The agricultural industry is one of Australia’s largest and most important industries, particularly when it comes to our economy and exports.
But agriculture is responsible for more than just a boost to our economy, it also has a significant social impact and employs some of the most environmentally conscious approaches to the production chain.
According to some of the most recently compiled statistics by the National Farmers’ Federation, the social influence regarding to farmers and the agricultural industry at large are significant. Throughout Australia, there are approximately 134,000 farm businesses, 99% of which are family-owned and operated.
For an individual farmer, each produces enough food to feed approximately 600 people, with the ratio split between 150 Australians and 450 overseas (we’ll get to export numbers soon). Between the years of 2010 to 2011, there were 307,000 people employed in Australian agriculture – a number which has likely increased in the years since. By current standards, that means around 1.35% of Australia’s population works in core agriculture. The extended agriculture industry provides around 1.6 million jobs to the Australian economy.
The economic impact
When it comes to the economic impact, the immediate farm-gate part of the agricultural industry contributes around 3% to Australia’s total gross domestic product (GDP). During 2010 to 2011, the gross value of farm-gate agriculture $48.7 billion. However, when looking at the agricultural industry as a whole (looking at supply chains and related fields), the GDP sits closer to 12% ($155 billion).
As a general estimate, 60% of agricultural produce is exported, with exports earning $32.5 billion between 2010 and 2011. Exportation still accounts for many of the profits gained by the agricultural industry, which in turn strengthens our economy and the value of our currency.
Given how large the agricultural industry is, particularly at its core level of farmers and their land, it has proven beneficial to the overall environmental welfare of the country. Farmers manage and care for a total of 61% of Australia’s landmass, employing conscious approaches to natural resource management. In total, 94% of Australian farmers work by environmental ethical codes that help them keep any negative environmental impact to a minimum.