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ABARE Outlook: Strong Performance Forecast

6 March 2012, at 8:54am

AUSTRALIA - Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, today opened the nation’s premier agricultural event, Outlook 2012, forecasting a bright future for the sector.

Minister Ludwig said a strong financial outlook and increased summer crop production meant conditions in the first half of 2012 would be the best in years.

“The forecast from the latest ABARES farm survey is for strong farm financial performance in all major agricultural industries across Australia this financial year,” Minister Ludwig said.

“For the first time in more than 30 years, broadacre farms in all states and industries are projected to have strong profits and positive rates of return.

“Across the country, ABARES has predicted total summer crop production to rise by 18 per cent in 2011-12 to 5.4 million tonnes.

“While there are some agricultural industries that will not fare as well as others, overall it is clear that 2012 will be another strong year for agriculture.”

Earnings from farm exports will remain steady in the short-term, staying comfortably above A$35 billion this financial year and the next. The outlook over the medium and long term is positive.

In welcoming the strong outlook for the year, Minister Ludwig reinforced the Government’s commitment to securing a sustainable long term future for the sector.

“The steps we take now can help secure a strong long term future for the jobs, families and communities across rural and regional Australia that are the life blood of agriculture in this country,” he said.

“Central to this are key Government reforms which strengthen our biosecurity system and streamline our export processes, work to manage the risks posed to agriculture by climate change, and deliver the policies we need to secure our food supply into the future.

“We are continuing to drive innovation by investing in rural research and development and are also working to position our agriculture sector to make the most of increased opportunities presented by the growth of Asia.

“The Gillard Government is looking ahead to make agricultural industries in Australia more productive and position our farmers for the future.”

ABARES Executive Director, Paul Morris, said the conference coincides with the release of the latest Agricultural Commodities report, which contains the bureau’s forecasts for the agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors over the next five years.

“Agricultural Commodities shows that overall, the prospects for the agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors are positive,” Mr Morris said. “Assuming that favourable seasonal conditions continue, earnings from farm exports are forecast to be around A$35.1 billion in 2012-13, after an estimated rise of 9.4 per cent to A$35.5 billion in 2011-12.

“In 2012-13, agricultural commodities for which export earnings are forecast to rise include canola (2 per cent), raw cotton (9 per cent), wine (5 per cent), beef and veal (1 per cent) and sheep meat (22 per cent).

“Over the medium term, to 2016-17, the value of farm exports is projected to be maintained around the current level in real terms. By 2016-17, the value of farm exports is projected to be around $35.1 billion, in 2011-12 dollars.

“Export earnings for fisheries products are forecast to remain largely unchanged in 2012-13 at around A$1.3 billion. For forestry products, export earnings in 2012-13 are forecast to increase slightly to A$2.4 billion.”

Outlook 2012 is being held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra on 6-7 March.