According to the CSIRO, Australia has one of the world's most sustainable agricultural industries.
Agriculture is seen - rightly - as a cornerstone of Australia's economy and farm families have a key role in anchoring rural and regional communities.
Australia's 85,000 farmers are responsible for the sustainable management of sixty percent of this country's landmass and seventy percent of its diverted fresh water.
The value of Australia's agricultural production last year was around $80 billion - and the contribution agriculture made to export earnings was around $56 billion.
Agriculture sustains more than 320,000 jobs.
In addition, farmers provide 26 million Australians with food security - meeting 90 percent of our food needs - and our exports feed another 37 million people around the world.
The Employment White Paper and a report on the Productivity Commission's review of the Future Drought Fund recently released by the Treasurer highlight the much broader role agriculture has and continues to play in driving economic reform.
The white paper states that the transformation of the agriculture sector, using technology to augment work and help workers perform their role better, is an example for how other industries can adapt to persistent worker shortages.
The paper states technological progress, underpinned by public and private investment in research and development, has been a key driver of long-term productivity growth in agriculture.
The rural research and development policy was designed to foster innovation in agriculture by encouraging collaboration between different stakeholders including farmers, researchers, policymakers, and private companies.
The Productivity Commission inquiry seeks to inform the development of the next four-year Drought Resilience Funding Plan.
The Commission states that drought and climate change are expected to put Australia's agricultural industries and regional communities under mounting economic, environmental, and social pressure.
The Commission report states the Future Drought Fund (FDF) could be a catalyst for locally led transformational change to meet these pressures.
The report says the FDF should focus on activities that generate transformational change, build natural capital, and support a place-based approach to building social resilience.
It notes while drought should remain the focus, the FDF should explicitly recognise climate change resilience to confirm that, where appropriate, programs address a broader range of climatic risks.
Australia's farmers have an impressive record when it comes economic reform, a productive research and development regime and a funding stream through the FDF to respond to the challenges that climate change presents.
Other sectors of the economy might take note.
- Troy Setter is the CEO of the Consolidated Pastoral Company
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