Around the regions we're seeing the vast majority of our larger agriculture businesses look at expansion and capital investment programs to create new employment and opportunities.
This is creating a larger sense of optimism across the sector, and with an expected record gross ag production value forecast of $73 billion in 2020-21, the optimism is warranted. We haven't seen this kind of confidence in agriculture since the 1990s.
With the millennium drought, floods, depressed prices and dry seasons throughout the late 2000s, the sector has certainly proved its resilience through hardship.
The rapid increase in confidence off the back of significant rainfall in the south and continued investments is nothing short of overwhelming.
The boom in commodity prices is right across the board, from cotton sitting at around $600/bale, to record cattle, sheep and wool prices.
A recent rural confidence survey by Rabobank found that almost 90 per cent of Australian farmers expect the excellent business conditions in the agriculture sector to either continue or improve over the year ahead.
This confidence is also supported by significant investment in infrastructure in the region that will enable this growth to continue.
Once complete, Inland Rail will allow the freight cost of grain from Victoria and New South Wales to be significantly cheaper for our feedlot sector, which will also help our local grain producers.
Another example of infrastructure investment is the Toowoomba Wellcamp Trade Distribution Centre, which is currently allowing value-add businesses ease of access into export markets.
NH Foods at Oakey have completed a new cold room facility, allowing them to enter into value-added production, and John Dee has also invested in new cold room facilities.
Mort and Co are using their waste products to be able to fertilise the plant and have recently invested in a feed mill business.
These trends are creating challenges such as attracting the right workforce and growing export markets to take products overseas.
With this newfound confidence, the industry will be able to work through these issues and create the innovative solutions to enable this growth to continue.
- Bruce McConnel, TSBE Food Leaders Australia general manager
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