industry on a revised target.
“But we’re also challenging ourselves to continue to grow the sector,” he said.
“Because when the sector is strong we can meet the next challenge that’s around the corner.”
The Department of Primary Industries’ Strategic Plan from 2015 set out a 30pc growth target for the sector by 2020.
Achieving that would have seen $3.5 billion added to the gross value of production at a rate of $700 million per year.
Due to favourable conditions for cropping and livestock, about $3.8 billion has been added in about three years.
As reported previously, the 2016-17 DPI figures are by far the best of the bunch.
Beyond the farm gate, Mr Blair said the ag sector had enjoyed a few other wins.
Both the biosecurity and biodiversity reforms were switched on, while there was the first successful harvest of alkaloid poppies.
Industrial hemp food has been given the green light, and the first kingfish harvest has taken place for the triall off Port Stephens – a partnership with Huon Acquaculture
Mr Blair identified medicinal cannabis as one to watch for 2018, with crops currently undergoing agronomic trials at a facility in NSW.
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