AS AUSTRALIA celebrates AgDay on 21 November, the export opportunities and challenges facing agriculture are at the forefront.

Agriculture minister Bridget McKenzie said while large parts of the country are doing it tough in the face of bushfires and an intensifying drought, agriculture continues to be a bulwark of the economy.

“In three short years AgDay has become a fixture in calendars across the country. It’s a day where we can be proud of the contribution our farmers and their communities make to providing safe, nutritious and delicious food to Australians and to millions of others across the globe,” Ms McKenzie said.

She said AgDay is also about getting much-deserved recognition for our agriculture sector and related industries, such as transport and rural supplies businesses, stock and station agents and accountants.

“Agriculture is also the lifeblood of many rural and regional communities, with agriculture and affiliated industries providing jobs to about 329,000 Australians, while vaulting us into a position as one of the top 10 agricultural exporting countries in the world,” Ms McKenzie said.

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“We ship about two-thirds of our agricultural production to the world every year, with efficiency second to none. We want to keep harnessing the many opportunities before us for growth in food and fibre exports to our region and the world, as well as here at home.”

Ms McKenzie said the best days for farmers and agricultural producers were ahead, with booming populations and dynamic markets to our north and elsewhere.

This year, the government is progressing the National Farmers’ Federation’s vision to build an agriculture industry worth $100bn over the next decade, propelled by Pacific-spanning trade deals with major Asian neighbours.

“We are doing that while dealing with the challenges of drought and offering more help to farmers and agriculture dependent communities, while also strengthening our country’s readiness to meet biosecurity threats with increased border protections,” Ms McKenzie said.

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