The states peak farming organisation has handed a list of key NSW Budget requests that focus on advancing local food and fibre production in NSW.
NSW Farmers President James Jackson says the pre-budget submission outlines a number of opportunities to invest in a bigger, stronger future for the agricultural sector.
“Despite all of the challenges farmers have faced over the past couple of years, we have demonstrated our ability to grow and succeed,” Mr Jackson said.
“There is enormous potential to grow agriculture and repair the economy, but we are now reaching the point where we need investment in projects and opportunities to unlock that potential.
“This is why NSW Farmers has given the state government a number of budget requests, so we can get on with setting our sector up for a brighter future.”
The requests in the NSW Farmers pre-budget submission range from continuing the highly successful Young Farmers program to investing in research and development and putting an end to costly land-use conflicts.
Mr Jackson said sorting out the sometimes-messy land use space was critical as the race was on to develop more housing and renewable energy.
“Everyone seems to have gotten the message that the country is a lovely place to live, but we need to make sure we don’t lose precious agricultural land in the ‘tree change’,” Mr Jackson said.
“Once you put houses or power lines or solar panels on a piece of farming land it ceases to be productive agricultural land, and since they’re not making any more dirt, we can’t afford to waste it.
“We’ve been pretty clear in our representations to the state government about sorting this out, we’ve got a plan and a solution and we’re willing to lead the way.”
From solving workforce shortages to preventing disease outbreaks and encouraging young people to become the next generation of farmers, Mr Jackson said there were many ways for the government to support this important sector.
“Farmers are in the business of feeding and clothing people, whether that’s steaks or soybeans or woolly jumpers, and since there’s an increasing number of people there’s an increasing opportunity for agriculture,” Mr Jackson said.
“There’s not many big industries you can stick money into and watch it grow any more, but agriculture is one of them. We’re keen to work with anyone who has the vision to lead and ‘unleash the beast’ of agriculture.”
If you found this feature helpful, you might like to read our piece about the budget and the year ahead.