The good times have returned for Australian farmers, the federal government says as it pushes for increased foreign investment in agriculture.
Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said that after years of drought, a global financial crisis and devastating floods, the farming industry is back on track.
"There's never been a better time to be a farmer," he told grain producers at a Melbourne conference on Tuesday before taking questions on foreign ownership in the industry.
"Foreign investment across not only grains but across agriculture plays a vital role," he said.
Advertisement "It has continued to provide jobs and opportunities in rural Australia, and a deeper engagement with our near north, including Asian countries like China, I think, is one of the next steps we will take."
Earlier this month, the federal government released an agricultural discussion paper meant to lead to a national food plan that will address long-term sustainability and food security.
The paper came as the latest crop forecasts predict a 15 per cent fall in production to 38.5 million tonnes.
But Senator Ludwig said that number is still higher than the 10-year average, and with US grain production on the decline, Australian farmers can expect higher prices.
"These are positive times for Australia and our economy."
He said foreign workers will be a part of Australia's continued success in agriculture.
"We not only need a skilled workforce from within, we will also need a vibrant skilled workforce from overseas," he said.
Grain Trade Australia says it will push for expanded access to export markets.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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