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National discussion on Australia's farming future gets underway

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) and Telstra this week visited Perth, York and Katanning for a series of roundtables to kick off the national ‘Talking 2030’ dialogue announced by the Prime Minister in March.

The WA meetings were the first of 14 events being held across the country, with the aim of capturing new ideas to fast-track Australia’s agricultural growth.

NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar said talking to people in the farm sector to understand the key issues was a critical step in shaping a strong plan for the coming decade.

“The NFF has a target to grow farm gate output to $100 billion by 2030,” Mr Mahar said.

“Achieving that sort of growth requires innovative thinking, and a clear national roadmap.

“Talking 2030 is all about testing new ideas with the farming community and agreeing on practical steps our industry can take over the coming decade to maximise our potential.”

The Perth, York and Katanning roundtables were attended by farmers and a diverse range of other local people employed in agriculture.  

Participants in York, WA distill opportunities for farm sector growth

Tiffany Davey, a central wheatbelt-based writer and farmer attended the York workshop. Tiffany highlighted sustainable farming and farming in a changing climate, as important issues.

“Farmers here, and those involved in the industry, consider ourselves caretakers of the land.

“In our discussion, we recognised that we want to continue to grow, but we also want to be sustainable and that is a number one priority for us.”

At the Katanning workshop, mixed farmer and contractor Kallum Blake said an important part of farming’s future was securing a sustainable workforce for the future.

“To be able to grow our farms, we need labour, we need good people.

“To attract good people, we need to be able to provide progressive career paths, transferable skills that are recognised Australia-wide and even internationally.

“People are the future.”

Some of the dozens of ideas generated from the first two roundtables

Talking 2030 is the first of several initiatives planned as part of a new strategic partnership between the NFF and Telstra aimed at strengthening Australian agriculture’s leadership, technical capacity and overall prosperity.

Telstra’s Executive Director Regional Affairs, Tim O’Leary, said Telstra was proud to work with the NFF to support the development of innovative technologies that will help address some of the challenges Australian farmers face.

“We know that digital connectivity is a central part of the modern farm business and this collaboration will support the development of strong and prosperous regions, and a thriving agriculture sector,” said Mr O’Leary.

The Discussion Paper authored by KPMG and launched by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in March will form the basis for the conversations at the Talking 2030 roundtables.

In addition to consolidating industry trends and analysis, the Talking 2030 Discussion Paper poses several questions on key themes for feedback and debate, including:

•           ‘Can Australian agriculture go carbon neutral by 2050?’

•           ‘What if every major food region had its own international air freight hub?’

•           ‘Can we gain preferential access to the top 5 Asian markets by 2025?’

•           ‘Can we connect every farm to the Internet of Things by 2030?’

To hear more from Tiffany and Kallum check out their discussion with workshop facilitator Bryce Ives on the NFF's Facebook page

Feedback from the Perth, Katanning and York workshops will help shape the industry’s 2030 Roadmap, which the NFF will release later this year.

Farmers interested in attending roundtables in other states are encouraged to register their interest at talking2030.com/roadshow.

Groups develop strategies for agricultural growth.
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